Junk food can cause several cancers. This is what a European food study found. First of all, they also developed a new labeling system for food quality. According to this Nutri-Score logo bad food gets a deep orange color label or a classification “E”. Furthermore, healthy food shows an association with an A or B, like in good school marks. Color-wise a deep green stands for A and a light green for B.
Finally, there were 471,495 adults who took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC, 1992–2014, median follow-up: 15.3 y). Among those 49,794 new cancer cases were found. The most frequent cancers of these were 12,063 breast cancers, 6,745 prostate cancers and 5,806 colorectal cancers. Each participant completed a one-time basic nutrition food frequency questionnaire. The researchers calculated the corresponding Nutri-Score values. High scores of the Nutri-Score were showing an association with a higher rate of cancer. The association was particularly statistically significant for colorectal cancer, oropharynx, esophagus, stomach, lung cancer for men, and liver and postmenopausal breast cancer for women.
A light orange and dark orange (marks D and E) on the Nutri-Score was a measure for junk food. It was this bad scale (junk food) that correlated well with these cancers. The researchers concluded that exposure to junk food was a significant risk factor for developing these cancers.
On a larger scale the researchers believe that about one third of the common cancers are preventable. They have a relationship with nutritional behavior, namely eating junk foods. The researchers hope that consumers will use the Nutri-Score to choose healthier foods.
I like to review what is considered to be junk food. French fries are unhealthy, because deep frying and browning of potato sticks in nutritionally poor oils causes advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Deep fried chicken belongs into the same category of junk food because of AGEs. These lead to accelerated hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and strokes.
Candy and sweet desserts contain too much sugar causing an insulin reaction. This leads to obesity. Sugary carbonated beverages feed into the insulin-overproduction cycle. When insulin is high, hypoglycemia sets in and the person starts craving junk foods again. This vicious cycle leads to obesity where the metabolism is switched to the metabolic syndrome. Hamburgers are processed red meat. The WHO has stated that red meat and processed red meats are carcinogens, which cause colorectal cancer.
Vegetables and fruit are a much healthier alternative to junk foods.
It took almost ½ million participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC study), which lasted 15.3 years to show that junk food caused cancer. You have a choice: you can repeat the experiment by continuing to eat junk food. Or you can learn from this study and cut out junk food. Adopt the intake of healthy foods and prevent cancer. Add regular exercise and cut your cancer risk even further! Society is gradually moving this way, although some of us are still miles away from a healthy lifestyle. I have studied the medical literature for years, and I come across more and more of these studies that show us how we can cut down cardiovascular diseases and cancer at the same time.
The Mediterranean diet
Adopting a Mediterranean diet will do the same thing. It is anti-inflammatory. Mediterranean food reduces your blood pressure, prevents hardening of the arteries and it also prevents various cancers. It is time to look at our lifestyles and choose what is good for us!