When it comes to cancer in the news, warnings are change almost daily as to which food scientists have recently discovered contributes to cancer. While many of these are unfounded claims, oncologists keep a list of certain foods are clearly linked to aiding cancer development—such as smoking tobacco and carcinogenic meats (i.e., hot dogs and bacon).
Here are the top cancer-causing foods according to medical professionals:
6. Trans fats
Burgers, pizza, and fries…these top culprits have 3 things in common, which is they are rich in trans fats. However, food manufacturers sneak trans fats into many unassuming foods—such as packaged cookies, granola bars, chips, crackers, cereals, baked goods, condiments, margarine and vegetable shortening used to prepare fast fried foods. To avoid trans fats, avoid foods with long shelf lives featuring partially hydrogenated oils (or PHOs).
5. Artificial sweeteners
A ton of ongoing research is being conducted into artificial sweeteners and increased cancer risk, but what oncologists agree upon is that diets rich in artificial sweeteners (i.e., aspartame) are related to increased rates of lymphoma and leukemia. So instead of products sweetened with aspartame, look for plant-based sweeties, like Stevia.
4. Processed meats
The World Health Organization (WHO) considered processed meats (i.e., hot dogs, sausages, ham, and bacon) as dangerous as smoking and asbestos when it comes to cancer-contributors due to high levels of sodium nitrates (which form N-nitroso compounds). In fact, WHO studies show that individuals who consume just 50 grams of processed meat daily increase their chances of developing colon cancer by roughly 18%. Studies show that diets rich in sodium nitrates and natural amines, lead to increased cancer-causing N-nitroso compounds in the body, which have been linked to increased rates of colorectal cancer.
3. Alcohol consumption
If you like to imbibe, keep in mind that numerous studies consider consuming excessive alcohol a huge risk for developing cancer. For instance, research from the National Cancer Institute indicates that heavy alcohol drinkers (more than 3 drinks a day or more than 7 drinks per week for women, and more than 4 drinks a day or 14 drinks a week for men) significantly increase their risk of developing liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer.
2. Charred meats
It’s BBQ season, and for many that means setting the Q on high and char-grilling some steaks. However, cancer researchers warn that grilling meat (especially red meat) at high temperatures can produce carcinogenic heterocyclic aromatic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are linked to increased cancer development. So while you can enjoy red meat grilled in moderation, stick to lightly grilled plant-based protein and fish this summer.
1. Microwave popcorn
There’s a reason why cancer researchers at the Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research, at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel call diacetyl the “butter bomb”! While this tasty artificial butter produces that tempting buttery aroma that screams cinema, diacetyl is a toxic chemical long linked to the development of lung cancer. Keep in mind, the inner bags of most microwave popcorn is also often lined with carcinogenic chemicals (i.e., perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA), which also contribute to cancer. So stick to the stove top popcorn on movie night.