by Mike Adams, et al
Ever wonder which foods should be strongly avoided by those at high risk for cancer? We can begin identifying foods once we know which ingredients in our food are not healthy. Some of those ingredients are food additives and chemicals used to enhance taste, while others are used strictly for appearance or to increase product shelf life. The key to avoiding cancer-causing foods is knowing which ingredients are carcinogens — or cancer promoters — and then reading food labels to permanently avoid consuming those ingredients.
Cancer tumors rely on sugar in the bloodstream. Although everything technically gets broken down into sugar, if you eat lots of sugary snacks loaded with simple carbs, you’re loading your bloodstream with the chemical energy and creating imbalances in your insulin levels that causes damage to the body. No biological system can live without fuel for its chemical processes, including cancer cells. Thus, one of the strategies to pursue for any healthy/anti-cancer diet is to eat a low-glycemic diet. That means no refined sugars… ever! No refined grains (white flour, for example), no heavy use of sweeteners and the lifetime avoidance of sugary soda pop. Eating foods low in sugar and avoiding simple carbs will also keep your weight in check while helping prevent blood sugar disorders such as type-2 diabetes.
What to avoid on the labels: high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, sucrose, enriched bleached flour, white rice, white pastas, white breads and other “white” foods.
The dangers of hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils — another danger — are developed from otherwise harmless, natural elements. To make them hydrogenated, oils are heated in the presence of hydrogen and metal catalysts. This process helps prolong shelf life but simultaneously creates trans fats, which only have to be disclosed on the label if the food contains more than 0.5 grams per serving. To avoid listing trans fats, or to claim “trans fat free” on their label, food manufacturers simply adjust the serving size until the trans fat content falls under 0.5 grams per serving. This is how you get modern food labels with serving sizes that essentially equate to a single bite of food. Not exactly a “serving” of food, is it? Read and know your labels!
Besides being a cancer factor, trans fats promote heart disease, interrupt metabolic processes, and cause belly fat that crowd the organs and strain the cardiovascular system. The essential fatty acids that the hydrogenation process removes are responsible for a number of processes in your body. When trans fats replace these essential fatty acids, they occupy the same space without doing the same job. The “anchor” portion of the fatty acid is in place (which is how the body recognizes the fatty acid and puts it to work) but the chemically active part of the fatty acid is twisted, distorted, and missing vital parts.
After the hydrogenation process, the fatty acid can’t biochemically function in the same way. Things like brain cell function, hormones, gland function, oxygen transport, cell wall function (keeping things in or out of your cells) and digestive tract operation (putting together nutrients and blocking allergens) are adversely affected.
Food manufacturers don’t tell you this on the product label, of course. Your body needs essential fatty acids. Combine these factors of high blood sugar, low oxygen levels, excessive fat, low exercise and continuous diet of trans fat foods, simple sugars, and lack of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and necessary enzymes – and what you get is the ideal environment for the development of degenerative disease and cancer.
The acrylamide factor
Since trans fats can be formed during the frying process, we should also talk about acrylamides. Acrylamides are not added into food; they are created during the frying process. When starchy foods are subjected to high heat, acrylamides form. A Swedish study found that acrylamides can cause cancer in rats, and more studies are underway to confirm the understanding that acrylamides also cause cancer in humans. (Editor’s Note: The point is, when you cook foods, especially fried foods, use quality oils and just the right amount of heat. This is something we can control at home, but for restaurants costs are an important factor and therefore you may not be getting the most healthy oils and food preparation. Don’t rely on most of them to look out for your health primarily.)
Sodium nitrite (and nitrates)
Food companies add sodium nitrite into various foods. This carcinogen is added to processed meats, hot dogs, bacon, and any other meat that needs a reddish color to look “fresh.” Decades ago when meats were preserved, it was done with salt. But in the mid 20th century, food manufacturers started using sodium nitrite in commercial preservation. This chemical is responsible for the pinkish color in meat to which consumers have grown accustomed. Although today the use of refrigeration is largely what protects consumers from botulism and bacteria, manufacturers still add sodium nitrite to make the meat look pinkish and fresh.
The nitrites themselves are not the problem. People get more nitrites from vegetables than they do from meat, according to research by the University of Minnesota. During the digestion process, however, sodium nitrite is converted to nitrosamine, and that’s where the concern is. Nitrosamine is a carcinogen, but since it is not technically an ingredient, its presence can be easily overlooked on the packaging. Nitrosamines are also found in food items that are pickled, fried, or smoked, and in things such as beer, cheese, fish by-products, and tobacco smoke. (Editor’s note: While these substances are cancer causing, and you should avoid them as much as possible, they are commonly found in many things. The effects can be combated with antioxidants, hence the reason for eating the fruits and vegetables, as well as utilizing all the currently available options for supplementation. For more information about nitrosamine and cancer, visit http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/f-w00/nitrosamine.html.)
Knowing about these ingredients doesn’t mean there is simply a “short list” of foods that should be avoided. You have to be vigilant and read labels constantly. Here are the five worst offenders:
Hot dogs: The Cancer Prevention Coalition recommends that children should not eat more than 12 hot dogs per month because of the risk of cancer. If you must have your hot dog fix, look for those without sodium nitrite listed among the ingredients.
Processed meats and bacon: These meats almost always contain the same sodium nitrite found in hot dogs. You can find some without nitrites, but you’ll have to look for them in natural grocers or health food stores. Bacon is also high in saturated fat so keep this in check. Limiting your consumption of processed meats and saturated fats also benefits the heart.
Doughnuts: Doughnuts contain hydrogenated oils, white flour, sugar, and acrylamides. Essentially, they’re one of the worst cancer foods you can possibly eat. Reader’s Digest calls doughnuts “disastrous” as a breakfast food, and many experts agree it’s probably one of the worst ways to start the day.
Fast Food French fries/Fried Foods: Fries are made with hydrogenated oil and fried at high temperatures. Some chains even add sugar to their fry recipe to make them even more irresistible. Not only do they clog your arteries with saturated fat and trans fat, they also contain acrylamides.
Chips/Crackers/Cookies: These generally contain white flour and sugar as well as trans fats, but it’s not enough to simply look for these ingredients on the label; you have to actually “decode” the ingredients list that food manufacturers use to deceive consumers. They do this by hiding ingredients (such as hiding MSG in yeast extract, or by fiddling with serving sizes so they can claim the food is trans fat free, even when it contains trans fats (the new Girl Scout cookies use this trick).
Besides avoiding these foods, what else can consumers do to reduce their risk of cancer? The main things are simple: eat unprocessed foods and base your diet largely on plants – fruits and vegetables (many common ones have known cancer-fighting properties), and nuts and berries. Consume foods that have omega-3 fats and other essential fatty acids. Get regular vigorous exercise, since tumors cannot thrive in highly-oxygenated environments. Keep your blood sugar stable to avoid being an all-you-can-eat buffet for cancer cells.
Also, include in your diet foods high in natural vitamin C, a nutrient that deters the conversion of nitrite into nitrosamine and promotes healthy immune function. Make sure you get adequate amounts of cancer-fighting vitamin D through exposure to sunlight — about 10 to 15 minutes each day if you have fair skin, or ten times as long if you have dark skin pigmentation. Stay well hydrated to ensure that your body rids itself of toxins. Avoid smoking and don’t use conventional fragrance, cosmetics and personal care products — virtually all of them contain chemicals, some which are known carcinogens (but at varying levels, so it is best to use natural non-synthetic ones).
Protecting yourself and being healthy and deterring cancer as much as possible is actually quite straightforward. Even the World Health Organization says that 70 percent of all cancers can be prevented with simple changes in diet and lifestyle. The truth is that most people give themselves cancer through the foods, drinks and products they choose to consume. In our opinion, most cancers are easily preventable.
By the way, don’t you find it interesting that the cancer industry seems to have no interest whatsoever in urging people to avoid eating things like sodium nitrite, or to stop using skin care products, or to get more sunlight on their skin so they can generate vitamin D? It is our belief that most in the medical industry in general have shown no significant interest in preventing cancer (though some within the community very much have), and is primarily interested in creating new drugs and focusing on treatments and procedures. Why not focus on health and spend money researching ways to stay and be healthy? Remove all known chemicals out of our food and water supply, and demand that the food and cosmetic industries disclose every ingredient and where they get each of them from and what they know about each. Many of these things by themselves are not like having mercury or lead in your blood, but you combine them all together and you have a recipe for disaster – the cancer rates and degenerative diseases our society is experiencing are living breathing and dying proof.