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8 Foods and Drinks That Can Put You at Risk of Getting Cancer

While it seems like everything can give you cancer, avoiding these foods and drinks is a good way to lessen the odds
beer popcorn how much yum

Thinkstock

8 Foods and Drinks That Can Put You at Risk of Getting Cancer

beer popcorn and yum

Thinkstock

If you feel like the odds of getting cancer are higher than those of avoiding it, you’re not alone. Headlines thrive on words and phrases like “carcinogenic,” “cancer-causing,” and “prevents cancer,” and it’s because the affliction is (and has been) taking our country by storm. In America, it’s expected that roughly 1,685,210 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2016 alone.

offee can prevent cancercheese may prevent cancer, and we have lists filled with foods that can lower your risk of getting cancer. What we’re lacking, however, is a broader guide on foods that can contribute to the acquisition of this too-often-deadly disease.

Thus, we’ve gone ahead and pieced together all of the eye-catching cancer-related headlines that we’ve published over the past few months in order to provide you with a comprehensive list of the foods to avoid if you want to lower your risk of getting cancer. Will there ever be a flawless, completely comprehensive list of things to avoid if you don’t want cancer? Probably not, because the disease is rather complicated and varies so much from case to case, but we know your body will benefit by approaching the following foods with informed, education caution. 

Beer, Wine, Liquor, and Every Other Type of Alcohol

Beer, Wine, Liquor, and Every Other Type of Alcohol

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In addition to esophageal, head, neck, liver, and colorectal cancer, drinking excess quantities of alcohol can increase your chance of getting breast cancer. During bottling and fermentation, there’s a likelihood that carcinogenic ingredients can be introduced to your alcoholic beverage of choice. Additionally, the way in which we break down alcohol produces acetaldehyde, a chemical that can damage DNA and proteins. Further, while excess drinking is clearly bad, a recent study in the British Medical Journal showed that even light drinking could pose a significant cancer risk, especially of breast cancer.

Canned Foods

Canned Foods

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There’s no denying that fresh foods (specifically, the ones we typically put in cans) can be incredibly tasty and healthy. With headlines like “Testing Shows BPA, Linked to Cancers and Neurological Damage, in Nearly 70 Percent of Canned Food Packaging in the US,” though, you may want to consider dishing out a few extra dollars for those fresh, organic foods instead of their canned counterparts.

Farmed Fish

Farmed Fish

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If you ever needed a reason to choose wild-caught fish instead of farm-raised ones, consider what we learned when we asked doctors to discuss a wide array of health complications that can stem from consuming farmed fish. Beyond the many metals, antibiotics, pesticides, pollutants, and other chemicals farmed fish may be exposed to, the filets themselves are often bland and undesirable. Not all farmed fish is risky, by any means, but when you factor in the fact that seven out of 10 farmed salmon purchased at grocery stores in Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon, contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), it’s easy to see why you might want to think twice about where your seafood is coming from.

Hydrogenated Oils

Hydrogenated Oils

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Trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, have no nutritional value. While saturated fats (most commonly found in animal fat and cheese) and trans fats both increase levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol), trans fats actually decrease the level of HDL (“good” cholesterol) in the bloodstream at the same time, increasing the risk of heart disease and multiple other health complications. Why? Hydrogenated oils have a very similar consistency to plastic and, like plastic, they can line cell walls, preventing nutrients from being absorbed and keeping undesirable pathogens, waste materials, and harmful microbes from leaving. The result? Mutated cells that can lead to dangerous tumors and cancer.

Microwave Popcorn

Microwave Popcorn

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Next time you plan to have a movie night in, skip the microwavable kind and make your own popcorn on the stove using heart-healthy olive oil, popcorn kernels, a little salt, and pepper. Microwavable popcorn bags are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid, a chemical that is linked to female infertility and known to increase the risk of kidney, liver, pancreatic, bladder, and testicular cancers.

Processed Meats

Processed Meats

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Ever since processed meats joined smoking and asbestos as top causes of cancer, it seems like more and more people have started dabbling in the world of veganism. The World Health Organization issued a statement in 2015 that placed hot dogs, sausages, and other processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic, and tobacco. We’d hate to equate any food’s healthiness to that of a cigarette, but the safety of such processed, smoked, salted, cured, and fermented meats should certainly be on your health radar.

Soda (Diet and Regular)

Soda (Diet and Regular)

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Although it clocks in at zero calories, diet soda is still terrible for you. It’s filled with artificial sweeteners, high levels of sodium, and artificial colors. Drinking diet soda consistently could put you at risk for stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes. All of these health problems could further increase your risk for cancer. Even regular soda isn’t safe, as scientists have found that the real sugar in sodas may increase your chances of getting breast cancer.

White (All-Purpose) Flour

White (All-Purpose) Flour

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If you grew up with white bread, now may be the time to switch to whole wheat. Highly processed white flour is bleached during the milling process, giving it a very high glycemic index. Foods that are high on the glycemic index are known to raise blood sugar and insulin levels, which can cause health problems that may lead to cancer. Recently, bread, bagels, and other carbs with white flour have been linked to lung cancer.

More from The Daily Meal:

Stop Believing These 10 Foods Cause Cancer

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Instant Pot for Beginners: 20 Essential Recipes