Foods and Cancer risk
While a high-energy, low-fibre diet may increase a person’s risk of developing cancer, some individual foods have also been singled out as potentially causing cancer (carcinogenic). These include:
1 .Artificial sweeteners: such as aspartame, saccharin and cyclamate. Laboratory rats can develop bladder cancer if fed huge amounts of saccharin or cyclamate, although this is at levels thousands of times greater than a normal diet. International studies have shown that humans are not affected in the same way. Artificial sweeteners are considered safe to eat.
2. Burnt or barbecued foods – a group of carcinogenic substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be produced if foods are overheated or burnt. Although charred or smoked foods could contain traces of PAHs, experts agree that the amount in the average Australian diet is too low to be considered a significant cancer risk. However, when cooking, it’s best to use relatively low temperature methods wherever possible, and limit your intake of char-grilled meats and foods. Low temperature cooking methods include steaming, boiling, poaching, stewing, casseroling, braising, baking, stir-frying, microwaving or roasting.
Always remember that Microwave-safe plastic containers and wraps are safe to use in the microwave: But plastic containers not intended for use in the microwave could melt and potentially leak chemicals into your food. So avoid microwaving containers that were never intended for the microwave, such as margarine tubs, take-out containers or whipped topping bowls. Check to see that any container you use in the microwave is labeled as microwave-safe.
3.Farmed Salmon: According to David Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, farmed salmon is not only lower in vitamin D than wild-caught, but higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, flame retardants, and pesticides including DDT. “You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” Carpenter stated. These fish are also typically treated with high levels of antibiotics.
4. Conventional Apples (and Other “Dirty” Fruits): According to a survey by the Environmental Working Group, apples are the most pesticide-contaminated produce on average, with pesticides showing up on 98 percent of the more than 700 samples tested. Other highly contaminated produce included grapes, strawberries, cilantro, potatoes, and oranges, all of which had more than 90 percent of samples testing positive for pesticide residue. In addition to being toxic to humans, pesticides may increase the risk of some cancers, with some studies indicating that maternal exposure may increase the risk of lowered child I.Q. and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Choose organic for these items
5. Processed Meat: Meats preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, or that contain chemical preservatives, are linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. Most are manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite, used to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. A 2005 study from the University of Hawaii found that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. Hot dogs, in particular, are made up of meat scraps, including organs, nerve tissue, bone pieces, and other unsavory animal parts. Animals that donate them are likely to have been fed grains laced with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and fecal matter. After a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) declared that consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives. These include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami, and virtually all red meat used in frozen and prepared meals.
6. Soda: It’s loaded with calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients, and has no nutritional benefit. One can of soda contains the equivalent of ten packets of sugar. According to studies, most popular diet and sugared sodas are nearly as corrosive to dental enamel as battery acid, leading to an increase in tooth sensitivity and cavities despite good dental hygiene. A study from the University of Minnesota found that people who drank as little as two soft drinks a week faced almost double the risk of pancreatic cancer. Dark-colored sodas contain a chemical known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a byproduct of chemical processing used to create the artificial dye that gives these sodas their color. Studies have linked 4-MI to cancer. Pepsi and Coca-Cola recently announced they would modify the coloring to avoid a cancer-warning label newly required by California law. A UCLA study also directly linked soda with obesity.
7. Regular Potato Chips: They’re full of artery-clogging trans fats, high glycemic carbohydrates, sodium, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. High temperatures used to cook them typically cause the formation of carcinogenic substances like acrylamide, which is also found in cigarettes. Clark University professor Dale Hattis is quoted as saying, “I estimate that acrylamide causes several thousand cancers per year in Americans.” Even those with reduced trans fat may contain acrylamide.
There is lot of research conducted by different Scientific groups on this topic and all resulted in different inferences. After reading many of articles and research materials I concluded that excess of everything is not good for health. Some precautions should be adopted while eating like
- Always try to eat fresh food.
- Go for green leafy vegetables
- Avoid low fibre diet
- Daily intake of grains and cereals should be your priority.
- Drink enough water daily
- Avoid processed food to your level best
Things to remember
- High-fat, low-fibre diets may increase the risk of many cancers including bowel, lung, prostate and uterine cancers.
- You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by eating more fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables and wholegrain foods.
- Even though diet can influence your risk of developing cancer, there is little evidence that special foods can be used to cure existing cancers.