The foods that cause cancer these days aren’t anything weird from another planet. They are, literally, our “daily bread”. The statement “everything causes cancer” today may seem like it’s become a popular exaggeration, and some people use it as rhetoric to justify their own shortcomings in diet and lifestyle, especially when related to cancer risk. But the truth of the matter is that many common foods have been scientifically shown to increase the risk of cancer, and some of them significantly.
10 main foods that cause cancer
Here are 10 of the main common foods that cause cancer and which you could be eating daily as part of your basic diet:
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
We don’t need to tell you that transgenic foods don’t have a legitimate place in any cancer-free diet, especially now that it has been shown that GMOS as well as the chemical products used to grow them cause rapid tumor growth. But GMOs are everywhere, even in the majority of food byproducts made from conventional corn, soy and canola. However, you can avoid them by choosing certified organic foods, with non-GMO certification and locally grown that are produced naturally without biotechnology.
Processed meat products, including cured meats, bacon and sausages, contain chemical preservatives that make them look fresh and appetizing, but which can also cause cancer. Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate have been related with significantly increased risk of colon cancer and other types of cancer, so make sure you choose uncured meat products without nitrates, and preferably from grass-fed sources.
Microwave popcorn bags are also part of the foods that cause cancer. They are lined with chemical products that are linked to causing not just infertility, but also liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAO) in the lining of microwave popcorn bags as a “likely” carcinogen, and several independent studies have linked the chemical to causing tumors. Similarly, the chemical product diacetil used in the actual popcorn is linked to causing lung damage and cancer.
Just like processed meats, it has been shown that sodas cause cancer. Loaded with sugar, chemical food products and colorants, sodas acidify the body and literally feed cancer cells. Common chemical products in sodas like caramel color and its derivative 4-methylimidazol (4-MI) have also been linked specifically to causing cancer.
Diet foods and soda
Even worse than conventional sodas sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, however, is diet soda and several other diet drinks and foods. A recent scientific review done by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of more than 20 independent research studies found that aspartame, one of the most common artificial sweeteners, causes a series of illnesses including birth defects and cancer. Sucralose (Splenda), saccharine and other artificial sweeteners have also been related to cancer.
Refined white flours
Refined flour is a common ingredient in processed foods and one of the main foods that cause cancer but its excessive carbohydrate content is also cause for concern. A study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology found that regular consumption of refined carbohydrates was related with a 220% increase in breast cancer in women. Foods high in glucose in general have been shown to quickly increase blood sugar levels in the body, which directly feeds the growth of and propagation of cancer cells.
The same thing happens with refined sugars, which tend to elevate insulin levels rapidly and feed the growth of cancer cells. Sweeteners rich in fructose such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are particularly dangerous, since it has been shown that cancer cells metabolize it quickly and easily in order to proliferate.
And as cookies, pastries, cakes, sodas, juices, sauces, cereals and many other popular commercial foods, most of which are processed, are all loaded with HFCS and other refined sugars, this helps explain why the rates of cancer are increasing these days.
Conventional apples, grapes and other fruits
Many people think they are eating healthy when they buy apples, grapes, strawberries and other fruit from the supermarket. But unless those fruits are organic or verified to be pesticide-free, they could be a significant cancer risk.
The Environmental Work Group (EWG) found that up to 98% of all conventional products, and in particular the type found on your list of fruits, are contaminated with pesticides that cause cancer.
Farm raised salmon
Farm raised salmon is another high risk cancer food, according to Dr. David Carpenter, director of the University of Albany Institute for Health and the Environment. According to his evaluation, farm raised salmons doesn’t just lack vitamin D, but it is often contaminated with carcinogenic chemical products, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), flame retardants, pesticides and antibiotics.
These are commonly used to preserve processed foods and make them nonperishable. But hydrogenated oils alter the structure and flexibility of the cell membranes in the whole body, which can lead to a series of debilitating illnesses like cancer. Some manufacturers are substituting their use of hydrogenated oils with palm oil and other safer alternatives, but trans fats are still widely used in processed foods. Hydrogenated oils or trans fats are one of the main foods that cause cancer.