Last week, I shared with you how obesity is known to lead to certain types of cancer.
In a way, that’s good news – because it means that those cancers are entirely avoidable.
All we’ve got to do is look at what causes weight gain. And while there are a number of factors that can certainly contribute (genetics being one), the first place we should look is diet.
You are what you eat, after all.
And if all you’re eating are the highly processed foods in the freezer aisle and the drive-thru, you can bet you’re going to pack on some extra pounds.
Now, a study out of France and Brazil has found an even more direct connection – specifically, that eating processed foods and getting diagnosed with cancer go hand in hand.
And it may not be just because they can make your load a little wider than it should be.
Researchers gave over 100,000 people questionnaires to track everything they ate and drank. Every item they put into their mouths was categorized into one of four groups, ranging from unprocessed foods (like fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish) to "ultra-processed" foods (including packaged breads, processed meats, snacks, sweets, and sodas).
After about five years of follow-up, the researchers compared these dietary diaries to the participants' medical records and found that a 10 percent increase in ultra-processed foods in the participants' diets led to a 12 percent increase in their overall risk of cancer.
Now, the study didn't prove that hot dogs and hot dog buns CAUSED the cancer in the study’s participants. It could be, of course, that those who eat more packaged foods also have unhealthier habits that set them up for cancer than those who favor fresher foods.
And certainly, the weight doesn’t help.
But it's undeniable that processed foods' added sugar -- not to mention their lack of protective fiber and vitamins -- may feed the growth of cancer cells.
And as I've shared with you recently, studies have shown that processed meals ramp up inflammation in your body, which sets the stage for many diseases, including cancer.
Not only that, but foods from bags and boxes often contain chemical additives and preservatives that are known to be carcinogenic -- and toxic chemicals can even leach into the food from packaging.
When you open up a boxed meal, you're really opening a Pandora's box of risks!
Switching to the Paleo (a.k.a. "caveman") diet makes it easy to sidestep processed junk -- because it includes only FRESH meat, fish, dairy, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
And try cutting out the grocery store "middleman" by shopping at your local farmers market, where you can buy whole ingredients with no packaging whatsoever.