What you eat can give you cancer

Dr Tendai  Zuze

IT is estimated that up to half the total of cancer deaths are related to preventable causes. One of the greatest exposures to cancer is the food we eat and you may have been eating cancer causing foods all this time without even knowing it. Below are some of the common food items which may increase your chance of getting one type of cancer or another.

Fizzy drinks: Fizzys contain artificial colourings and food chemicals which can cause cancer. Fizzy drinks are also loaded with sugar and cause weight gain and obesity. Drinking large amounts of this rapidly digested sugar causes your blood sugar to spike which can lead to insulin resistance. Fizzys are often the root cause of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, which is when the contents of the stomach leak into the oesophagus causing not only pain but an actual burning of the oesophagus from stomach acid


Processed meats:
These include sausages, hot dogs, bacon and lunch meats like polony and ham. The excessive salts and chemicals that are used when making processed meats are damaging to your health. All these processed meats contain numerous chemicals and preservatives, including sodium nitrates, which make them look appealing and fresh but are well known cancer causers. Smoked meats seem to be particularly bad as the meat picks up tar from the smoking process. Tar is the same deadly ingredient that cigarette smoke contains.

Potato chips: While potato chips are cheap, great tasting and a quick snack, the negative effects they have on your body may not be worth the little bit of pleasure you derive from them. Potato chips are high in both fat and calories, which are sure to bring on weight gain.  Besides being full of trans-fats which can cause high cholesterol in most people, they have excessive sodium levels which, for many people, cause high blood pressure.

Potato chips have artificial flavours, numerous preservatives, and colours as well, which is something else your body doesn’t need. Potato chips are fried in high temperatures to make them crispy but this also causes them to make a material called acrylamide, a known cause of cancer that is also found in cigarettes.

Salted, pickled and smoked foods: Smoking foods such as meat or nuts causes these food items to absorb considerable amounts of the tar that smoke produces. Tar is a known cancer causer. Meats such as bacon, sausage, polony and salami are high in fat and salt. Pickled foods are also very high in salts. There is overwhelming evidence that eating these types of foods greatly increases the risk of colorectal cancer and higher rates of stomach cancer

Highly processed white flours: You might know by now that white flour is not a good thing, but you most likely have no idea just how bad it really is for your health. Refining grains destroys their natural nutrients. White flour lurks in many processed foods. White processed flour has a very high glycaemic rate which quickly raises the blood sugar level and insulin levels, which can be a direct cause of diabetes, not to mention it is believed that it spreads cancer cells by feeding the cells directly.

Artificial sweeteners: Most people use artificial sweeteners to either lose weight or because they are diabetic and must avoid sugar. There is some evidence that the chemicals that make up these sweeteners, especially aspartame, break down in the body into a deadly toxin called DKP. When your stomach processes this chemical, it in turn produces chemicals that can cause cancer, especially brain tumours.

Alcohol: Alcohol use is the second leading cause of cancer, right behind tobacco use. While a moderate or low consumption of alcohol can be healthy and lead to a reduced risk of heart disease, excessive drinking is known to cause heart failure, stroke, and sudden death. Studies have found sufficient evidence to state that excessive alcohol use is one of the main causes of mouth, oesophagus, liver, and colon cancers.

Red meat: Evidence shows that red meat is actually a good thing in your diet, in small, infrequent amounts that is.

A research study has shown that eating a lot of red meat increased the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Red meat seems particularly dangerous when talking about colon cancer. On the other hand, the long term consumption of fish and poultry appeared to be protective in nature.

There is, however, still a lot of controversy around most of these foodstuffs and whatever you are going to eat moderation is the key. For cancer screening, please visit your doctor.