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The Connection between Junk Food and Cancer

Most of us who relishes junk food are mostly aware of the health hazards they bring with them. Yet we have no guilt having them though we are aware of the health risk they pose. We are aware they pose such risks like heart diseases, obesity, certain metabolic diseases, etc. What we hardly understand is the increased risk of many types of cancers.

Quality of Nutrition in Junk Foods

To understand how junk food poses cancer risk, we need to first understand the nutritional quality any food can provide. Junk foods have the least nutritional value as they are more skewed towards simple carbohydrate and sugar along with many preservatives that are harmful. They are low in fiber and are high in harmful fat or bad cholesterol.

Obesity and its connection to cancer

Junk foods high in carb, sugar and preservatives get digested within a short span of time and make you hungrier, craving for more junk food. This is a vicious cycle. If the person also does not do any physical exercise and leads an almost sedentary life, obesity is the net result. Obesity and cancer are clearly linked as data elucidates. In an obese person, the inflammation of internal organs, elevated concentrations of insulin & insulin-like growth factors are said to be the reasons for cancer due to obesity.

Factors associated with Cancer due to Junk Food Consumption

  • Making people overweight or obese
  • Less physical activities in individuals who consume lot of junk food
  • Less consumption of fiber which helps in fast bowel movement.
  • Ingesting preservatives present in junk food that might be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in nature

Data on Cancer Rate Increase

  • People who ate more junk food had cancer rate of 81.4 cases per 10,000 person years and people who ate lower junk food had a lower cancer rate of 69.5 cases per 10,000 person years.
  • People who ate more junk food had higher risks of colorectal cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, oral cancer and esophageal cancer.
  • Among men lung cancer was more prevalent and among women post-menopausal breast cancer was found to be more prevalent.

Benefits of eating Healthy

Consuming less of junk food and including more vegetables, fruits, dietary fat and proteins from natural source are beneficial in the long run and can decrease the risk of cancer. We should aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day. Phytochemicals present in veggies and fruits are said to protect the cells in the body as they minimize the damage to the cells and hence they minimize the risk of cancer. Hence eat healthy to stay healthy and reduce the risk of cancer.

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