Bacon, coffee, Nutella: These foods have cancer links

CLOSE With so much noise surrounding possible causes of cancer (underwire bras, seriously?), it’s hard to determine what the true dangers are. The good news is that when it comes to food, there aren’t that many specific types linked to cancer. Time
The World Health Organization labeled bacon and other processed meats as carcinogens. (Photo: HandmadePictures, Getty Images/iStockphoto)
CONNECT TWEET 5 LINKEDIN 31 COMMENT EMAIL MORE Avoiding cancer might require more than quitting the cigarettes or staying out of the sun.
Research out this week adds to previous findings that suggest our diets play a role in how cancer affects us. A study determined cutting back on an amino acid found in potatoes and asparagus could slow the growth of a certain kind of deadly breast cancer. However, more research is required.
But diet’s effect on cancer isn’t breaking news. In fact, last year, American Cancer Society officials said if current trends continue, obesity and a sluggish lifestyle may contribute to more cancer deaths than smoking.
Read more: Could cutting asparagus from your diet stop the spread of cancer?
So, what other foods could make us susceptible to cancer? Here are some:
Processed meats (bacon and hot dogs) The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) reported ham, hot dogs and other processed meats may contribute to colorectal cancer. Meanwhile, red meat “probably” could cause cancer.
The agency listed processed meat as a carcinogen and red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Although the North American Meat Institute said various studies dispute the meat-cancer link.
The IARC later clarified it recommends “moderate consumption” of processed meat to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Read more: Coffee shops might display cancer warnings in California
Nutella The European Food Safety Authority in May warned a key ingredient found in Nutella — palm oil — poses a cancer risk because part of the edible oil “is genotoxic and carcinogenic .”
Nutella maker Ferrero, Reuters reported , fought back by launching an ad campaign telling customers the product is safe.
Coffee The American Cancer Society says coffee contains acrylamide, which many organizations say may be carcinogenic or cancer-causing. However, ACS said studies are not clear as to whether it can cause cancer in people.
Acrylamide is formed during the coffee roasting process, notes ACS.
Despite this, the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, raising acrylamide concerns, convinced California coffee servers to issue cancer warnings on all ready-to-drink coffees.
Read more: One small drink a day increases breast cancer risk, study shows
Very hot drinks The World Health Organization said drinking tea, coffee and other beverages at 149 degrees Fahrenheit or above could contribute to cancer of the esophagus .
Coffee consumed at cooler temperatures may have benefits, scientists say, possibly lessening the risk of liver cancer.
Read more: WHO: Drinking extremely hot coffee, tea ‘probably’ causes cancer
Alcohol Drinking alcohol is linked to various forms of cancer, including in the throat, mouth, liver and colon.
ACS recommends men limit their alcoholic drinks to two each day, and one daily for women. But even one drink of alcohol per day , one study said, can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: @SeanRossman

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