When a person is diagnosed with diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or kidney failure, dietitians and physicians will advise the patient on foods they should and should not be consuming. For instance, a patient with heart disease would be told to follow a low fat diet. With cancer patients, it seems they are given information on how to avoid weight-loss and nausea, but they are not always informed about foods that COULD be feeding their cancer cells. I fully believe there are certain foods out there that have carcinogenic effects and should be avoided by those who have cancer, are in remission, or have a strong family history of the disease. The following is a small list of ingredients to avoid:
Foods to Avoid:
1. Sugar. Simple sugars provide the energy tumor and cancer cells need to grow and metastasize. Basically, in both normal and cancerous cell growth, glucose (sugar) is utilized. By restricting glucose, you are slowing cancerous cell growth.
AVOID: Doughnuts, crackers, chips, cookies, and ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, sugar, sucrose, white pasta/rice/bread, and enriched bleached flour.
2. Acrylamides: These are chemicals used for industrial purposes and found in foods produced by high temperature cooking. While it is uncertain if acrylamides pose a health risk, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), acknowledge that levels of acrylamides in food pose a reason for concern.
Asparagine is an amino acid (building block of protein) found in many vegetables, with higher concentrations in potatoes. When starchy foods like french fries are exposed to high heat (>120 degrees F), asparagine can transform into acrylamides and has been shown to cause cancer in rats. While human studies are still incomplete, why take the risk?
AVOID: French fries and other fried food items.
3. Sodium nitrite (nitrates). Nitrates and nitrites are chemicals used in pesticides, rodent repellents, and as food preservatives. Food companies add these chemicals to processed meats; hot dogs, lunch meat, bacon, etc., to aid in preservation and provide that fresh, pink color. Exposure can also come from contaminated drinking water and has even been found in fruits and vegetables. During digestion, these nitrites are transformed into nitrosamines, which act as carcinogens. Nitrosamines can be found in any pickled, fried, or smoked foods, BEER, cheese, fish byproducts, and tobacco smoke. While studies are non-conclusive on whether exposure of these nitrates is cancerous to adults, increased incidence of brain tumors, leukemia, and nose/throat tumors has been found in some studies with children (www.epa.gov).
AVOID: Processed meats, hot dogs, and bacon as much as possible.
While I acknowledge that this information may sound harsh and restrictive, I still feel it is necessary for people to be aware that FOODS can cause cancer, just as much as they can prevent cancer. I honestly believe that you can live a lifestyle of “moderation” IF you are 100% healthy. However, when fighting off disease, “moderation” takes on new meaning because your body needs to defend itself 24/7.
For more information visit:
National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov