Cancer-causing elements in food

Home Cancer Cancer-causing elements in food

Every day we are consuming food. But many of us may not have an idea that the consumed foods play an important role in the occurrence of cancer. Research findings have found some harmful substances present in certain types of food that have carcinogenic properties that can cause cancer. Researchers have found a link between poor dietary consumption and the recurrence of breast cancer.

Bad diet, high caloric foods like sugar and saturated fat intake, non-healthy food intake have linked with obesity, increase adipose tissue inflammation, which can promote cancer development and progression. Many researchers reported that an increase in red meat consumption also increases the cancer risk. A wrong cooking process like meat cooking at high temperature produces some mutagens. The high-temperature cooking process degenerates proteins, degraded vitamins, alter carbohydrate solubility, and stimulates fatty acid oxidation. These changes cause a favorable condition for cancer growth.


Following are certain food components that can promote cancer growth:

  • Aflatoxins are certain fungus derived toxic metabolites. But aflatoxins are present in foods as a mixture of certain chemical entities. Aspergillus flavus fungus often infects peanuts, and other nuts and grains and releases aflatoxins.
  • Both fermented and distilled alcoholic beverages can cause different types of cancers like mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, breast, and liver cancers in humans. The risk of cancer is increased with increasing intake of alcoholic beverages. The cancer risk is increased double or more among tobacco users.
  • In different Asian countries, salted fish is prepared by using a typical method that often produces carcinogens as a by-product. Research studies had found that Chinese-style salted fish had a link with an increased risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Limited evidence also reported that the produced carcinogen had a link with oesophageal and stomach cancer.
  • Acetaldehyde is a naturally produced by-product of many numerous foods. Acetaldehyde containing foods can cause upper respiratory tract cancer. Ethanol may convert to acetaldehyde. Oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal cancers are more common in heavy drinkers.
  • Some alcoholic beverages, smoked foods, preserved meats, and some pharmaceutical products, and tobacco smoke contain nitrosamines. Animal research studies found certain nitrosamines cause tumor formation in the liver, bile duct, lung, nasal cavity, and kidney.
  • The herbal infusion of the plant Maté has a connection with cancer growth in the mouth, oropharynx, esophagus, head, and neck. Therefore, consumption of this herbal infusion can induce cancer.
  • dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is a very common pesticide and is often used in agriculture. People are exposed to DDT by intaking fruits and vegetables.
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMO) like modified fruits and vegetables play role in cancer progression. GMO causes hyperplasia in the digestive system by interfering with RNA synthesis and impairs the immune system and reproductive genes.


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