bowl of microwaved popcorn

Can The Foods I Eat Cause Cancer?

There are food ingredients touted as carcinogenic and it can be confusing to fully understand which foods can actually cause cancer.

There are certain foods and drinks that are scientifically linked to cancer. Some of the foods listed below, such as processed meat and alcohol, are on the list published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization which classifies various carcinogenic substances and cancer foods to avoid.

1. Processed Meats

Processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage, bacon, lunch meat, salami, beef jerky, and pepperoni are classified as foods that are cancer-causing because of the way they’re preserved. These meat products are processed by curing in chemical preservatives that keep them looking fresh and attractive during a longer shelf-life. Sodium nitrate is one of the chemicals commonly used to preserve meat. It has been linked with an increase in the risk of colon cancer.

Read the ingredients and opt for meat that isn’t made with sodium nitrate. Research published by the World Health Organization shows that consuming 50g of processed meat (which is about four strips of bacon or a single hot dog) daily raises the possibility of developing colorectal cancer by about 18-percent.

2. Microwave Popcorn

Popcorn made in microwave ovens is quick and convenient. But the bags used for microwave popcorn contain chemicals that are known to increase the risk of pancreatic and liver cancers. The chemical used in the lining of the microwave popcorn bags, perfluorooctanoic acid, is a carcinogen linked with testicular and kidney cancers.

3. Soda

Soda contains coloring, sugar and food chemicals. The chemicals acidify the body while the sugar feeds cancer cells and makes them multiply faster. Some of the common chemicals used in include 4-methylimidazole and caramel color. These additives are linked to the growth of cancer cells.

4. Diet Foods and Drinks

Some diet soda and other diet beverages contain artificial sweeteners instead of refined sugar. While some of these drinks contain aspartame, which has been certified as safe for human consumption, there are studies that show the consumption of aspartame increased the risk of cancer in rats.

5. Farmed Salmon

Eating farmed salmon increases the risk of developing cancer. Farmed salmon doesn’t have adequate vitamin D, and it also contains cancer-causing chemicals. These chemicals include pesticides, antibiotics, flame retardants, and polychlorinated biphenyls.

6. Alcohol

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including breast, liver, and colorectal cancers. When the body breaks down alcohol, it releases a chemical compound called acetaldehyde, which can cause cancer by damaging DNA.

While it’s better to avoid consuming alcohol to reduce the risk of developing cancer, some experts believe that if you must drink alcohol, then you should limit your daily consumption to a single serving if you’re a woman. Men should consume no more than two servings per day. A serving of alcohol, in this case, is 1.5 oz. of liquor, 5 oz. of wine or 12 oz. of beer.

Contact Gettysburg Cancer Center Today

Do you need more information on how to treat cancer effectively? We offer radiology, oncology and hematology care for patients living in and around the Gettysburg, PA area. We offer a full range of diagnosis options, treatment plans, and follow-up care. We also have an Oral Chemotherapy Pharmacy at the center.

Give us a call at 717-334-4033 to receive warm, expert, and compassionate care.