As per the World Cancer Report-2014 published by WHO, in the year 2012 over 8 million people died of cancer and another 14 million become victims this fatal disease all over the world. The number of new cases of cancer is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades. 
According to some of the US cancer experts, half the cases of cancer diagnosed in the US are actually preventable by making healthy changes in lifestyle, especially the diet habits.
We have food and drinks for the nourishment and strengthening the immunity system of the body. However, many of the foods we eat, especially the delicious junk foods, do more harm to the body than good.
The various types of cancerous conditions in the body could be caused by the regular consumption of certain unhealthy foods.
Of course, the very same foods that lead to the development of heart diseases, diabetes, and chronic inflammation are also the foods that cause cancer.
Overall, about 50% of cancer incidences in people are caused by unhealthy foods and drinks (cancer foods); and rest are caused by genetic disorders, radiation, viruses, cancer-causing toxic chemicals, pollutants, smoking and drug abuse.
In this article, we shall exclusively discuss 11 types commonly used foods and drinks that cause cancer.
Perhaps, you will be surprised to learn that many of cancer causing foods are already being consumed by you regularly or occasionally. Of course, it just means if you continue to consume them regularly, you are in the high risk of acquiring some types of cancer in the future.
- 1. Grilled Red Meat And Processed Meat
- 2. Hydrogenated Oils
- 3. Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)
- 4. Canned Foods
- 5. Popcorn Heated In Microwave
- 6. Smoked, Salted And Pickled Foods
- 7. Refined Sugar And Artificial Sweeteners
- 8. Soda and Carbonated Beverages
- 9. Farmed Fish
- 10. Refined Grain Flour
- 11. Chips And Fried Foods
- The Bottom Line
1. Grilled Red Meat And Processed Meat
Most us really love to enjoy and relish the great taste of steak prepared on the grill.
Meat is good for health but grilled and processed meats are not.
When the meat (especially the red meat) is cooked at high temperature, it’s molecular and chemical structure changes form to a carcinogen.
The processed and stored meat, usually sold in sealed packets and tin containers, also contain lots of sodium and chemical preservatives that are bad for health.
The smoked meat is even worse as it has higher chances of being contaminated by carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
2. Hydrogenated Oils
The vegetable oils extracted with the help of chemicals are known as hydrogenated oils.
The high amount of Omega 6 fatty acids found in these oils is bad for health as it has a high risk of causing cancer and heart diseases. The omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids must be in a proportionate ratio for them to be good for health.
The excess consumption of omega-6 fats adversely affects the health by causing unusual changes in the structure of our cell membranes.
The hydrogenated oils also contain added chemicals used for preservation and giving flavor to the oil. These chemicals also can lead to the development of cancer.
3. Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)
In the recent years, the agricultural industries all over the world are extensively using genetically modified food crops for achieving buffer harvest.
The GMOs techniques have helped the farmers to increase the mass production of corns, soy and number other commonly used vegetables.
A few of the recent researches’ results from studies conducted on rat indicated the increased possibilities of the occurrence of cancer disease by using the GMO foods.
However, any conclusive evidence on GMOs risks in causing cancer is still wanting as most of the studies had substantial errors in their findings.
The GMO foods are good to be avoided as they are also found to have other adverse health effects besides the risk of causing cancer.
4. Canned Foods
The canned foods and drinks appear very attractive and healthy. But they are not so healthy as you think.
Most cans are lined with a synthetic organic compound called bisphenol-A (BPA). The foods and drinks stay in contact with this compound absorb the chemical properties that have the risk of causing breast cancer, prostate cancer, and others.
However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) do not fully agree with the evidence on cancer-causing effects of BPA as there are no clear and verified proofs for it.
5. Popcorn Heated In Microwave
The microwave popcorn is one of favorite snack for most of us, especially while watching a movie in a theater or watching sporting events.
There is a chemical in the nonstick coating on the inside of the popcorn bag that produces a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid when exposed to the fumes from freshly popped corn.
A study in 1993 by Dr. Frank Gilliland published in “Journal of Occupational Medicine” explained that workers exposed to perfluorooctanoic acid had an increased rate of cancer mortality.
Some of the studies have suggested the possibilities of lung cancer in people who regularly inhale the fumes of freshly popped corns. But there is NO proven evidence to prove this claim.
Most of the popcorn is made of corns and oils sourced from GMO farms as they are cheap and tastier than the organic verities. We have discussed above how these GMO foods are cancer causing agents.
The chemical ingredient used for adding artificial butter flavoring to popcorn contains diacetyl, which is toxic to humans.
6. Smoked, Salted And Pickled Foods
The smoked, salted or pickled foods taste great and excellent appetizers too. But these foods are not healthy for many reasons.
Regular consumption of foods preserved by salting and pickling are associated with an increased risk of cancers of the stomach, nose, and throat. For example, the gastric cancer is very common in Japan where lots of preserved traditional foods are commonly used by people.[15,16]
The manufacturers of pickles usually add harmful preservatives such as nitrates or nitrites which are usually meant for increasing the shelf-life of it.
Consumption of pickles and salted foods accumulates additives into your body. At a later stage, they become toxic and cause cellular inflammation leading to different types of cancer.
The smoked foods that contain preservatives when heated at high temperature the nitrates turn into dangerous nitrites.
7. Refined Sugar And Artificial Sweeteners
Refined sugar is most commonly used sweetener in cookies and cakes.
Even the artificial sweeteners or ‘sugar-free’ sweetener are not safe for health.
According to the National Cancer Institute, few of the cancer studies have shown artificial sweeteners as potential cancer agents on lab rats. It is better to avoid the artificial sweeteners as its cancer effects proven on rats is also can happen to human beings.
8. Soda and Carbonated Beverages
These beverages mostly contain a lot of fructose corn syrup, colors, and many other flavor adding chemicals and additives.
The rich sugar and fructose content in them makes people obese and diabetic; also, these drinks have zero nutritional value. These drinks even suppress the nutrition our body supposed to absorb from normal diets.
According to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, drinking one or more sodas per day could expose you to 4-methylimidazole, a possible carcinogen.
9. Farmed Fish
The quality and goodness fish got from commercial fish farms are very poor when compared with the wild fish.
The fish, such as carp, salmon, tilapia and catfish, are treated with pesticides, antibiotics, and other carcinogenic chemicals can cause cancer.
Also, these fish from farms do not contain as much omega-3 fatty acids as in wild fish.
10. Refined Grain Flour
The refined grain flour or the white flour is bad for health, and it has very little nutritional value in comparison to the whole grains.
Most of the commercially sold refined white flours are bleached with chlorine gas to give bright white color to the flour, and this can result in health hazards like cancer and stomach disorders.
The white flour also ranks very high on glycemic index because of its high calories content without much nutritional value.
All types of foods prepared with white flour raise the blood sugar level and causes insulin resistance. As a result of this, the processed grains can cause diabetes and bad cholesterol arising out of sugar fat. Of course, all these bad health conditions could lead to the development of cancer.
11. Chips And Fried Foods
Most of us love to munch on potato chips and other fried savories.
Many of the commercially sold chips and fried foods contain a lot of trans-fats, chemical flavors, additives, and preservatives.
As per the American Cancer Society suggestions and recommendations, when chips are roasted at high temperature, a product called acrylamide is created, a type of carcinogen that can cause cancer.
The Bottom Line
Most of these foods and drinks are commonly used by us for their great taste and addictive quality.
However, the regular consumption any of these food items we discussed above, increase the risk of developing major fatal diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disorders.
It is wise to choose healthy foods that do not contain any cancer causing chemical ingredients. The best alternative to these harmful foods are the organic foods which include naturally grown vegetables, fruits, grains, meat, fish and dairy products.
The foods that come labeled as “light’, “diet” or “fat-free” are also avoidable as they are processed foods that usually have added chemicals.
It is better to avoid all junk foods, and fast foods as almost all of them are high in calories and low in nutritional value.
Now as you have a fair idea about the cancer-causing foods, and it is up to you to be serious about avoiding these foods.