Processed Food and Cancer – A New Connection

processed foodsYesterday, NHS Choices reported that common food additives are linked to bowel cancer. We know that there is a link between processed food and all manner of health problems, but with the exception of too much salt and sugar, we really do not know much about the underlying cause. The latest research has shed some new light on why processed food is so bad for our health.

The latest study, which was conducted by Georgia State University in Atlanta and published in Cancer Research, looked at the effect of consuming common food additives (E numbers) on bowel cancer in mice. The mice were either given one of two different E numbers – sodium carboxymethycellulose (CMC) or polysorbate 80 (P80) – or just water. They were then given toxins that are known to increase cancer risk.

The results of the experiment found that mice which consumed E numbers developed more and larger cancerous tumors. They also developed more cases of inflammation in the bowels.

Is Gut Bacteria To Blame?

One theory is that a combination of E numbers and inflammation changes the balance of gut bacteria, which produces an environment in the gut that makes cancer more likely.

The research does not mean that the same process will definitely apply to humans, but there is certainly a case to be argued that some E numbers do increase the likelihood of developing bowel cancer.

What Else Causes Bowel Cancer?

High levels of central obesity is also linked with bowel cancer, and this is one of the main reasons to lose weight. Alcohol is another factor, so try to cut back on how much you drink. As with most cancers, age is another factor – the longer we live, the more likely we are to develop any form of cancer.

It is important to notes that this research is not conclusive with regard to human health, but it is certainly a cause for concern. There is a definite link between diet and colon cancer. Colon cancer is the third biggest cancer killer after lung and breast cancer, and like lung cancer, many believe it is largely lifestyle based.

If you are concerned about developing colon cancer, the best option is to follow a natural diet plan that invoices eating food that is mostly fresh. Avoid as much processed food as possible and buy food direct from farm shops, green grocers, butchers and fishmongers.

Avoid all processed meals, especially “TV dinners” and other food with a long shelf life. Also avoid takeaway food, which is often made from processed ingredients that are designed to reduce short-term health problems, such as food poisoning.

You can read the NHS Choices report here, and also access the original research on Cancer Research here (abstract only available for free).




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