Cancer has touched us all in one way or another. Whether it is a friend or family member fighting the battle, or you yourself who have had to fight the potentially deadly disease, everyone has been impacted by this horrible disease.
Even the treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy, can wreak havoc on the body, causing you to become ill, lose your hair and more. Because of all the devastating effects of cancer and even the treatments for cancer, it makes sense that we should do all we can to avoid getting cancer in the first place.
Our foods are one of the biggest sources of cancer causing agents today, but not all foods are bad and not all are good. So how do you know which ones are bad?
Cancer Causing Foods
There are many different foods out there that are known to contain materials that aren’t only bad for us, but can also increase our risks of developing a wide variety of cancers. Let’s take a look at 10 of the top potentially cancer-causing foods that we all should be avoiding in our diets.
Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are a rapidly growing industry. Today, much of our food supply now stems from these GMO crops. There is debate around whether GMO crops can contribute to the risk of humans developing cancer. For example, a piece by L.Z.G. Touyz published in Current Oncology stated that while a previous study had linked GM foods to causing cancer, the publication had been found to not be subject to “satisfactory objective refereeing, and certain tainted financial interests were also operative”.
2. Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn may seem like a nice, light snack, but you better be careful. For a time, many people believed that inhaling the fumes from microwave popcorn could give you lung cancer. While that has been proven not to be true, there is a lung disease known as diacetyl that is associated with inhaling the fumes from a freshly popped bag of popcorn. In addition, there is a chemical in the nonstick coating on the inside of the bag that breaks down into a compound called perfluorooctanoic acid. A study in 1993 by Dr. Frank Gilliland found that workers exposed to this chemical had an increased rate of cancer mortality.
3. Canned Foods
If you thought a can was safe, think again. Most cans are lined with a product known as bisphenol-A (BPA). According to breastcancerfund.org, even small exposure to this product can increase the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other disorders.
4. Grilled Red Meat
Almost everyone loves a nice, juicy steak prepared on the grill, as nothing else can truly unlock all the wondrous flavors of the meat. However, studies have found that preparing meats this way releases heterocyclic aromatic amines, a known carcinogen. Think you can just grill this problem away? Sorry. According to the National Cancer Institute, cooking meat at very high temperatures such as on a grill can create these carcinogens and increase the risk for cancer. However, there are still no official guidelines on the consumption of meat prepared in this manner.
5. Refined Sugar
While you may have a sweet tooth, you may want to consider putting down that cookie made with refined sugar. We eat more refined sugar today than we ever have. Eating refined sugar has also resulted in increased rates of obesity, which can also lead to cancers such as breast, prostate, uterine, pancreatic and colorectal, according to cancercenter.com.
Who doesn’t love a cold glass of their favorite bubby soda on a hot day? However, drinking that soda could be putting you at risk. According to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, drinking one or more sodas per day could expose you to 4-methylimidazole, a possible carcinogen.
7. Processed Meats
So what are processed meats? There are quite a few. Meats such as lunch meat, hot dogs and even bacon are considered processed meats. These meats are very high in salt and contain a number of preservatives and other chemicals. If you buy smoked meat, that is even worse as the meat often becomes contaminated by carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, much like what happens when you smoke cigarettes.
8. Artificial Sweetener
Maybe you think you can avoid feeding those cancer cells by avoiding refined sugar and opting instead for artificial sweetener. According to the National Cancer Institute, the use of artificial sweeteners has been demonstrated to cause cancer in lab rats, but further study has yet to definitively link cancer in humans as a result of using artificial sweetener. Still, it may be wise to use these sweeteners in moderation.
9. Hydrogenated Oils
Hydrogenated oils are essentially vegetable oils that have been extracted from their sources using a chemical process. These oils contain a high amount of Omega 6 fatty acids. These trans fatty acids are known to cause an increased risk in heart disease and some cancers including skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, and rectal cancer to name just a few.
Who doesn’t love a good potato chip? Still, these chips are often fried and very high in fat, and they also contain all types of artificial flavors and preservatives. According to the American Cancer Society, when they are fried in high heat, a product called acrylamide is created. This is a known carcinogen that can also be found in cigarettes!
While many of these foods are definitely quite tasty, consuming too much of them on a regular basis could definitely increase your risk of developing cancer. Seek out alternatives that not only taste great, but are grown and prepared safely so they don’t contain the cancer causing agents that you can find in many of these foods.