It is getting harder to figure out what we can eat to stay healthy. As if the regular alerts about the risks of gluten, palm oil, sugar and even sewing needles in our food were not enough to make us nervous, now comes strong evidence about a cancer-causing diet.
We all know that eating too much junk food will likely lead to obesity and possibly diabetes … but now researchers have linked poor nutritional meals with higher rates of cancer.
Out of Europe has emerged a study of nearly half a million people and their diets using a food labelling system called Nutri-Score, which measures levels of calories, sugar, saturated fatty acids, sodium, fibre, proteins, fruit, vegetables, legumes and nuts in different items. The findings showed that a total score reflecting a lower-nutritional-quality diet was linked to a higher risk of contracting cancer.
CNN reported: “Cancer rates among those with the highest junk food scores were 81.4 cases per 10,000 person years (separately, the rate for men was 115.9 and for women, 66.6), versus 69.5 cases per 10,000 person years (89.6 for men and 61.1 for women) among those with the lowest junk food scores.
“People who ate the most junk food showed a higher risk of colorectal, respiratory tract (lips, mouth, tongue, nose, throat, vocal cords and part of the esophagus and windpipe), and stomach cancers. Separately, men showed a higher risk of lung cancer, and women showed a higher risk of liver and postmenopausal breast cancers.”
In order to make the results as precise as possible, the researchers adjusted the measurements to account for participants who were over-weight, didn’t exercise, smoked, drank alcohol, had a family history of cancer and even had a low level of education.
“The adjusted result allowed the researchers to conclude that a lower inherent nutritional quality of the food consumed was associated to a higher risk of developing a cancer,” the report said.
The study spanned from 1992 to 2014, was run in 10 countries and recorded 50,000 incidents of cancer – 10 per cent of all participants. The tumours were mainly found in the breast (12,063), prostate (6745) and colon-rectum (5806). The researchers concluded that their findings supported the use of labelling to identify foods of poor nutritional quality, such as Nutri-Score.
Would you pay attention to food labels that flagged poor nutritional value? Does the Nutri-Score system sound like a ‘nanny-state’ ploy?