Consuming too much sugar
By now you’ve heard time and again how bad sugar is for you. It’s been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes—and now also cancer. According to a study done at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, high amounts of sugar in today’s Western diets may increase the risk of breast cancer. (Learn the symptoms of breast cancer to watch for.) The study found that sugar levels in mice comparable with levels in Western diets led to increased tumor growth. “While done on mice, the researchers did try to make the study as close as possible to what happens in humans,” says Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, owner of Active Eating Advice. “The mice were fed sugar in doses similar to what Americans eat daily and these mice were genetically predisposed to breast cancer.” The culprit appeared to be fructose, as it exacerbated the inflammatory process. Stick to natural sugar found in fruit and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, tabletop sweeteners, candy, and desserts. Plus, load up on these 30 foods that help prevent cancer.
Drinking HOT beverages
Are you the person who orders their morning coffee extra piping hot? You may want to think twice. A systematic review in the International Journal of Cancer of studies on the temperature of beverages found that hot drinks could increase the risk of esophageal cancer. “The theory is that high temperature causes thermal irritation of the esophagus, perhaps predisposing to carcinogenic changes in the esophagus,” explains Bonci. If you can’t drink it any other way, “consider decreasing the amount you consume, so overall, you will not irritate the esophageal mucosa as often,” suggests Bonci. Don’t miss these other foods cancer doctors try never to eat.
Eating processed meats
We’re talking about meat that has been cured, salted, or smoked, mainly to help preserve it (read: cold cuts). The International Agency for Research on Cancer evaluated the carcinogenicity of processed meat and found it to be carcinogenic to humans based on evidence that eating it can cause colorectal cancer. They found that quarter-pound portion of this processed meat can up the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. The issue mainly seemed to be with the amount of meat consumed, which means that you don’t need to go cold-turkey vegan. But it’s smart to limit the amount of processed meats you consume, suggests Bonci. “Pick lean red meat instead, which is a great source of protein, iron, and zinc,” she says. Here more tips for reducing your risk of colon cancer.