THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ULTRA-PROCESSED FOOD AND CANCER – DUH!
What did you get for / from your valentine this year? Hopefully not a box of cheap chocolates. I only bring this up because two days ago the British Medical Journal published a study called Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods and Cancer Risk…. Although you intuitively knew this, there is some real “meat” (ULTRA-PROCESSED MEAT) in this study that you can take home to your family (and it’s all free online). But the first thing we have to do before proceeding is to create a clear definition of ultra-processed food (UPF). Most of us know what processed foods are, but what in the heck are “ultra” processed foods?
According to natural health expert, Dr. Adrew Weil (What are Ultra-Processed Foods?), UPF’s “include soft drinks, packaged snacks and baked goods, and reconstituted meat products such as chicken and fish nuggets. Instant noodles and commercially produced soups also qualify.” But as you’ll soon see, UPF’s go far beyond the obvious foods seen on this list. Another study from BMJ (this one published in 2016 — Ultra-Processed Foods and Added Sugars in the US Diet…) concluded that……
“Ultra-processed foods were defined as industrial formulations which, besides salt, sugar, oils and fats, include substances not used in culinary preparations, in particular additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations. Ultra-processed foods comprised 57.9% of energy intake, and contributed 89.7% of the energy intake from added sugars. The content of added sugars in ultra-processed foods was eight-fold higher than in processed foods.
High intake of added sugars increases the risk of weight gain, excess body weight and obesity; type 2 diabetes, higher serum triglycerides and high blood cholesterol; higher blood pressure and hypertension; stroke; coronary heart disease; cancer; and dental caries. Moreover, foods higher in added sugars are often a source of empty calories with minimum essential nutrients or dietary fiber, which displace more nutrient-dense foods and lead, in turn, to simultaneously overfed and undernourished individuals.”
Over-fed and under-nourished. That pretty much sums up a huge and growing segment of Western society (no pun intended). And even though it’s on this two year old list, the latest study is specifically about the relationship between UPF’s and CANCER.
Speaking of UPF’s and cancer; while most people have at least heard that SUGAR FEEDS CANCER, the medical community has been slow to embrace Dr. Otto Warburg’s work — odd considering he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine back in 1931 (HERE). Once you realize that added sugar makes up the largest portion of UPF’s, it’s not difficult to argue that the medical community needs to step up to the plate and change the way they deal with their average patient (HERE).
An interesting “proof” of a phenomenon routinely found in EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE is that less than six months ago the American Journal of Nutrition (Ultra-Processed Foods in Human Health: A Critical Appraisal) said this about the ADDICTIVE NATURE (or non-addictive as their authors determined) of UPF’s. “This commentary challenges many of the basic arguments of [the relationship between] the link between food and health. We believe that there is no evidence to uphold the view that ultra-processed foods and drinks give rise to hyper-palatable foods associated with a quasi-addictive effect.”
This statement becomes especially interesting once you realize the study’s lead co-author, Dr. Michael J. Gibney, “had primary responsibility for final content… serving on scientific committees for Nestlé and Cereal Partners Worldwide.” Here’s an article about NESTLE that will make you puke, and the CPW is a joint effort between Nestle and General Mills to develop BREAKFAST CEREALS.
After looking at 105,000 people without cancer and adjusting for confounders (sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics, age, sex, occupation, educational level, smoking status, number of children, height, weight, dietary intakes, physical activity, personal and family history of diseases, drug use including use of hormonal treatment for menopause and oral contraceptives, and menopausal status) these authors determined that (quote is somewhat cherry-picked)……
“Main food groups contributing to ultra-processed food intake were sugary products (26%) and drinks (20%), followed by starchy foods and breakfast cereals (16%) and ultra-processed fruits and vegetables (15%). Ultra-processed food intake was associated with increased risks of overall cancer and breast cancer. The association with overall cancer risk was statistically significant in all strata of the population investigated. Ultra-processed foods have also been associated with a higher glycemic response and a lower satiety effect [it never makes you “full”].
Excessive energy, fat, and sugar intakes contribute to weight gain and risk of obesity, with obesity recognized as a major risk factor for breast, stomach, liver, colorectal, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, gallbladder, endometrium, ovary, liver, and (advanced) prostate cancers and hematological malignancies [leukemia]. For instance, body fatness in post-menopausal women is estimated to contribute 17% of the breast cancer burden.”
And this is just for starters. The authors went on to talk about the effects of plastics, chemicals, and other “ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING” packaging materials commonly used in UPF’s, as well as the effects that additives such as dyes, MSG, ASPARTAME, and several others, have on PHYSIOLOGY / HOMEOSTASIS, particularly when it comes to GUT HEALTH and MICROBIOME (remember that 80% of your immune system is found in the Gut — HERE). Although you could correctly guess what the most common UPF’s are (see pics at top of page), some might surprise you.
The list included “fried potatoes, biscuits, bread, coffee, sweet pastries, dairy desserts, ice cream, fruit purée, fruit in syrup, fruit and vegetable juices, soups and broths, sandwiches, pizzas, salted pastries [crackers].” Also mentioned were processed “starchy foods (cereals, legumes, or potatoes).”
What’s the solution to this mess? First, control your BLOOD SUGAR. This is done via controlling your intake of simple carbohydrates. Secondly, because generic LOW CARB DIETS can be loaded with all sorts of garbage, including TRANS or other junk fats, I suggest you go PALEO. Some of you might do great with a KETOGENIC DIET as well (click THIS LINK to watch a cool video by a researcher at Pitt using Ketogenic Diets in his lab to successfully address cancer).
And for those of you struggling with serious chronic health issues and rampant inflammation (HERE), be sure and take a look at THIS POST for a nice little protocol that will at least point the average person in the right direction.