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10 Cancer Causing Foods

Updated on September 16, 2019
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Srikanth strongly believes that prevention is better than cure. He is of the opinion that awareness is a key to prevent diseases.

Between 30-50 Percent of All Cancer Cases Are Preventable

According to the American Cancer Society, your chances of getting cancer are one in two for men and one in three for women. Shocking, but true. The good news is, World Health Organization estimates that between 30-50 percent of all cancer cases are preventable. A healthy balanced diet that includes whole grains, vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of this serious disease substantially.

10 Cancer-Causing Foods

Cancer is a deadly disease that is growing at rapid pace worldwide. Many cancers are linked to dier. It definitely helps to know what foods to avoid. Here are eight foods that many experts believe cause cancer.

1. Red Meat (Grilled) and Processed Meat

What Is Red Meat?

Red meat refers to all mammalian muscle meat. Beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat are examples of red meat.

What Is Processed Meat?

Processed meat is any meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance its flavour or for preservation purposes.

Processed Meat Increases Bowel Cancer Risk

Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but they may also contain other red meats, poultry, offal or meat by-products like blood. Research studies indicate that consuming around 50g of processed meat a day may enhance bowel cancer risk by about 20 percent.

Examples of Processed Meat

Hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces are examples of processed meat.

Cooked Red Meat Contains Carcinogens

You may not like what you read if you love the delicious taste of grilled red meat. Research studies indicate that cooking meat by grilling releases heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCAs), which are carcinogenic. Do not eat more than 18 ounces of cooked red meat per week.

Processed Meat and Red Meat Increase the Risk of Cancer

Small increases in the risk of various cancers may be associated with high consumption of red meat or processed meat. Although these risks are small, they could be significant for public health because many people all over the world consume meat; meat consumption is increasing in low- and middle-income countries.

A review of studies found that women who consumed high levels of processed meat had a 9 percent enhanced risk of breast cancer compared to those who ate less.

Consuming even small amounts of processed meat enhances the risk of colorectal cancer.

“We see a 4 percent increase in the risk of cancer even at 15 grams a day, which is a single slice of ham on a sandwich,” said Dr. Nigel Brockton, director of research for the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Consuming a more typical serving of 50 grams of processed meat a day would increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, a 2011 review of studies found.

Processed meat includes sausages, luncheon meat, hotdogs, bacon and more, which contain preservatives to make them look appealing and fresh for a longer time than natural. These same chemicals are what will make one more prone to cancer. Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are two of such preservatives that have been shown to result in colon cancer.

— Vanessa Doctor

How frequently do you eat red meat?

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Red Meat List


Grilled Red Meat Causes Cancer


"Processed meats fall into the same category that cigarette smoking does with lung cancer.... In other words, it’s an item that causes cancer at some point in the future if you consume high amounts.”

— Dr. Alok Khorana, MD, Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Cleveland Clinic.

2. Carbonated Drinks

Does diet soda give you cancer? Yes, say many medical professionals worldwide.

Carbonated beverages contain dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame and many other carcinogens. A research study conducted in the spring of 2005 indicated a strong correlation between consumption of carbonated drinks and esophageal cancer.

Many research studies in many parts of the world have examined links between consumption of carbonated drinks and cancer. In the year 2015, scientists issued a warning over carbonated drinks, claiming that they cause a death toll of 184,000 adults every year.

Carbonated Beverages Are Loaded With Carcinogens


Soda Bad for Health

Regular consumption of soft drinks — both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened — was associated with a greater risk of all causes of death, according to research published in September 2019 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

3. Alcohol

Many experts are of the opinion that the more alcohol you drink, the higher the risk of cancer. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, drinking alcohol increases the risk of many cancers, including the cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and liver.

These risks increase after about one daily drink for women and two daily drinks for men. Over the years, clear patterns have emerged between alcohol consumption and the development of neck cancer and head cancer.

One of the largest cancer prevention studies of its kind conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that just one alcoholic drink a day can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

The institute examined 119 past studies involving 12 million women. 260,000 of them had breast cancer. Anne McTiernan was the lead writer of the report. McTiernan is with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

Regularly drinking up to a pint of premium lager or a large glass of wine daily can increase the risk of the cancers of the mouth, upper throat, oesophagus, breast and bowel. These drinks both include around three units of alcohol.

The research showed a connection between drinking alcohol and increased risk of breast cancer in 10 studies involving 4,000 women.

— Anne McTiernan, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

The More the Alcohol, the Greater the Risk of Cancer


4. Bagel

A study that was conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center indicates that foods like bagel that are high on glycemic index (GI) can increase the risk of lung cancer by as much as 49 percent.

High-GI Foods Increase Cancer Risk


5. Trans Fats

Many studies have linked trans fats to cancer. One such study indicates that consuming plenty of trans fats may enhance the risk of breast cancer. Of the 25,000 European ladies who participated in the study, those who had the highest levels of trans fats in their blood were about twice as likely as those with the lowest trans fat levels to develop breast cancer. Foods that contain trans fats are foods that cause cancer cells to grow. It is better to avoid them.

Ground Beef Is Carcinogenic


6. Farmed Salmon

An analysis of more than 700 farmed salmon weighing more than two tons revealed that regular consumption of the fish increases the risk of cancer. This is due to high levels of cancer-causing toxins in the fish.

A research study at the University at Albany found that farmed salmon is often loaded with carcinogens like pesticides and flame retardants. It is advisable to consume wild salmon instead. Farmed salmon is bad for health.

Farmed Salmon Is a Toxic Food


7. Burnt Toast

If you cook starchy foods like bread for too long or at high temperature, they produce acrylamide, a white odorless crystalline chemical compound with the chemical formula C₃H₅NO.

Acrylamide is responsible for changing the colour of the food into golden. Overcooking can result in producing excess levels of acrylamide, which increases the risk of cancer.

Acrylamide is formed from simple sugars, such as glucose, reacting with an amino acid, known as asparagine, when these foods are cooked at temperatures above 120 degrees Celsius. Asparagine is found naturally in starchy foods.

8. Roasted Potato

The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom launched a campaign in January 2017 to warn about cancer risks linked to eating over-roasted potatoes. The campaign was based on longstanding evidence from animal studies in 2002.

A research study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who eat fried potatoes two or more times a week double their risk of an early death compared to those who avoid them. When potato is fried or roasted, it produces acrylamide, which is a known carcinogen in human beings.

First full risk assessment of acrylamide in food was done in 2015 by European Food Safety Authority. It suggests that acrylamide enhances cancer risk.

Acrylamide is a chemical produced when starchy foods such as potatoes are fried, roasted or baked at a high temperature.... You can reduce your intake of acrylamide by boiling or steaming starchy foods, rather than frying them.... If you do fry foods, do it quickly.... Go lighter, since the darker the food, the more acrylamide it may contain.... Potatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator because this could lead to producing more acrylamide when the potatoes are later cooked.

— Stephanie Schiff, registered dietitian, Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital, Huntington, New York

9. Sugar

Consuming sugar can actively damage your cells and increase the risk of developing cancer.

Research studies suggest that sugar may promote tumor growth by acting as fuel to cancer.

The hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth.

— Johan Thevelein, molecular biologist

10. Microwave popcorn

Perfluorooctanoic acid found in microwave bags makes microwave popcorn unhealthy. It is known to cause cancers of kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas and testicles.

6 Cancer-Causing Food Additives Found in Popular Foods

Eugenyl methyl ether
Following pressure from several environmental and consumer safety groups, the FDA in October 2018 opted to ban seven synthetic food additives known to cause harm—synthetically derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone, p

Prohibited synthetic compounds—benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether, myrcene, pulegone, pyridine, and styrene—are used to help mimic natural flavors like mint, cinnamon, and garlic.

10 Anti-Cancer Superfoods

Sl No
Organic shiitake mushrooms
Organic raw sauerkraut
Fermented raw carrots
Sweet potatoes
Sunflower sprouts


  • Between 30-50 percent of all cancer cases are preventable.
  • Heterocyclic aromatic amines in grilled red meat are carcinogenic.
  • Soda consumption is linked to cancer.
  • Alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer.
  • Trans fats cause breast cancer.

Cancer is awful. It took 10 years until I didn't think about it every day. Nobody should go through this. Nobody.

— Hans Rosling

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Srikanth R


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    • sellmyhousedenver profile image


      2 years ago from Denver, CO

      The process meat and alcohol I guessed right away. Every person I've known that eats or drinks one of those heavily always had terrible health consequences.


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