List of Foods That Can Cause Cancer and Lifestyle Alternatives – 7 hours ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Cancer is a disease that causes major deaths throughout the world. One of the causes of cancer is an unhealthy diet.

Launch Medical News Todaycertain processed foods and fast foods can increase the risk of developing cancer if a person consumes them in large quantities or over a long period of time.

However, the relationship between diet and cancer risk may not be direct. For example, some foods can increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, conditions that are linked to certain types of cancer.

So what foods can increase the risk of cancer? The following is the explanation and the alternatives, as quoted from Medical News Today:

1. Red meat

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies red meat into group 2A, which means it may be carcinogenic to humans. A carcinogen is any substance that can cause cancer. The following are examples of red meat:

  • Beef
  • Pig
  • Sheep’s meat

Experts have found strong evidence of a link between colorectal cancer and consuming large amounts of red meat. Evidence also suggests a link to pancreatic and prostate cancer.

Because of these risks, the World Cancer Research Fund International recommends limiting red meat consumption to three servings per week, with a total cooked weight of 12-18 ounces.

2. Processed meat

Chicken Nuggets (Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash)Photo: Chicken Nuggets (Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash)

Processed meat is meat that is preserved by producers through smoking, pickling, or salting. Examples include:

  • Sausage
  • Hot dog
  • Nuggets
  • Salami
  • Corned beef

The process of making this meat often involves nitrites, which can produce carcinogens. Even smoking meat without chemicals can produce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a type of carcinogen.

WHO states that there is convincing evidence that processed meat causes cancer. According to a 2019 review, consumption of processed meat is a significant risk factor for colorectal cancer. Experts have also linked it to stomach and breast cancer.


There are many alternatives to processed meat, including fresh fish and chicken. You can also choose a vegetarian protein such as tofu.

3. Processed foods

Processed foods include:

  • Packaged snacks such as cookies and chips
  • Frozen food
  • Sweet cereal
  • Soda
  • Spreads such as margarine and cream cheese
  • Sweet foods such as candy and chocolate
  • Fast food such as pizza, hamburgers and fried chicken

Manufacturers modify these foods with chemicals such as flavors, colorings, emulsifiers, and other additives to make them taste better and last longer.

Processed foods often contain high amounts of salt, sugar, fat and cancer-causing chemicals. They are also generally low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A diet high in processed foods can cause obesity, a risk factor for cancer.


Preparing fresh, homemade meals and snacks from whole foods is the healthiest choice. These foods include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains

You can also choose minimally processed foods such as canned beans and frozen vegetables.

Cancer-causing chemicals in food

Cancer-causing chemicals that may be present in food include:

  • Nitrites and nitrates, which manufacturers use to preserve processed meat
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole, a preservative that may be carcinogenic to humans
  • Potassium bromate, which manufacturers use as a flour additive
  • Heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which result from smoking and roasting meat at high temperatures

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