Categories: world

Treated meat increases breast, risk of colon cancer: what to know

If you look closely, the cancer potential lurks in almost everything we touch and eat, from the plastic we store food for receipt papers we call at the checkout. It can all make avoiding unhealthy foods feels like a hopeless endeavor. But more and more researchers point to some simple things that you should avoid if you are worried about cancer risk. A growing survey shows that regular consumption of processed, cured or smoked meat, including ham, hot dog, bacon and sausage, can give you the chances of developing deadly cancers. This is mainly due to the fact that processed meat is treated with nitrates – chemical additives that help keep the color of the meatloaf and taste tasty and salty. "If no processed or red meat in Britain, there would be 8,800 fewer cases of cancer," The Guardian reported earlier this year. Nibbling a piece of bacon at brunch or chowing down on single hot dogs on a ball game will not kill of course. But here's why you should not consume meat that has been salted, cured or treated with preservatives on a daily basis. Processed food has generally been linked to some deadly cancers Butchers and chefs who prepare pork tenderloin during a "ten cochon" or pestilent event in Bordeaux, France. GEORGES GOBET / AFP / Getty Images A new French study of more than 100,000 people found that it was more closely linked to cancer risk than family history, body-related feeding of more processed foods of…

If you look closely, the cancer potential lurks in almost everything we touch and eat, from the plastic we store food for receipt papers we call at the checkout. It can all make avoiding unhealthy foods feels like a hopeless endeavor.

But more and more researchers point to some simple things that you should avoid if you are worried about cancer risk.

A growing survey shows that regular consumption of processed, cured or smoked meat, including ham, hot dog, bacon and sausage, can give you the chances of developing deadly cancers. This is mainly due to the fact that processed meat is treated with nitrates – chemical additives that help keep the color of the meatloaf and taste tasty and salty.

“If no processed or red meat in Britain, there would be 8,800 fewer cases of cancer,” The Guardian reported earlier this year.

Nibbling a piece of bacon at brunch or chowing down on single hot dogs on a ball game will not kill of course. But here’s why you should not consume meat that has been salted, cured or treated with preservatives on a daily basis.

Processed food has generally been linked to some deadly cancers

Butchers and chefs who prepare pork tenderloin during a “ten cochon” or pestilent event in Bordeaux, France. GEORGES GOBET / AFP / Getty Images

A new French study of more than 100,000 people found that it was more closely linked to cancer risk than family history, body-related feeding of more processed foods of all kinds – including processed meat, sugary drinks, packed snacks and prepared frozen dinners – mass index, or even smoking and drinking habits. The researchers could not conclusively conclude that processed food causes cancer but found it to be the most likely offender.

“An increase of 10% of the proportion of processed foods in the diet was associated with significant increases of 12% in the risk of overall cancer and 11% in the risk of breast cancer,” the researchers said.

In the case of red meat untreated cuts such as a fresh beef or a slice of a pig stomach not only linked to cancer. However, refined meat has.

According to the International Cancer Research Agency, the average red meat eater consumes about 500-100 grams of meat each day. If all such meat is treated, cats see their cancer risk increase by 18%.

This is not a new result. Dr. Philip Hartman, a cancer expert and biology professor at Johns Hopkins University at that time, told the New York Times back in 1981: “I personally know that it is 9 or 10% of the problem of stomach cancer, and that’s not insignificant.”

Refined meat is prepared so that when you’re ready to eat it – in a matter of minutes, hours, days or weeks after you buy a product – the food will be raw, salted and ready for consumption. But that convenience can have consequences.

“Meat processing as curing and smoking can lead to carcinogenic chemicals, including N-nitroso compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” says IARC.

These compounds include nitrates, which occur naturally in water and some foods but are used artificially as preservatives. Nitrates broaden our arteries, and some (like those naturally occurring in bites) can even increase athletic performance. But too much nitrate in the body can lead to a condition called metemoglobinemia, where a person’s blood is not as effective to move the necessary oxygen into tissues. This can cause the skin to become bluish and lead to headache, breathlessness and fatigue.

“Studies have shown increased risks of colon, kidney and gastric cancer among people with higher intake of water nitrate and higher meat intake,” said National Institutes of Health on his website. “Other studies have shown modest evidence that higher nitrate intake may increase thyroid cancer and ovarian cancer risk among women.”

A 2018 study conducted on more than 1.2 million women around the world found that those who ate processed meat regularly had a 9% higher risk of developing breast cancer, a small but noticeable increase.

If you try to avoid nitrates when shopping, it’s important to keep in mind that even processed meat labeled as nitrate-free may still have natural nitrates in them from added sugarcane, celery sugar or beet juice, as The Times recently reported.

When processed meat is grilled, roasted or weakened, the risk of cancer increases

Eating a bratwurst at German Unity Day 2014 in Berlin. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Adding fire to the mixture makes processed meat even more dangerous. For example, nitrate that helps keep bacon easily turn to nitrosamine, a known cancer-causer, when it is fried. (Although bacon is not fried, nitrates may also turn to nitrosamine in our sour stomach sweets.)

According to the National Cancer Institute, this is not just a problem for processed meat. When beef, poultry or fish are boiled over an open flame or roasted at high temperatures, fat and juice as these fleshs can release flames containing hazardous chemicals, which then cook in the meat we eat. Grilling, grilling and grilling are some of the carcinogenic ways of preparing meat, according to the IARC.

Research on the risks of eating processed meat is part of a greater scientific effort to determine our most harmful eating habits.

Colon and rectal cancer rates are increasing in people between the ages of 20 and 49. Researchers are not sure why this group develops dual-rate colon cancer, seen only three decades ago, but diet can be a part of the problem. Packaging may also be a problem: Plastic packaging for food may include bisphenol S or BPS, which may interfere with the normal function of the endocrine system in animals.

The only advice that most nutrients agree is to increase the amount of fresh foods you eat is a good choice. A 2012 analysis published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology estimated that around 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented each year if Americans only ate additional servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

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Faela