Top Six Foods That Cause Cancer

There are new headlines continually coming out about the latest cancer-causing food. Lately, cancer seems to be linked to everything. With all of the different warnings about various foods it can be hard to sort out fact from fiction.

In order for a food to be considered a carcinogen, there must be substantial evidence that it has been linked to an increased cancer risk.

For this post, we wanted to share with you the top foods that can truly put you at risk.

1. Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)

A GMO is defined as a “living modified organism”.  The food’s genetic material has been altered. In most cases, the aim of GMO use in agriculture is to introduce a new trait to a crop that does not occur naturally. This alone is cause for concern. It’s not natural.

GMO’s continue to be on the rise in the food industry. This recent technique has been of intense debate. In fact, a recent article published in GMO Science recently questioned the safety of GMO use1. Their findings showed that GMO crops are not equivalent to non-GMO crops1. Furthermore, it was found that a GMO-tolerant Roundup corn variety had increased amounts of polyamines (toxins) and it’s speculated to cause negative health outcomes1.

Other studies they referenced found organ damage and tissue changes as a result of mice being fed GMO corn1. While this isn’t new news to us, it is good that scientists are beginning to change their stance on the safety implications of genetically modified foods and are calling for more research to be done.

Always choose non-GMO foods and organic. Be sure to read and verify all labels to protect yourself and your family.

Read more about GMO foods here.

2. Non-organic foods

Non-organic foods are grown using pesticides and chemicals.

Science shows that pesticides are not healthy. They have been linked to several cancers2 and other chronic diseases3.

With the rates of cancer, heart disease and other disorders on the rise, it is imperative that we change the foods we are putting into our body every day. If you want to be healthy, don’t put chemical laden foods into your body. This is one of the top things we can do for our health.

We tell all of our patients to go organic, eat organic and live organic. Get rid of the all the chemicals in the foods you consume (and the products you use). Here are 8 reasons why you should eat only organic foods.

3. Canned goods

Canned goods are notorious for Bisphenol A (BPA).

BPA has been linked to structural damage to your brain, altered immune function, stimulation of prostate cancer cells, increased fat formation and risk of obesity and more.

Yet, BPA is often used in the lining of canned goods. Canned tomatoes are one of the worst food products to buy for your health as they are acidic and can readily leach BPA into the tomatoes.

Research has continually shown that BPA can leach into food or beverages that are stored in containers made of BPA4.

If you need canned food items, then look for cans that have been certified BPA-free. You can also look for those same foods in their glass counterpart alternatives, which is always the best option.

If you’re looking for certain products and wondering if there are healthier packaging options, take a look at our Wolfson-approved product list.

4. Refined sugar

Added sugars in your diet can contribute to obesity. Obesity is linked to several types of cancers likely due to its result of increased inflammation, hormonal imbalances and metabolic disturbances5. There’s a relationship between increased added sugar (or added calorie) intake, obesity and the overall risk for cancer development in one’s lifetime.

When you eat excess sugar and you’re not expending a lot of calories (aka exercising), it will be readily stored on the body as fat and can lead to obesity.  Eating high amounts of sugar can also cause the body to make more insulin, which can trigger cancer cells to rapidly divide and multiply.

Here are many more reasons to cut sugar out of your diet.

5. Charred Meats

Meats that are grilled, fried, barbequed, or cooked to well-done can form chemical compounds that are detrimental to your health. The cooking of foods at very high temperatures creates a series of chemical reactions that can result in toxins being released into the air and food. Many of these chemical reactions have been consistently linked to cancer risk6.

Meats are high in protein and fat, which when cooked at high temperatures, become highly reactive and risky and form known carcinogens. Vegetables have actually been found to be a healthier grilling option because they don’t form these same carcinogens.

When you eat pastured animal products and seafood, the less cooked the better. I love my burger’s medium-rare.

A study found that when they looked at over 3,000 women those that had regularly consumed grilled meats over their lifetime had much greater risk (47% increase) for breast cancer6.

6. Alcohol

The higher your alcohol intake the greater the risk you have for cancer development. Research has shown that there is a strong association between drinking excess alcohol and the development of several types of cancer7. Alcohol consumption has been linked to head and neck cancers8, esophageal cancers9, liver cancer10, colorectal cancer11 and breast cancer12.

Alcohol in its simplest form is a known toxin. The body handles it as a toxin once it is ingested and will give it first priority in the digestive system in order to get it out of the body as soon as it can.

There are many ways in which can alcohol can increase one’s risk for cancer. First, it breaks down ethanol (alcohol) to acetaldehyde, a known toxic chemical in the body. Second, it can form reactive oxygen species, which can go around and “react” with healthy tissues and damage the body. Third, it can increase levels of the sex hormone estrogen, a risk factor for breast cancer and other cancers. Lastly, it can hinder the body’s ability to absorb other essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Other food items to watch out that can increase your cancer risk include processed meats, farmed fish, artificial sweeteners and microwave popcorn as these have chemicals and toxins present.

There are many preventative measures you can take to ensure your best health possible. And we write about them regularly in our free monthly newsletter. Sign up here to claim your copy.


  1. GMO Science, 2018:
  2. Bassil et al., 2007:
  3. Mostafalou et al., 2013:
  4. Hoa et al., 2008:
  5. Pergola et al., 2013:
  6. Steck et al., 2007:
  7. De Menezes et al., 2013:
  8. Baan et al., 2007:
  9. WHO:
  10. Grewal et al., 2012:
  11. Fedirko et al., 2011:
  12. Hamajima et al., 2002:

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