What You Eat May Increase Your Cancer Risk

Like on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn
Pin to Pinterest
Share on StumbleUpon

According to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), there are more than 200 types of cancer.

A review of how lifestyle affects your risk of developing cancer was published in 2011, and included diet. It found that around 1 out of 10 cancers (10%) may be linked to diet.

Over half of these were caused by eating less than 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Other factors include eating too much red meat, not eating enough fiber and eating too much salt.


ICRF claims alcohol can increase your risk of a number of cancers. A review in 2011 by Cancer Research UK suggests that around 4 out of 100 cancers (4%) are linked to alcohol.

“Alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer, and throat cancer, which includes pharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer and cancer of the food pipe (oesophagus).”

ICRF adds that even moderate alcohol intake increases your risk of cancer. A recent UK study showed that women who drink one or two drinks a day have a slightly increased risk of cancer.

A report in The Wall Street Journal concedes that although moderate consumption of alcohol can be good for the heart, evidence is mounting that even drinking alcohol in moderation raises the long-term risk of many kinds of cancers of the breast, liver, colon, pancreas, mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus.

Several long-standing theories propose that antioxidants in wines, including resveratrol, are linked to the prevention cancer. But William Li, president and medical director at the Angiogenesis Foundation has challenged those theories.

Red or Processed Meat

ICRF also claims bowel and stomach cancer are more common in people who eat lots of red and processed meat.

“Red meat includes all fresh, minced and frozen beef, pork, lamb or veal. Processed meats have been preserved in some way other than freezing and include bacon, ham, salami, sausages, spam, corned beef, black pudding, pâté and tinned meat.”

The way meat is cooked may also increase cancer risk. “Certain chemicals are made when red and processed meats are cooked at high temperatures, such as on a barbeque. These chemicals can damage our cells, making them more likely to become cancerous.”

According to an analysis from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), an international panel of experts reviewed more than 7,000 large-scale studies and spent five years developing a report which concludes no amount of processed meat is considered safe.

Processed meats include items like bacon, packaged ham, salami, corned beef, sandwich meat, sausages, hot dogs, pastrami, and pepperoni. Processed meats are included in canned soups, frozen meals, pizzas, and prepared ravioli and meat pasta foods.

Dr. Mercola claims other studies have also found that processed meats increase your risk of:

* Colon cancer by 50 percent

* Bladder cancer by 59 percent

* Stomach cancer by 38 percent

* Pancreatic cancer by 67 percent

Moreover, research published in The British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that eating a diet high in processed food increases the risk of depression. Data on diet among 3,500 middle-aged civil servants was compared with depression five years later.

Coke and Pepsi

Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Diet Coke, and Diet Pepsi contain high levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a known animal carcinogen.

The chemical is responsible for the artificial caramel coloring used in colas. The Center for Science in the Public Interest CSPI claims the artificial brown coloring in colas and some other products is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures.

The chemical reactions result in the formation of 2-methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole.

“Coke and Pepsi, with the acquiescence of the FDA, are needlessly exposing millions of Americans to a chemical that causes cancer,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson.

Healthy Diet

There is some evidence that eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can protect against cancer. ICRF maintains that bowel cancer is less common in people who eat lots of fiber.

One EPIC study showed that people who ate the most fiber had a 40% lower risk of bowel cancer than those who ate the least.

ICRF advises that a healthy diet may help to prevent cancer and lower your risk of other diseases:

* Eat less meat and animal fats (butter, cream, cheese)
* Eat five portions of raw or lightly cooked fruit and vegetables every day
* Eat more fibre
* Eat more oily fish (eg salmon, trout, mackerel)
* Eat less salt and salty foods
* Eat less sugar and sugary foods
* Eat more cereals, bread, pasta and rice
* Don’t fry foods and if you use fats in cooking, choose vegetable oils or olive oil not lard or butter
* Drink less alcohol

Like on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn
Pin to Pinterest
Share on StumbleUpon
Spence Cooper
Inquisitive foodie with a professional investigative background and strong belief in the organic farm to table movement. Author of Bad Seeds: A FriendsEAT Guide to GMO's. Buy Now!
Spence Cooper