Navigating the modern-day food system often seems overwhelming. Ingredients in ultra-processed foods are blamed for everything from cancer and diabetes to reduced kidney function and bone loss. And sometimes even the way we cook otherwise healthy foods puts them in the cancer-causing foods category.
Unfortunately, until food manufacturers are forced to clean up the ingredients used in their products, it’s up to us to avoid the worst ones. Here, I’m outlining the links between certain cooking techniques and ingredients and cancer risk. Some of these are long suspected as cancer-causing foods, while others are just emerging as possible cancer triggers. Certainly, more research is needed, but for now, here are the suspected cancer-causing foods and ingredients I aim to avoid in my own life. With so many suspect ingredients in our food system, I choose to practice the precautionary principle when it comes to these things.
Science Suggests These Are Cancer-Causing Foods
In early 2017, Britain’s Food Standards Agency launched a campaign to help people better understand acrylamide — and avoid it. Acrylamide is found in things like cigarette smoke; it’s also used in industrial processes like making dyes and plastics. But acrylamide is also a chemical that forms on certain foods, especially starchy foods like bread, crackers, cakes and potatoes, when cooked long and at high temperatures. (1)
Safer Solution: I don’t eat much bread, but when I do eat an occasional sandwich or toast, I make sure it’s sprouted, like Ezekiel bread. And I definitely avoid over-toasting or burning the bread. The Food Standards Agency says as a general rule of thumb, aim for a golden yellow color or lighter when toasting, roasting, frying or baking.
Roasted & Fried Potatoes
The scientific consensus is that acrylamide has the potential to cause cancer in humans. Mainly found in plant foods, like potato and grain products (and to some extent coffee), foods like French fries and potato chips pose the greatest acrylamide risk. The chemical reaction occurs when certain starchy foods are cooked above about 250° F. This causes sugars and the amino acid asparagine in food to create acrylamide.
Frying, baking, broiling or roasting are more likely to create acrylamide. On the other hand, boiling and steaming appear less likely to do so. Longer cooking times and cooking at higher temperatures can increase the amount of acrylamide in foods further. (3)
Note: Acrylamide does not form (or forms at lower levels) in dairy, meat, and fish products.
- If you’re planning on cooking potatoes at higher temperatures, soak the cut-up spuds first. Soaking in water for 2 hours before high-temp cooking can reduce acrylamide levels by nearly 50 percent. Even a simple 30-second rinse can slash acrylamide levels by 20-plus percent. (4)
- Don’t store potatoes in the refrigerator. That can cause acrylamide levels to surge.
- Greatly reduce the amount of french fries, chips, cakes, cereals and crackers you eat.
- It’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate acrylamide. But eating a balanced diet mostly free of processed foods and avoiding a high-starch diet can greatly reduce acrylamide levels.
Drinking water contaminated with arsenic can increase a person’s risk of lung, skin and bladder cancers. That’s why there are clear limits set for the amount of arsenic allowed in water. But what about food? Turns out, more Americans get more arsenic from their food than water. (5) So is arsenic poisoning from rice something you need to consider?
While babies potentially face the highest risk, excess arsenic isn’t good for any of us. A 2012 Consumer Reports investigation found arsenic in every brand of infant rice cereals it tested – nearly ten times the legal limit for drinking water. Subsequent testing was even more dire: just one serving of infant rice cereal can put children over the weekly maximum advised by Consumer Reports. (6)
- Rinse your rice and cook it like pasta. According to a Cornell University researcher, rinsing brown rice until the water is clear (usually 5 to 6 washings), and then cooking in a ration of 1 cup of rice to 6 cups of water, can remove 40 to 55 percent of inorganic arsenic in rice. (7, 8)
- Try working alternative grains like quinoa into some meals.
- Consumer Reports testing found that basmati rice grown in California contained the lowest levels of arsenic; all types of rice, except sushi and quick-cooking rice, from Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas contained the highest levels of inorganic arsenic in Consumer Reports testing. (9)
- Researchers from the UK found that cooking rice in a coffee pot reduced arsenic by up to 85 percent. (10)
- Avoid certain sweeteners. Brown rice syrup found in some snack bars and non-dairy beverages may contain high arsenic levels.
- Be wary of dairy- & gluten-free foods. Beware of rice milk and gluten-free processed foods and sweeteners that use rice ingredients to replace wheat or dairy ingredients.
Ice Cream & Pickles
A 2016 study published in Cancer Research discovered a link between common food additives and colon cancer. Researchers at Georgia State University’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences found that mice that regularly ingested the dietary emulsifiers polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose experienced exacerbated tumor development. (11)
These emulsifiers act like “detergent-like” ingredients in the gut, significantly changing the species composition of the gut microbiome.
Alterations in bacterial species resulted in bacteria expressing more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide, which activate pro-inflammatory gene expression by the immune system.
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
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Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
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Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.