Cancer is the abnormal growth and rapid replication of cells in your body. The causes and effective treatment of cancer have yet to be discovered. However, certain everyday foods that you probably consume daily have been linked to causing cancer. Here are 15 cancer-causing food that you are probably eating every day.
Before we get on to the article, there is a word that is repeated frequently throughout the writing- carcinogenic. Carcinogenic items or carcinogens can cause cancer
1) Ultra-processed foods
Ultra-processed foods” is a broad category of food and includes various items such as microwaveable meals, boxed mac n cheese, instant noodles, instant mashed potatoes (basically anything instant). They contain a plethora of different chemicals that help extend their shelf lives and give them that ‘instant’ effect. A lot of these chemicals are considered carcinogenic. If you have a craving for something, try making them home yourself.
2) Artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are a working alternative for people who love sweets but don’t want to account for the calories that come with eating sugar. However, artificial sweeteners are massively carcinogenic. Some brands and formulas (such as Saccharin and Cyclamate) have been so closely tied to cancer that the FDA has banned them.
3) Carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks are comprised of high levels of white sugar and other chemicals such as phosphates. They have no significant nutritional value and are a significant promoter of obesity.
Sodas also contain artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring, and flavorings. All of these contain carcinogenic chemical compounds. Moreover, consuming sugary drinks increases your glucose and insulin levels, promoting tumor growth, and cell multiplication.
3) ‘Diet’ anything
While conventional sodas and carbonated drinks and soda pops are bad for your health and can cause cancer (as we discussed above), diet versions of these drinks are decidedly worse. Avoid eating ‘diet’ anything. Be it beverages or food.
A recent study review by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) revealed that twenty different research studies show links between aspartame (one of the most common artificial sweeteners) cause a range of diseases, including congenital disabilities and cancer.
As discussed above, Splenda or sucralose, saccharin, and other artificial sweeteners have also been linked to cancer.
4) Canned food
Most food cans have a lining of bisphenol-a, or more commonly known as BPA. According to some research, BPA is capable of altering brain chemistry in rats. This has both the FDA and Health Canada extremely concerned.
Canned tomatoes or any type of canned food that is acidic is incredibly dangerous and can eventually lead to cancer. This is also why experts advise against cooking or baking tomatoes in aluminum foil. The combination of the acidic tomatoes, the heat, and the aluminum gives the tomatoes a weird taste and results in the formation of carcinogenic compounds.
5) Water or food stored in plastic containers for extended periods
Plastic is long polymers of different organic compounds. Some of these compounds can be carcinogenic. Storing food and water in plastic containers and bottles for long periods causes these chemicals to leech into your food.
Do not, under any circumstances, microwave your food in a plastic container. There is no such thing as “microwave-safe,” and just a little heat is needed to start the leaching process of harmful, toxic, carcinogenic chemicals into your food.
6) Processed meat
Processed meat includes many things starting from sausages to deli meat, frozen chicken nuggets, and beef jerky. All these meats have been processed to alter their taste, texture, and increase their shelf lives. The alteration processes include curing, smoking, dehydrating, and adding various salts and preservatives. These preservatives contain sodium nitrates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other chemicals that are commonly known carcinogens.
A study conducted across ten countries, where experts reviewed over 800 case studies, showed that consuming 50 grams of processed meat daily increases colon cancer risk by 18%.
Alcohol is generally bad for your health- this is common knowledge. While alcohol is significantly damaging for your liver, long-term alcohol abuse can also cause breast, rectum, colon, larynx, mouth, and pharynx cancer.
Our body converts the alcohol we consume into a toxic compound called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehydes are known for being carcinogenic- they can damage our DNA and stop cell repair. Studies and research suggest that lesser the alcohol you consume, the lesser that chances of cancer.
8) Refined Sugars
Refined sugars are generally bad for your health. They may provide you with a sudden kick of energy when you need it, but it does a lot of damage to your body. Refined sugars are the leading cause of diabetes too. So if you have a family history of diabetes, cutting down sugar from an early age is a good idea. And if you already have diabetes, then sugars are just a big NO.
Besides this, refined sugar is known to spike insulin levels, which helps cancer cells multiply. ‘Refined sugar’ includes any Fructose-rich sugars such as corn syrup. Corn syrup is especially problematic and has been closely tied to cancer.
9) Farmed meat
Farmed animals- this includes cows, chickens, pigs, etc.- are usually fed antibiotics and various other medications, such as hormones to prevent diseases and maintain or increase weight.
These hormones and medications are not suitable for human consumption. Some research also suggests that long-term consumption of such meat can result in tumors. This is because most estrogen-based hormones are carcinogenic for humans.
Instead, try buying grass-fed or pasture-raised meat. Doing so will not only reduce your consumption of potentially cancer-causing hormones but reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides and toxins that build up in animal fat.
10) Microwaved popcorn
Popcorn is a quick and healthy snack. The store-bought aspect and the process of popping it in the microwave are what makes it unhealthy. The bags that microwavable popcorn comes in have a lining of PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid. Several studies have closed linked PFOA with kidney, bladder, testicular and pancreatic cancer.
11) Hydrogenated oils
What exactly are hydrogenated oils? A container of hydrogen gas is placed under a vat of oil, and under highly controlled conditions, hydrogen gas is slowly bubbled into the oil, thus, producing hydrogenated oil. Oils are made up of fats. There are two types of fats- saturated and unsaturated. The addition of the hydrogen oil converts the unsaturated fats into saturated ones. This conversion lengthens the shelf-life of the oils.
However, the side effects of this transformation on your body aren’t positive. Some of the unsaturated fats are also converted into trans-fats. Trans-fats, according to the FDA, are not suitable for consumption. Trans-fats increase cholesterol levels, result in the formation of atherosclerosis, other cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
12) Potato chips
Potato chips are a go-to snack that is delicious, easily accessible, and cheap. Safe to say, almost everyone eats and loves potato chips. However, most potato chips in packets are produced in industries and contain artificial colors and flavors and several preservatives.
Potato chips are made at high temperatures, which results in Acrylamide forming. Acrylamide is a well-known carcinogen. Acrylamide can damage your DNA and result in numerous types of cancer.
If you crave potato chips, buy yourself some organic potatoes from your local grocery store and fry yourself some chips. This way, you can also avoid the harmful salts that are used in pre-packaged potato chips.
13) GMO fruits and vegetables
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. GMOs were first introduced in 1996. Tests and research have shown that GM vegetables fed to rats have resulted in shocking tumors and abnormal cell growth. When grocery shopping, ensure you are buying non-GMO, locally farmed produce.
14) Refined white flour
The process of ‘refining’ white flour includes the flour being treated with various chemicals. These chemical treatments form alloxan in the flour. Alloxan is a toxic diabetes-causing compound. Cancer cells are known to feed off high glucose and insulin levels. So by avoiding refined white flours and other highly processed starchy products, you can starve cancerous cells and prevent the growth of any deadly tumors. Refining white flour also results in the loss of many essential nutrients, and ‘bleaching’ white flour causes digestive problems.
15) “Unclean” Vegetables
All vegetables are sprayed with various pesticides and certain preservatives to ensure freshness and prevent insects from eating them. These chemicals are not suitable for human consumption and are carcinogenic in nature. Therefore, after you have bought vegetables from the grocery store, make sure to wash them under normal tap water at least twice before eating. Especially if you plan on eating the vegetables raw.