Non-nutritive sweeteners, sugar substitutes
Because of widespread use, many of these compounds, including aspartame, saccharin,
and sucralose have been extensively studied and require approval by the
FDA before they are allowed to be used for human consumption. At the moderate
levels consumed in human diets, none of the sweeteners now in use show any increased
Olive oil, other edible oils
Olive oil and other oils used for cooking or salad dressings are not known to affect
cancer risk other than possibly by increasing the likelihood of overweight and obesity—
known cancer risks.
Organic foods are less likely to be contaminated by residues of pesticides and herbicides.
Whether the consumption of organic foods carries a lower risk of cancer
is uncertain. Eliminating or minimizing toxic residues by buying organically produced
foods and by washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming
them is a good idea and in keeping with the precautionary principle.
Substances and compounds used in agriculture, animal farming, and food processing,
sometimes end up contaminating food. Examples include growth hormones
and antibiotics given to farm animals, trace amounts of pesticides and herbicides
in plant-based foods, and compounds such as bisphenol A (BPA) or phthalates that
enter food from packaging. Some of these compounds may influence cancer risk.
Unintended contamination of food may also result in exposure to chemicals that
may cause an increased risk of cancer. Examples include cadmium, mercury, and
arsenic in rice. For many compounds, the effects on cancer risk are not clear, but
there may be other good reasons to limit exposures, for example, to avoid developmental
risks to a growing fetus. At the levels that contaminants are found in the
food supply, lowering cancer risk is unlikely to be a major reason to avoid conventionally
Food additives are small amounts of substances that are added to color foods, prolong
storage life, and improve flavor and texture. A number of food additives that
have been used for years without apparent problems are classified as generally recognized as safe (GRAS). New additives undergo testing for cancer and other health
effects in lab animals before being cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
for use in foods.
There is convincing evidence that trans-fats should be avoided because they raise
blood cholesterol and greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but their
effect on cancer risk has not been determined.
Turmeric, other spices
The effect of spices on cancer risk has not been determined.
High heat cooking
High-temperature frying, broiling, or grilling of high-protein foods, such as meat
and fish, forms PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) or HCAs (heterocyclic
aromatic amines), compounds that in high doses cause many different kinds of cancer
in laboratory animals. Observational studies have found that people who eat
large amounts of barbecued, fried, or charred meat have increased risk of colorectal,
pancreatic, and prostate cancer. However, it is not clear how much PHAs and
HCAs contribute to the increase in cancer risk. The increased risk could be from a
failure to eat abundant amounts of fruits and vegetables or other lifestyle behaviors
that increase cancer risk. It is advisable to choose lower temperature cooking methods
for meats such as braising, steaming, stewing, and microwaving to minimize
possible cancer risk.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel