Food Choices That Can Increase The Risk Of Cancer

Certain food items can cause a risk of cancer. Know which food products to avoid.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Jun 14, 2021Updated at: Jun 14, 2021
Food Choices That Can Increase The Risk Of Cancer

Cases of cancer have significantly increased over last decade. Although new technology is decreasing the amount of severity and deaths but still it has show rise in the graph of patients falling for this disease. A major factor which increases the risk of getting cancer is the type of food we eat. Adulterated food products are harmful for our health and majority of food choices have not remained as healthy as it was earlier. Apart from that certain food choices can also be factor in increasing the risk of getting cancer. Let us know what foods we should avoid or regulate to decrease its risk.

How Does Food Increase Risk of Cancer?

To answer this, we have Cardiologist Dr. Sunil Kumar from South Asia Hospital, Kochi. He says that choice of food can influence health of a person. In certain cases, some bad choices also increase the risk of cancer. Food of certain kinds can in some condition aid cancer cells present in the body which increases the risk of severity of the patient. In earlier stages, cancer can be taken as some other infection which over time can become a major problem. Therefore is always better to regulate food choices. However it does not mean that a person needs to totally stop consuming a particular food, rather lower down the intake and regularise your diet.


Food Products Linked to Cancer Risk

Red and Processed Meat

Processed meat has strong link with increasing risk of cancer. World Health Organisation also classifies processed meat as carcinogenic. Even though it is not sure but still precaution is always better than risking your health. According to WHO, a person should not intake more than 60 grams of processed meat per day and in case of red meat it can go up to 150 grams per day. Processed and red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 20%.  It can also increase stomach cancer and breast cancer. This can also cause cellular damage to the cells which in turn can initiate cancerous cells.

Red meat products can are processed and should be regulated are-

  • •Hot dogs
  • •Salami
  • •Sausage
  • •Ham
  • •Corned beef
  • •Beef jerky

Ultra-Processed Food

These are those types of food products that are made by industrial processing. Most of these are present as sweeteners, protein isolates, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and thickeners. It can be very dangerous for your health as it increases the chances of having cancer by 12% and has shown 11% increase in developing breast cancer. Health experts suggest that ultra-processed foods should be strictly avoided from the diet. 


They are rich in saturated fats and low in protective nutrients which make them potentially carcinogenic compounds. Many food additives are contaminated by chemicals and artificial colours which are all a part of Ultra-processed food items.

High Salt Diets

A diet that is very high in added salt can increase the risk of cancer. According to a study of WHO eating high- salt food may lead to production of N-nitroso compounds that are responsible for cancer. In most cases added salt in diet increases the risk of stomach cancer. A diet with added salt also increases the risk of oesophageal cancer. Not just cancer but high salt diet can also cause infection caused by helicobacter pylori bacteria which is also a risk factor for stomach cancer.

Also Read- 7 Foods That Can Reverse Prediabetes

Hot Beverages

Drinking extremely hot beverages can also increase the risk of cancer. IARC has classified beverages with more than 149oF that is 65oC to be dangerous for health. Drinking hot beverages significantly increase the risk of oesophageal cancer which can become very harmful for health. People usually drink hot coffee and related drinks as get inhabited by them. But this is not a good practise. Those who consume such hot beverages at extremely hot temperatures twice in a day are at risk of developing oesophageal cancer.


Overcooked Food

Overcooking food items can produce carcinogens which increases the risk of cancer in the body. There are some food items including meat that we overcook intentionally to give it a smoky flavour. Other food items include starchy foods like potatoes that increase acryl amide formation. But that is not healthy for our body and in some cases can increase the risk of cancer. It alters the DNA in the cells which result in different types of cancer.

Also Read- Eat And Avoid These Foods Before Donating Blood

Cooking methods which are a cause of overcooking are-

  • •Grilling
  • •Barbecuing
  • •Pan-frying


Food choices are very important while taking care of your diet. Some certain food items can also increase the risk of having cancers. Most of the food items among these are very normal for us to eat but we need to regularise it. Processed meat, Ultra-processed food items like artificial sugar and overcooked food should be avoided or regulated strictly. Hot beverages shouldn’t be had in extremely hot as they can also increase the risk of oesophageal cancer. Overcooked food and added salt in diet should be controlled and avoided. All of these can increase the risk of having different types of cancer mainly stomach, breast and oesophageal cancer. Maintain a balanced diet and lower down the consumption of such food products to remain healthy.

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