We know of some of the more obvious sources of cancer causing carcinogens (like cigarettes), but the truth is that they can be found in a lot of very popular food items as well. And no food label is going to mention that. Here are some of the more common offenders.
This one is a bit of a bummer since popcorn is so low calorie and delicious, but microwave popcorn isn’t the safest way to eat it. The bags they use to cook the popcorn in actually contain a carcinogenic chemical that has been shown to increase the risks of certain cancers and also cause infertility in women. To keep enjoying movie nights without giving up popcorn, just switch to using an air popper. Problem solved.
Processed meats like hot dogs, lunch meat, and bacon are all cured with tons of salt so they don’t go bad but also with other chemicals that are not good for you. The sodium nitrates that are used in them can turn into a carcinogen in the body, and long term studies have linked higher death rates with people who consume a lot of them. Meats that are smoked carry an even higher risk, since the smoking process leads to a depositing of tar into the food. (This goes for other smoked things like nuts as well.) Try to eat lean cuts of meats that haven’t been processed and you’ll cut out a lot of unnecessary stuff.
There are a lot of health reasons why eating potato chips frequently isn’t a great idea, (trans fats, salt, empty calories), but there’s also something dangerous that happens during the cooking process. When potatoes are fried at high heat they produce a byproduct called acrylamide which is a carcinogen found in cigarettes. Instead of taking potato chips to the next party you go to, swap them out for some sort of chip that’s been baked or a tortilla chip.
Highly processed flour is basically stripped of all it’s healthy whole grain elements, and in the process it can be bleached to get it totally white. That bleaching process is done with chlorine gas which isn’t great for you, but that isn’t the only thing that poses a health risk. Processed flour is basically treated like sugar in the body, and sugar in the bloodstream is exactly what cancerous tumors like to feed off of. So in the circumstance that there is a mutated cell in the body, any kind of sugar would only egg it on. Instead of eating foods like white bread and pastries, stick with whole grain bread products that actually list whole grains as the first ingredient.
As noted above, cancer likes sugar, and it particularly seems to thrive off of the high fructose corn syrup that is found in refined sugars. High fructose corn syrup is metabolized extremely quickly, which is what makes it appealing to a tumor that is trying to grow. Eating refined sugar also increases inflammation in the body which makes it more difficult for the body to fight off anything that might be trying to attack. Avoid processed sweets as much as possible and get your sugars from only natural sources. Watch out for hidden sources of sugar in foods like cereal and in sauces and condiments like ketchup.
Don’t think that you can swap out artificial sugar for real sugar and get away unscathed either. The artificial sweetener aspartame has been shown to break down into a toxin in the body called DKP, which gets broken down into cancer causing chemicals. Plus, artificial sugar can throw off your cravings by tricking the body into thinking that it’s actually eating sugar, and thereby lead it into wanting more. Some studies have shown that people who regularly consume artificial sweeteners can actually gain weight from the habit.