10 Cancer Causing Foods in Your Diet

How much have you researched about cancer causing foods? Did you know the American Cancer Society now reports the chances of getting cancer are now 1 in 2 for men, and 1 in 3 for women? Those staggering numbers indicate a growing epidemic in the U.S., but it isn’t time to throw in the towel. In their annual cancer progress report, The American Association for Cancer Research stated that:

“it is estimated that more than 50 percent of the 585,720 cancer deaths expected to occur in the United States in 2014 will be related to preventable causes.”

With over half of cancers being avoidable, it seems that we need to take a closer look at what we are subjecting out bodies to that might be at the root of the cancer epidemic. We’ve already discussed how to reduce your breast cancer risk by doing an armpit cleanse, but one of the greatest exposures to cancer is in what we eat. Cancer causing foods are likely in your everyday diet and you didn’t even realize it. We recommend you look into sites like Thrive Market to purchase healthy food 30-50% below retail and learn more about what to avoid. Below you’ll see 10 cancer causing foods to avoid along with an helpful info graphic:

1. Hydrogenated Oils

Hydrogenated oils, like vegetable oil, contain trans fats.  The Mayo Clinic says it’s considered to be the worst type of fat there is. It’s known to cause cancer, heart disease, and immune system problems  says Dr. David Brownstein of News Mac Health. In fact, there is no safe amount of trans fats in your diet, so avoiding this cancer causing food altogether would be advised. Even the FDA has made a preliminary determination to say trans fats are not generally regarded as safe, like previously thought. You can avoid hydrogenated oil but instead choosing  coconut, palm, or olive oil. Organic butter is a better option as well.

2. French Fries/Potato Chips

We know that these foods aren’t good for us, but did you realize that they’re considered cancer causing foods? These fast food staples are fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil and then heavily salted. We’ve already discussed the dangers of hydrogenated oils, but the high salt content is also concerning. It increases the risk of high blood pressure as well as other health problems. In addition, foods heated above a certain temperature have high levels of acrylamide. According to the National Cancer Institute, acrylamide is found in cigarette smoke and industrial building materials, as well some foods. Both french fries and potato chips were found to have higher levels of this chemical, which studies have shown increase the risk of cancer. Potatoes are also part of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen”, meaning they have some of the heaviest pesticide residue of all the fruits and vegetables.

Is microwave popcorn putting you at risk for cancer? Cancer causing foods

3. Microwave Popcorn

There is more than just kernels in most microwave popcorn. It contains PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) which is a likely carcinogen. Dr. Andrew Weil sets the record straight about microwave popcorn, explaining artificial butter contains another dangerous chemical that can damage the lungs when inhaled. In fact, a couple of years ago a Colorado court awarded a man a $7.2 million settlement for “popcorn lung”, which is a lung condition caused by inhaling too much microwave popcorn. To reduce your risk of exposure to these chemicals, air pop your popcorn and add your own flavoring instead.

4. Processed Meats

Bacon, lunch meat, hot dogs, sausages, and other processed meats have been shown to be cancer causing foods, increasing the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67%, a study by the University of Hawaii concluded. More shocking statistics shared by the Organic Consumer’s Association reveal hot dogs commonly contain sodium nitrite, a cancer causing ingredient the USDA has been trying to ban since the 1970s. Leukemia risks soared a staggering 700% with hot dog consumption. Look for meats free of nitrites to help reduce your risk with these cancer causing foods.

5. Red Meat

A brand new study confirms the belief that red meat increases cancer risks. In an article from the San Diego Union Tribune detailing the study, a sugar molecule, called Neu5Gc, becomes part of your own cells when it’s consumed. Your body then attacks it, resulting in inflammation and a higher cancer risk. Medscape reveals previous studies also show an increase in breast cancer among women who consumed more red meat. You don’t need to cut out red meat entirely. In fact, CNCA Health says just opt for grass fed organic beef, which contains conjugated linoleic acis that can actually fight against certain cancers.  Also, keep red meat consumption to a minimum to further decrease your risk.

6. Farmed Salmon

If you are avoiding processed meats and red meat, you might find yourself eating more salmon. Well, avoid the farmed version of this fish because a study at the University at Albany found it is often full of cancer causing contaminants such as pesticides, antibiotics, PCBs, and even flame retardants, making it, in our opinion, one of the cancer causing foods. Opt for the wild version instead to get the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids that salmon provides, without contaminants.

7. Refined Sugar/Soda

Refined sugar is a danger because not only is it typically GMO because it’s genetically modified sugar beets, but it rapidly spikes insulin levels. CNCA health warns this in turn, feeds cancer cells. Fructose, the type of sugar found in soda, is a serious cancer culprit as well. It contains caramel color, a known carcinogen. Soda acidifies the body, which in turn causes cancer cells to multiply. Skip the sodas altogether limited your intake of refined sugars.

Diet Scale Cancer causing foods

8. “Diet” Foods

If you see buzz words like “diet”, “low-fat”, “fat-free”, or “sugar-free” then those missing items are likely to be replaced with chemicals. Diet foods are loaded with artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and flavors, and more. One artificial sweetener, Saccharin, was determined to cause cancer in lab rats, as the National Cancer Institute points out. As for food dyes and coloring, “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens. Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply.” Choosing the regular version of these foods in moderation is a better option than the diet counterparts, and will help you avoid cancer causing foods.

9. Refined White Flour

Bleached food doesn’t sound like a good thing, because it isn’t. Traces of the chemicals remain in the food. Also, highly processed flours also have a high carbohydrate content which upset the blood sugar balance inside our body and leads to a higher production of insulin and thus feeds cancer cells. Avoid carbohydrates that are highly processed such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, soda & concentrated fruit juices to avoid this reaction in your body.

10. GMOs/Glyphosate

With no testing done by the FDA to ensure safety, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) have made their way into the majority of our foods. These GMO foods have been modified to withstand heavy doses of a pesticide called glyphosate OR are engineered to contain a toxin that kills bugs. Not enough independent studies have been done to prove safety or danger, but independent testing has shown to cause rapid tumor growth in lab rats. Currently GMOs do not have to be disclosed on food labels in the US. In addition, Glyphosate, which is the most common pesticide sprayed on GM crops and an additional 200 crops, has been linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, birth defects, intestinal discomfort, among other things. The only way to avoid GMOs and pesticides is to choose foods that are certified organic.

10 Cancer Causing Foods You're Probably Eating




















Disclosure: Mamavation has an affiliate relationship with Thrive Market. By clicking on links to Thrive Market you help support our investigations. Thank you!


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Elizabeth Bruno
Elizabeth Bruno is a working mom, Mamavation Bootcamp 18 graduate, and blogger at Pirate Prerogative. On her blog she writes about life, parenting observations, and her journey to a live a healthy life. She is a newly professed runner and has dropped nearly 70 pounds by changing her diet and incorporating regular exercise. Although she doesn’t like labels, she is often considered “crunchy” with her electric car, vegetarian diet, penchant for impromptu dancing, and commitment to being green.
Elizabeth Bruno
2017-02-28T11:14:30-05:00 January 14th, 2015|Featured, Health|15 Comments


  1. Summit lender November 28, 2017 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Your article is great tips to get symptoms and cause of cancer, it Will help people to avoid all those thing that cause people get cancer

  2. […] de que os alimentos que são aquecidos em altas temperaturas liberam altos níveis de acrilamida (15, […]

  3. Carlin September 30, 2017 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Awesome list. I’ve given up processed foods – anything in boxes that’s not pasta – even then, I read all the labels and make sure that my food is real, has very few ingredients, and has products in it that I recognize. The food industry isn’t out there to make good food, they only care about profit – otherwise they wouldn’t include things like maltodextrin (which didn’t make the list as an item, but is a big part of the make up of triangle shaped chips – not naming the brand, but everyone loves their nacho cheesieness!).

  4. Omotayo Folake April 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for reducing the world death rate through your researche

  5. Cheyanne cancer survivor April 11, 2017 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    you are so wrong people in 100 years will probably have a cure for cancer so shut your little mouth because you only live once

  6. Steve March 29, 2017 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    I’ll bet than in 100 years, absolutely no one will care! Don’t take life too serious, your not getting out of it alive….lol

    • Tyler Ess July 4, 2017 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Um ok, sounds like u want to die, how you don’t care.

  7. Jonathan March 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Saccharine causing cancer in rats is not related to causing cancer in humans.
    Upon clicking on the reference link that you yourself provided, the National Cancer Institute states:

    “Subsequent studies in rats showed an increased incidence of urinary bladder cancer at high doses of saccharin, especially in male rats. However, mechanistic studies (studies that examine how a substance works in the body) have shown that these results apply only to rats. Human epidemiology studies (studies of patterns, causes, and control of diseases in groups of people) have shown no consistent evidence that saccharin is associated with bladder cancer incidence.”

    “Because the bladder tumors seen in rats are due to a mechanism not relevant to humans and because there is no clear evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans, saccharin was delisted in 2000 from the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens, where it had been listed since 1981 as a substance reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen (a substance known to cause cancer).”

    – – Please do better research to provide better quality posts on your web site.

  8. Nancy January 19, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    You should double check your reference to hydrogenated oils. These are different than PARTIALLY hydrogenated oils. It’s the latter, not the former, that are trans fats.

  9. [email protected] January 18, 2015 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this. I am an Brca2 high risk cancer. I am currently rethinking how I eat. This helps!

    • Ashley January 21, 2015 at 8:39 am - Reply

      You should look into ketogenic diet. There are hospitals and doctors that have cured people of many things with it. Our food system is a joke and what people wish to chose to say causes cancer is a joke. Everything is a controversy, however, there are many studies trying to prove a ketogenic to not be healthy and they always fail to prove its harm. The processed food is to blame unfortunately more and more is being processed and it’s hard to find food that isn’t! Boy it’s becoming more and more apparent that people can share incorrect, uneducated, information as much as they want. People should not believe everything they read! Especially just from one source and one article! Low fat diets and processed food is what’s killing people.

  10. Steve January 15, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    ” The only way to avoid GMOs and pesticides is to choose foods that are certified organic.” Please stop passing on this myth. The organic certification process was set up by big agri-business and is really only practical for large corporate farms. A great source of naturally grown, non-GMO food is a local farmer. Get to know the farmer and ask about growing practices. Visit the farm and see for yourself. And when you find a farm like this, support it. Buy from the farm and encourage your friends to do so. Besides being every bit as healthy as “organic” food, it’s probably fresher and therefore better for you. Just because something’s labelled “organic” doesn’t mean it’s fresh, or that it didn’t ripen on a truck, train or boat, thereby losing a large percentage of its nutritional value and taste.

    • Leah Segedie January 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      There are plenty of small farmers that use persistent pesticides on their crops. We avoid synthetic pesticides so we encourage people to go organic.

    • Jake Ronson January 19, 2015 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      Steve. Its unfortunate you are misinformed about the differences in organic and non-organic produce and the farms which grow them. Yes, there are some large organic farms just as there are large conventional farms (although the largest organic farms are no where near the size the of the largest conventional farms). However, most organic farms are small family run farms growing just a few different types fruits and vegetables.

      If you are into having your vegetables and fruits sprayed with all sorts of toxic and cancerous synthetic pesticides such as methyl bromide, phenoxy, and benzoic acid herbicides then you are putting yourself and your family at risk. These pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, and birth defects.

      Organic food is a must not only for our health but for the preservation of this planet.

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