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Effects of Processed Meats on Cancer Risk

A lot of knowledge about cancer is available on the internet, but people still are looking for answers on which foods can help reduce their risk. Some research projects have confirmed some foods that may reduce your risk for cancer, while other foods have no evidence to back up their impact on cancer risk.

For example, sugar is perceived to feed cancer, but there isn’t any conclusive research that backs this up. Cancer cells indeed need sugar, among other nutrients, but almost every cell in the body needs glucose. If you stop consuming all the sources of natural sugars from vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, and milk, you’ll also starve the healthy cells in the body and become malnourished.

It’s recommended that you limit your refined sugar consumption by avoiding too many baked products, soda, candy, and instead stick to natural sources like fruits. For sweeteners, you can go for naturals such as honey, Truvia, and stevia instead of using artificial sweeteners.

On the other hand, processed meats have added preservatives that cause pancreatic cancer and other cancers. They are preserved through processes like salting, smoking, and other chemicals that help to prolong their shelf-life. When smoked, meats absorb tar due to an incomplete combustion process. These tars have carcinogens similar to those found in tobacco.

Although processed meat and other foods increase cancer risk, they have not been ruled by the FDA as too dangerous to eat. It is recommended that you limit your consumption to 16 ounces of meat every week to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Cooking your meat at very high temperatures in an open flame also produces heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogens. Consuming these carcinogens can increase your risks for stomach cancer and colorectal cancer. Make sure you cook your meats at moderate temperatures.

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