So you don’t smoke, work with deadly chemicals at work, or stand in front of the microwave. Think you’re safe from cancer? Think again. These common foods can cause cancer, and most of use eat at least one of these items every single day.
A recent study from the University of Minnesota concluded that drinking 2 sodas a week can almost double a person’s risk of pancreatic cancer. Caramel-colored soft drinks contain 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a chemical that gives soda its dark color. 4-MI has caused around 15,000 cases of cancer in the US. Many soda companies have started working on replacements for 4-MI.
2. French Fries
They may be delicious, but French fries are slowly killing you. They contain high amounts of acrylamide, which has found to increase a person’s chance of cancer. Acrylamide is formed when sugars react with asparagine, a common amino acid which is found in potatoes. Acrylamide isn’t just in food – it can be found in many plastics, dyes, and chemicals for treating raw sewage. Here’s the bad news – if you’ve ever eaten French fries, it’s already too late for you. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who had eaten French fries in preschool were more likely to get cancer as adults.
3. Farmed Fish
Wild caught fish may be delicious and healthy for you, but stay away from farmed fish. It’s because farmed fish are fed pollutants and feces, and if the fish comes from China (like most Tilapia), the food they feed the fish is often unregulated. Farmed fish also contain dioxin, which is a proven carcinogen. Dioxin can be stored in the body’s fatty tissue for years.
Many people obsess over bacon, but it’s definitely not healthy for you. It’s loaded with saturated fat and sodium nitrate, which can cause cancer. In fact, people that regularly eat bacon have their pancreatic cancer risk rise tremendously. The best way to cut down the risk? Don’t eat sausage or bacon with breakfast.
5. Well-done steak
Steak (or any other meat) with a crispy, well-done char are rich in heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – the same proven carcinogens that are found in cigarette smoke. At University of Minnesota, they performed a study that concluded that eating crispy meat results in a 60 percent increase in the risk for pancreatic cancer. How to cut down on the risk? Skip the grill and bake the meat instead.
6. Grilled Chicken
If you think grilled chicken would be a better option than charred meat, we have an awful surprise for you. Grilled chicken contains carcinogens as well. In fact, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sued several fast food restaurants, including McDonalds and Burger King, for serving grilled chicken that tested positive for PhIP, a well-known compound that causes cancer. PhIP contains heterocyclic amines, the same carcinogenic material found in well-done steak. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but you can thank the lobbyists for that one.
When you’re at the movies, next time skip the popcorn for something healthier. Popcorn contains dactyl, which is found in the butter flavoring that is proven to cause lung cancer. If you eat more than two bags a day of popcorn for over ten years, you could develop a condition called “popcorn lung” or constrictive bronchiolitis obliterates, a disease caused by the inhalation of dactyls. That’s what happened to Wayne Watson, who developed popcorn lung and sued the popcorn manufacturers for $7 million dollars and won.
8. Beef Jerky
Without dye, your meat-colored beef jerky would probably look dull grey. Because of this, manufacturers load the jerky up with dyes like sodium nitrite, a carcinogen that gives beef jerky its appealing color. When sodium nitrite is ingested, it breaks down into nitrosamines, which can cause cancer.
If Homer Simpson wasn’t a fictional character, he probably would have gotten cancer by now. Donuts contain hydrogenated oil (which can cause cancer), refined carbohydrates and refined sugars, which can become the breeding ground for cancer. When fried at high temperatures, donuts produce acrylamide, the same cancer-causing chemicals found in French fries.
Between the bacon and the donuts, mornings can be quite deadly. But there’s more bad news – coffee amounts to the third biggest source of acrylamide in our diet (the same chemical compound found in French fries and delicious donuts). However, there is evidence to suggest that coffee produces antioxidants that can help fight cancer cells. A study from Harvard University found that women who drank more than four cups of coffee a day decreased their uterine cancer risk by 25 percent.