Who isn’t afraid of the word “cancer”? We all know a family member or a friend who had it. And indeed, according to the American Cancer Society, more than one million people in the United States get cancer each year. According to scientific studies, certain foods such as hot dogs, bacon, potato chips and even sugar could possibly increase the risk of cancer.
The World Health Organization ranked processed meat such as bacon and hot dogs alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer.
It’s important to note that there could many causes of cancer and food is just one of them. The American Cancer Society lists many possible causes for cancer disease, including genetic factors, lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, lack of physical activity, certain types of inflammation and environmental exposures to different types of chemicals and radiation.
Eating Processed Meat is Linked to Cancer, Diabetes, and Heart Disease (Overview)
Back in 2015, the World Health Organization classified processed meat as a carcinogenic to humans. This means that there is a strong scientific evidence about it being a cause of cancer. Specifically processed meat has been shown to increase the risk of colon cancer and potentially other forms of cancer.
The World Health Organization ranked cured and processed meats alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer. This doesn’t necessarily say they are equally as dangerous but it describes the strength of the scientific evidence about them being a cause of cancer.
The medical journal Circulationpublished a systematic review of studieslinking processed meats to a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Let’s have a look at foods and additives that increase cancer risk. This will help you understated what foods you SHOULD eat and what foods you should avoid (or at least reduce their consumption).
- High Intakes of Red Meat, Processed Meat (Such as Hot Dogs, Bacon) or Charred Food
It has been found that bowel and stomach cancers are more common in people who eat lots of red and processed meat.
Red meat includes all fresh, minced and frozen beef, pork, lamb or veal. Also processed meats posses a risk for cancer. These have been preserved in some way other than freezing and include bacon, ham, salami, sausages, corned beef, black pudding, pâté and tinned meat.
Hot dogs are America’s number one treat with more than seven billion of them consumed every summer. They hit the streets in the 19th century when they were introduced by the German immigrants. Soon, they were given an iconic status and became a part of many nations’ eating culture.
But when you look at what goes into hot dogs and how they are made, you might be surprised to find out that this much loved food is lurking with health dangers.
Hot Dogs are a Health Hazard
Frankfurters are nutritionally empty processed foods. There is nothing natural about them and the factories produce them in a highly robotized manner at an astonishing rate of 300,000 hot dogs per hour.
Traditionally, hot dogs are made from a mixture of pork, beef and chicken. Leftovers from cutting steaks or pork chops and ‘edible’ slaughter by-products are used. These include fatty tissue, skins, animal feet and heads.
These trimmings are grounded and mixed together into a thick paste. To make the sausages taste good, a plethora of additives is added, including excessive amounts of salt, corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates, and other chemicals (in this regard, read my previous article about the top 10 worst ingredients in food).
Flavorings vary depending on where the hot dogs are sold, as people in different regions have different tastes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) doesn’t require manufacturers to list flavorings on the label, so just about anything goes. Flavorings include the infamous monosodium glutamate (MSG) and carmine – a dye from the shells of small beetles, boiled in ammonia or sodium carbonate.
Hot Dogs can Cause Cancer
Nitrates and nitrites are the next on the list of problematic additives used in hot dogs. In the presence of high heat they combine with amines in processed meat to form nitrosamines.
It’s the nitrosamines that have been linked to cancer – especially colon, bladder, stomach, and pancreas cancer.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, one hot dog a day increases your risk for colorectal cancer by 21%. Even organic hot dogs contain nitrite, sometimes even in higher amounts than the conventional hot dogs.
Processed meats in general have been shown to increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67% in a study by the University of Hawaii.
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