While you may think you’re being healthy by choosing sugar-free or low-fat food options, you’re actually eating some of the most toxic foods on the market. In fact, so many of the foods we eat every single day have been proven to be harmful to our health; some have even been known to cause cancer.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but take a look at these foods that have specifically been shown to increase the risk of cancer, and use this knowledge to make informed choices regarding your health.
You might be shocked to know that alcohol is the second leading cause of cancer, but drinking excessive amounts of alcohol has been shown to cause heart failure, stroke, and is the leading cause of esophagus, liver, colon, mouth, rectum and breast cancers. But don’t panic, this doesn’t mean you have to give up alcohol altogether. Low to moderate levels of alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, so enjoy that glass of wine at dinner.
Depending on where you grew up, red meat may be part of almost every meal, but it might be time to reconsider your diet. People who eat red meat like hamburgers every day have about a 20 percent higher risk of developing deadly cancers, especially colon cancer, than those who don’t eat meat at all or only do occasionally. In small doses, red meat can actually be beneficial to your health as long as you choose grass-fed, organic beef.
If you’ve ever wondered why it’s impossible to eat just one potato chips, it’s because they were intentionally designed to have the perfect amount of salt, sugar, crunch, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives. The excessive amount of sodium is known to cause high blood pressure, and the addictive snack also contains acrymalide, which is a known cancer causer in cigarettes.
Canned tomatoes and sauces are loaded with sugar, and the cans that hold these delicious sauces are lined with the chemical BPA, which seeps into the can’s contents, and disrupts hormone activity. The acidity in tomatoes, in particular, breaks down the BPA in the cans and can cause cancer.
Canned Anything, Really
It isn’t just canned tomatoes either, honestly, anything canned can be potentially exposed to BPA. BPA has been linked to many cancers, reproductive issues, and heart disease. Make sure to look for cans with ‘BPA free’ on the label, or choose sauces packaged in glass jars to avoid this harmful toxin.
In an attempt to lose weight, you might choose foods with artificial sweeteners, but you’re actually doing yourself more harm than good. Artificial sweeteners disrupt the body’s ability to monitor calorie consumptions, which makes us crave sugar more, and causes the people who consume these sweeteners to actually gain weight. After consuming artificial sweeteners, the toxin DKP forms in the body and produces cancer-causing chemicals, which have been linked to brain tumors. Remember to stick to the real deal if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat.
America may run on Dunkin’ but that only means that they are inadvertently running on a combination of trans-fats, processed sugars, and white flour; all of which this list will show are potentially cancer-causing foods. As with any confection, feel free to enjoy the occasional donut, but in moderation.
In order to make a tasty product, processed meats like cold cuts and cured meat is made with unhealthy amounts of salt, preservatives, and other chemicals. A 13 year study showed that people who ate 160 grams of processed meats had a 44 percent higher risk of cancer than those who ate 20 grams or less.
Those of you who enjoy your steak well done might want to reconsider your tastes when you read this fact. The charred edges that collect on meats cooked at high temperatures have been linked to certain chemicals that might change your DNA in a bad way. All is not lost though, marinating them before cooking might actually help reduce the risk of these carcinogens forming.
Highly Processed White Flours
In order to produce the white flour that we have come to use in so much of our baking and cooking, the flour has to go through a process of chemical bleaching that voids it of any nutritional value. Even more alarming is the fact that this process uses chlorine gas, which is deadly when inhaled. White flour causes blood sugar and then insulin levels to spike, which not only causes diabetes, but fuel cancerous tumors that feed on sugar in the bloodstream.
It stands to reason that if those same highly processed white flours are unsafe, then so are the breads baked from those flours. The Environmental Working Group has recently identified an astonishing eighty-six breads, baked goods, and starchy supermarket products have been identified as being laced with potassium bromate; a cancer-causing agent.
Depending on the source of your salmon, you may not be eating as healthy as you think you are. If your salmon was farm-raised versus wild, it means the fish was fed unnatural foods, and raised in environments full of antibiotics, pesticides, and other cancerous chemicals like asbestos. Farm-raised salmon is also fattier than wild salmon, which means they absorb more of those harmful chemicals than wild salmon would.
Non-organic fruits and vegetables are treated with highly toxic pesticides like atrazine, thiodicarb, and organophosphates, and fertilizers high in nitrogen. These chemicals have been shown to be harmful to our health, and even cause fertility issues. If you can’t afford to buy entirely organic, as it is much pricier than non-organic produce, be sure to know ‘the dirty dozen’, and buy only organic for the 12 most contaminated foods.
It might seem counterintuitive to choose the full fat or sugar foods when trying to be healthy or lose weight, but the ‘fat free’ or ‘sugar free’ foods are full of chemicals that mimic the taste and mouth feel of the full fat/sugar foods. One artificial sweetener in particular, aspartame, is known to cause heart problems and birth defects, and other added chemicals that are literally addictive.
The American Heart Association may have cleared saturated fats of all charges when it comes to their perceived connection to heart disease, but that’s not exactly the case when it comes to cancer. A 2015 study found that those who ate more saturated fats as they got older had an increased risk of developing cancer than those who ate more responsibly.
Whether you call them French fries, chips, or freedom fries, the verdict is out on the fried potato and its connection to cancer. These delicious treats have been linked to heart problems for years but only recently been revealed to potentially form cancer cells among rats in lab tests.
We already know that artificial sweeteners have a myriad of negative health effects, but now it appears that certain artificial flavors have been recently been banned by the FDA may have had long term effects on our health. Doctors at the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas have found seven synthetic flavoring substances that caused cancer in lab animals.
Calcium may be great for healthy bones, but it can also apparently cause prostate cancer. Scientists have recently found a link between high calcium intake and the development of prostate cancer. This is apparently due to the fact that the calcium can lower the body’s production of a certain cancer-fighting hormone in men.
Microwave popcorn may seem like a quick and healthy low-calorie snack, but everything from the actual popcorn to the bag is full of harmful toxins. The popcorn is treated with preservatives and chemicals like propyl gallate and diacetyl, which can cause lung diseases, stomach issues, and skin rashes. The bags are also lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is linked to infertility and kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas and testicular cancers. Try getting plain, organic popcorn kernels that you can flavor and cook yourself for a low-calorie snack that is an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber.
Salted or Smoked Foods
As delicious as these popular foods are, they are highly associated with developing cancer. Through smoking and chemical preservation, these foods produce N-nitroso composites in the body and contain the same tar found in cigarettes. Salty, picked, and smoked foods have also been shows to specifically cause colorectal and stomach cancers. Next time you reach for a salty, picked, or smoked food, ask yourself if you want to eat chemicals like tar and preservatives like nitrate.
One of the biggest culprits of the cancer-causing smoked and pickled fare is dried fish. These salt-cured meats and fish are common in many parts of Asia and North Africa and are high in nitrates. Any increased intake of these saline delicacies can increase the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer.
Hydrogenated oils like margarine, which can be found in most baked goods, are linked to cancer, birth defects, and heart disease. Try cooking with healthier oils like olive, soy, or canola oil, and remember to check the ingredients in other foods for this pesky ingredient.
As mentioned before, cancer cells feed on sugar in the blood and make the cells grow faster. Refined sugars, like high-fructose corn syrup, can be found in almost all packaged foods and snacks, so be sure to always read labels.
Soda is full of “empty” calories, sugars, artificial flavors and colors, and void of any nutritional benefits. Studies have shown that even drinking as little as two sodas a week doubled the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Bagels may be a delicious part of your balanced breakfast, especially if you’re a New Yorker, but unfortunately, they can also send your blood sugar soaring. Bagels, rolls, croissants, donuts, anything with a high glycemic index has been found to raise the risk of lung cancer in many people. Maybe go for a less sugary option for breakfast.
Very Hot Beverages
We have bad news for you if you like your tea, coffee, or chocolate hot. It seems that scientists now believe that any drink hotter than 149 degrees Fahrenheit can be potentially hazardous to your health. The drinks haven’t directly been linked to cancer, but the sugar, artificial sweeteners, and milk we often put into them all have.
It’s a fairly known fact that much of the water we drink is stored in plastic water bottles that leach chemicals into the water itself. These chemicals have been known to cause cancer as has the arsenic that is sometimes mixed in the water we drink from our own faucets. It’s best to use filters and avoid plastic whenever possible.
Hot dogs may be a convenient on-the-go food and the perfect thing to feed the entire neighborhood at a block party, but they also happen to be one of the most carcinogenic foods available. Like many processed foods, hot dogs are high in nitrates and nitrites, fats, and a multitude of other preservatives that can wreak havoc on our systems if overdone.
This is not a food, per se, but it does have a lot to do with many of the items on this list. Being obese puts you at risk for all sorts of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and of course, cancer. All of this can be prevented by watching what we eat and maintaining a healthy regimen of diet and exercise.