What is really in our food? In 2005, a study found that an average of 200 industrial chemicals were found in babies at the moment of birth. Pediatrician Dr. James Sears says 15 million pounds of food dyes are put in our foods every year, and that these chemicals are linked to allergies, inflammatory diseases, and behavioral problems such as ADHD and autism. And that’s only the beginning.
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have long been thought to cause cancer. In 2012, a French team claimed a bestselling brand of genetically modified corn caused tumors and organ damage in rats. The rats showed pre-cancerous cell growths and damaged immune systems in just 10 days. Other scientists disputed the claim. Still, why take any chances, especially when 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Any food modified by chemicals and grown with chemicals might have a dangerous and life-threatening chemical reaction in the human body. Here are 10 foods you never knew caused cancer.
10. Anything Labeled “Diet”
Diet foods do more harm the good. Whether it is a “diet” beverage or a box meal with a “low fat” label, there is nothing real about these foods; they are chemically enhanced with additives and processed with refined flours and sugars. Just Say No. Aspartame is the most common artificial sweetener in diet foods. According to the European Food Safety Authority, aspartame is responsible for causing a wide range of illnesses including cancer, birth defects, and heart problems. Skip the “diet” frankenfoods and go organic instead.
9. Farm Raised Salmon
If you’re buying salmon at the store or ordering it at a restaurant, make sure it is wild and not farmed raised. Farmed raised salmon are fed a concentrated, high fat mixture of ground up fish and fish oil, otherwise known as “salmon chow.” Chemical contaminants are stored in a fish’s fat, so the concentrated “salmon chow” is loaded with a dangerous cocktail of mercury, antibiotics, flame-retardants, pesticides, and other cancer-causing carcinogens. Farm raised salmon also contain 30 times the number of sea lice as wild salmon, which is an unappetizing fact. More than 60 percent of the salmon consumed in the U.S. is farm raised.
You might want to think twice about heading to Dunkin’ Donuts for a box of Munchkins. The high temperature (greater than 248 degrees Fahrenheit) used to make donuts causes the formation of acrylamide, a carcinogenic chemical that is also found in cigarettes, dyes, and plastics. “I estimate that acrylamide causes several thousand cancers per year in Americans,” said Clark University professor Dale Hattis. Sadly, potato chips and French fries are also heated to a temperature above 248 degrees Fahrenheit, making them a major cancer concern.
7. Canned Tomatoes
The linings of many canned foods contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical linked to various forms of cancer, heart disease, and intestinal damage. Canned tomatoes, however, are particularly dangerous as their high acidity causes the BPA to leech from the lining of the can into the tomatoes. The FDA approved bisphenol A in the 1960s. While the compound has been linked to cancer and other serious health issues, studies have been inconclusive. Nevertheless, a report published in 2013 by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences says that BPA alters the way genes work inside the brains of rats.
6. Processed Meat
The World Health Organization now classifies processed meat in the same category as smoking and asbestos. Is nothing sacred? The sound you hear is the collective sigh of men lamenting the fact that they should give up foot-long subs and meat lover’s pizzas. Fat chance. In October, the WHO said that eating processed meat such as sausages and ham causes cancer. The evidence is based on hundreds of studies and links processed meat specifically to colon and colorectal cancer. The WHO’s report claims that eating as little as 50 grams of processed meat a day (roughly two slices of ham) can increase the risk of cancer by 18 percent.
5. Microwave Popcorn
Americans eat nearly 54 quarts of popcorn a year. Although typically believed to be a “healthy” snack, or at least relatively healthy, once it is showered in salt and drenched in butter all nutritional value is out the window. But does eating popcorn expose us to cancer-causing chemicals?
According to some studies, microwave popcorn manufacturers coat the disposable bag with a chemical that breaks down during the microwaving process, creating a substance known as perfluorooctanoic, or PFOA. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies PFOA as a carcinogenic substance, and it has been associated with an increased risk of liver and prostate cancer. In 1993, Dr. Frank Gilliland wrote an article in the “Journal of Occupational Medicine” which claimed that workers exposed to the compound had an increased risk of cancer.
4. Dirty Fruits and Veggies
Not all fruit is created equal. In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel put together two lists, “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean 15.” The idea was to help consumers eat produce with fewer pesticides, thus reducing the risk of being exposed to cancer-causing agents. The Dirty Dozen, which includes fruit like apples, peaches, and strawberries, tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals. The President’s Cancer Panel suggests consumers buy organic when it comes to fruits on The Dirty Dozen list; in doing so, the amount of toxins they consume can be reduced by as much as 80 percent. The produce on “The Clean 15,” which includes onions, avocadoes, and pineapples, had little to no traces of pesticide.
3. Potato Chips
A study conducted by the New England Journal of Science found that eating just one potato chip a day caused an average 2-pound weight gain over a year. Then again… this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Potato chips are high in fat and calories. Besides, who eats just one potato chip a day? Potato chips are loaded with trans fats, artificial flavors, preservatives, excessive sodium levels, and a host of other things your body doesn’t need. When potato chips are fried in high temperatures to make them crispy, they produce a substance called acrylamide, a carcinogen that is also found in cigarettes. According to the World Health Organization, studies have investigated the relationship between the dietary intake of acrylamide and the risk of developing cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, kidney, breast, and ovary.
Soda is loaded with sugars and artificial sweeteners. It’s a fact that a supersized big-gulp of empty calories leads to weight gain and contributes to the national obesity epidemic. However, sugars and artificial sweeteners do more than just pack on the pounds. The artificial sweetener aspartame is a known carcinogen. According to a recent study, aspartame increases the risk of developing cancerous tumors of the brain. Soda intake has been linked to increased risk for leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Soda’s food coloring –derived from 4-methylimidazole – is also believed to be a cancer-causing agent. According to Noel T. Mueller, a research associate at the Cancer Control Program at Georgetown University, drinking as little as two soft drinks a week doubles the risk of getting pancreatic cancer.
The dangers of genetically modified organisms have been well documented. GMOs were first introduced in 1996. Since then, studies suggest that Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 9 percent to 13 percent. Autism has skyrocketed, and so has food allergies. There has been a sharp rise in autoimmune diseases, infertility, and gastrointestinal problems. Coincidence? Probably not. As of 2010, 80 percent of corn and 90 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. were grown from modified seeds. Moreover, the bovine growth hormone in milk has been linked to cancer. In other words, food isn’t meant to be mass-produced with biotechnology. When you eat GMOs, you eat at your own risk.