We’ve come to know, through medical research and ancestral wisdom, that there are foods that contain certain nutrients that prevent and/or kill cancerous cells in the body.
But are there foods that cause cancer to develop and grow? You bet.
Below are cancer causing foods to avoid to stave off cancer; they may not directly cause cancer but they sure do contribute towards the condition.
1. Refined Sugar
Refined (white) sugar has no nutritional value, its only value lies in its flavor. Robbed of its nutritious components during processing, all that’s left at the end of the process is really just cancer in a bag (2).
That’s not to say you should cut all carbohydrates from your diet—every cell in your body uses glucose (the most fundamental form of sugar) for energy. Your metabolism works every minute of every day to break down the food you eat into glucose, lipids, and protein to feed your body.
The critical difference between carbohydrates and simple sugar is the complexity and availability of the glucose. Refined sugars are already broken down and are readily absorbed into the bloodstream, causing an increase in insulin production and a spike in blood sugar. Chronic overuse of refined sugar can overtax the pancreas, leading to diabetes.
Even more toxic than refined sugar are high-fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners.
2. Genetically Modified Organisms
GMO foods have been the subject of controversy since 1982 when the Food and Drug Administration approved the first GMO for human consumption: humulin, a synthetic insulin (3). There is a huge body of research on the subject of the safety of GMO in food; but depending on who funded the study, conclusions differ.
With the extreme power held by GMO companies, many researchers are trying to find out the truth about the long-term health and environmental consequences of GMO foods. Independent studies found direct links between GMO and the development of numerous conditions, including autism, liver and kidney disorders, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer.
3. Microwave Popcorn
Microwave foods may be easy, quick, and convenient, but they’re also toxic. The linings of the bags in which microwave popcorn is sold contain harmful chemicals.
Manufacturers soak popcorn kernels so it’ll pop more effectively in a solution that includes a chemical also found in lighter fluid. The butter flavoring contains diacetyl, an agent that has been found to cause a condition known as “popcorn lung”(4).
Organic popcorn is a healthful treat: cook it on the stove in coconut oil and sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a cheesy, nutritious, and satisfying snack.
4. Processed Potato Chips
The problem with these admittedly yummy morsels is three-fold:
- When cooked in oil at high temperatures, the compound acrylamide will develop in most carbohydrates. This is a natural process and in normal amounts—that is, what occurs if you bake a whole potato in the oven, for example—acrylamide is effortlessly metabolized by the body. In mass production, however, the amount of this chemical increases exponentially, containing as much as 910 times the legal limit in one bag of chips. Regular ingestion of acrylamide and similar cooking by-products has been associated with cancer risk.
- Many brands of potato chips contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives—all of which have implications for health. They are also loaded with fat and empty calories.
- Why can’t you eat just one? “The Dorito Effect.” The flavorings used in chips and other snacks are intentionally misleading and addictive.
5. Processed Meat
Meat products like hot dogs, sausages, and deli meats are loaded with chemicals to prolong shelf life. Since they contain cancer-causing nitrates, childhood consumption of these foods is linked to Leukemia, brain cancer, and pancreatic cancer (5,6).
And it’s not just lunchmeat that can impact your health : A study published in BMC medicine found that a high consumption of red meat was related to higher all-cause mortality, including death caused by cancer (7).
The pop industry represents a $43 billion-a-year industry in the U.S. alone, led by CocaCola and PepsiCo (8). Sweetened with both refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup, soda is preserved with sodium benzoate, a known carcinogen.
7. Canned Tomatoes
It’s not the tomatoes that lead to cancer, it’s the can itself. The acid in tomatoes eats the lining of the metal can.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a synthetic estrogen present in the lining of metal cans that’s been linked to many diseases, as well as decreased sperm production and DNA damage.
To keep your family safe, ditch the can and buy fresh tomatoes or fruits sold in glass bottles or jars.