Stay Away From These 10 Cancer-Causing Foods

Stay Away From These 10 Cancer-Causing Foods
28 Mar 2022
7 mins
Table Of Content
Stay Away From These 10 Cancer-Causing Foods

    The important, as well as a modifiable lifestyle risk factor of cancer, is diet. No doubt, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits helps reduce cancer risk. Also, a healthy pattern of eating and drinking can help reduce other health conditions that increase cancer risk. Focusing on what foods to avoid is as significant as what to eat. In this topic, we are going to discuss cancer causing foods. 


    Foods that can cause cancer either have some harmful substances that have the capacity to cause cancer or increase the risk of obesity and diabetes, which are linked with some types of cancer. 

    Cancer Causing Foods To Avoid


    1. Processed meats: Processed meats are labeled as carcinogenic (cancer causing) by the World Health Organization (WHO). Processed meats have been cured, smoked, fermented, salted to preserve them. They include bacon, ham, deli-sliced chicken, and some sausages. In processing meats, preservatives such as nitrites or nitrates are added. 


    Smoking of meat can cause the production of carcinogenic chemicals such as N-nitroso compounds (NOC) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which are cancer causing agents. Eating processed meats regularly can increase the risk of stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.

    2. Red meat: WHO labels red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Red meat includes beef, lamb, mutton, goat, and pork. The risk of colorectal cancer increases by 12% with every 100g/day of red meat intake. 


    High consumption of red meat has also been linked to pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. Meat contains heme iron, which can induce the production of N-nitroso-compounds (NOCs). NOCs are carcinogenic compounds. The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) recommends not to eat more than 18 oz (500g) of red meat per week. 


    3. Charred meat, a cancer-causing food: Meats cooked at high temperatures or charred are linked to cancer risk. Cooking meats at high temperatures over a flame (e.g., barbecuing, grilling, pan-frying) can lead to the production of carcinogenic substances such as PAHs and heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA). These substances may damage DNA and increase cancer risk.


    To reduce HCA and PAH production in cooked meats follow the below given cooking tips:

    • Avoid prolonged cooking times
    • Remove charred portions of meat
    • Continuously turn the meat over on a high heat source
    • Avoid direct contact of meat to open flame

    4. Deep-fried foods that can cause cancer: Regular intake of selected deep-fried foods, including French fries, fried fish, and doughnuts, is linked with prostate cancer risk. The substance acrylamide is produced in larger quantities during deep-frying of foods, especially for carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes. IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) labels acrylamide as a probable human carcinogen. 

    5. Alcohol: There is so much evidence supporting alcohol causes cancer. Heavy and regular alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing liver cancer, colorectal cancer, throat cancer, and esophageal cancer. After consuming alcohol, it  is broken down into a chemical compound called acetaldehyde. 


    Acetaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen and toxic chemical which can damage the DNA. Alcoholic beverages may also contain carcinogenic contaminants such as nitrosamines, phenols, etc., that are introduced during fermentation and production. It is always best to quit drinking alcohol. People who want to limit the quantities can follow standard drink size.

    6. Sugar-sweetened beverages: Sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas can indirectly increase your cancer risk. They are high in calories and can put you at increased risk of weight gain and possibly obesity. Obesity is a known risk factor for developing many cancers including, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, esophageal cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer.

    7. Processed foods/ fast foods that can cause cancer: Almost all special diet plans emphasize limiting or avoiding processed foods. These foods include chips, French fries, pasta, burgers, pastries, etc. 


    These foods often contain high fat, sugar, and salt levels and lack vitamins, fiber, and micronutrients. Readily available fast foods tend to be energy-dense and are often consumed in larger portions. When consumed frequently, they can put anyone at an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. As we discussed in the sugar-sweetened beverages section, obesity can increase cancer risk.

    8. Salted fish: Salting is an old-style method of preserving fish frequently used in Asian countries. In Cantonese-style salted fish, the method of preservation leads to the generation of compounds nitrosamine, and N-nitrosodimethylamine. These substances can increase the risk of nasopharyngeal and stomach cancer. Also, foods preserved by salt may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer by stimulating the colonization of H. pylori bacteria. 

    9. Very hot beverages: Drinking beverages (such as coffee and tea) at high temperatures (hotter than 149°F or 65 °C) is linked with esophageal cancer risk. 

    10. Canned foods: Most canned food containers are lined with bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical substance is linked to cancer and other health problems. BPA has the same structure as the hormone estrogen. It may attach to estrogen receptors and affect many bodily functions. Avoid packaged and canned foods and go for fresh foods. 

    Reduce The Cancer Burden


    According to WHO (World Health Organization), thirty to forty percent of cancer burden can be attributed to lifestyle risk factors such as alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, a diet low in vegetables and fruits, obesity and overweight and physical inactivity. 


    Be at a healthy weight. Do not use supplements without your physician’s recommendation. Sit less and walk more. Stay away from carcinogenic products and load up on a good and healthy diet. Read about potential cancer reducing foods to include in your daily diet. 

    Written by
    GuruvigneshwariContent Writer
    AboutM.Pharmacy (Pharmacognosy)
    Tags :Cancer causing foodfoods that can cause cancertop cancer-causing foods