Processed Foods and Cancer

What exactly is a processed food these days? Because nearly all foods are processed in some way, we’re referring to ultra-processed foods which contain high sugar, salt, fat, or additional additives.

These foods are made using industrial equipment that break down whole foods and combine them with other ingredients to make them highly palatable and shelf stable. Examples include: soft drinks, candy, ice cream, chips, chicken nuggets, etc.

Ultra-processed foods are low in nutrient density, higher in calories, contain excessive sodium, and are lower in dietary fiber. They may also contribute to lifestyle and socioeconomic factors that are related to the risk of cancer.

While cutting out ultra-processed foods may seem like a daunting task, our recommendation is to limit them to occasional consumption. If you’re craving an ice-cold Diet Coke, have one…but don’t have one every day or multiple times a day. French fries sounding good? Order a small and share them with someone else. The idea of eating these type of “craving foods” in moderation is more doable than cutting them out entirely.

Healthy eating doesn’t only mean eating perfectly all the time. It means making the choice between foods and portions that support an overall healthy eating pattern rather than those that don’t.

– Add beans, chickpeas, or lentils to your pastas, casseroles, or salads. Look for a “no salt added” variation and rinse them with water prior to using.
– Choose tuna, salmon, or chicken cans or packets for an additional protein punch in your lunch rather than a hamburger. This will not only help you cut back on red meat or processed meat, but satiate you longer without the added “ick.”
– Make water your primary beverage. Try adding a sugar-free water flavor packet or a sugar-free sparkling water. We’re loving Poppi and OliPop rather than sodas!

When in doubt, consult your NCS physician or dietician!

More articles »

Meet DOT.

Skip to content