Unless you ignore the media altogether, you probably wonder if there may be something in your diet that causes cancer. And if you pay close attention, it seems to make sense that there could be certain ingredients in certain foods that are responsible for the development and growth of cancer. While there is much speculation about possible carcinogens in our food, not many of the theories are scientifically proven.
What are the theories out there and what foods have truly been shown to lead to cancer? Have a seat and get ready to have your suspicions either confirmed or denied.
It is thought by some that the many additives and chemicals added to food for longer shelf life, a more colorful appearance, or to enhance the taste are culprits causing cancer. This can be frightening, as just about every packaged food found on grocery store shelves contains these preservatives and strange chemicals with names that are virtually impossible to read. And if you don't know what an ingredient is in your food, should you be putting it in your body?
Since tumors feed on sugar, some people think that you should eliminate as much refined sugars and refined grains from your diet as possible. This includes white flour, sweeteners, white breads, white pastas, high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and sugar. However, like the additive argument, this theory is not scientifically proven. After all, every cell in your body needs sugar to do work properly. Remove sugar altogether from your diet, and you'll punish your entire body - not just ward off cancer cells.
A third hypothesis considers the dangers of hydrogenated oils. The oil itself is not dangerous, but when heated with hydrogen and metal catalysts, trans fats are created and the essential fatty acid components needed by your body are removed. While trans fat may be a possible factor in the development of cancer, it also leads to heart disease and weight gain. Therefore, its link to cancer is difficult to confirm.
Studies are also underway to determine if acrylamides are a cause of cancer. Acrylamides are formed when starchy foods are put under high heat required in frying. This means foods such as French fries, doughnuts, and potato chips could be full of cancer-causing agents. It's not proven yet, but it's not yet unproven either.
It is a fact that consuming high levels of alcohol increases your risk of cancer. This is especially true for those who smoke cigarettes in addition to drinking alcohol. It has been found that heavy drinking increases your likelihood of developing cancers of the throat, mouth, voice box, esophagus, and liver. It may also play a part in breast cancer.
Additionally, scientific studies have shown a link between stomach and colorectal cancers with red meat, processed meat, food preserved by salt, pickled food, and smoked foods. When food companies add sodium nitrite to meats and processed meats to give them a fresh, reddish color, this sodium nitrite is converted to nitrosamine when digested. If you're thinking this causes cancer, you're right. This chemical isn't just found in meats. Nitrosamine is also found in beer, fish products, cheese, and tobacco smoke. Since it is not an exact ingredient in food, it often isn't added to the ingredient label on the packaging.
Since meats increase your risk for various cancers, it should be no surprise that vegetarians are about half as likely to develop certain kinds of cancers than those who eat meat. It is important, therefore, to limit your meat consumption. Love hot dogs and other processed meat? You'll need to look for those that don't contain sodium nitrite.