Eating This One Type of Food Could Increase Your Risk of Cancer, According to a New Study

Updated: May 05, 2021

Repeat after us: You are what you eat. And what you eat could be harming your health.

doctorPressmaster/ShutterstockBefore you take another bite of that burger, you might want to keep reading. New research warns that eating junk foods like pizza, burgers, and chocolate could increase your risk of developing cancer—even if you’re not overweight. Uh-oh.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests there’s a link between a diet full of high calorie, low nutrient foods and a higher risk of certain cancers, especially among normal weight women above the age of 50. (Avoid these cancer-causing foods that cancer doctors try to never eat, as well.)

Researchers at the University of Arizona collected data on 92,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 who are part of the Women’s Health Initiative study. Then, they tracked the development of a variety of cancers in the women over the course of 15 years.

Their data shows that eating lots of high calorie foods, including biscuits, chocolate, and pizza, increased the risk of cancer in these women. That even goes for those who maintained a healthy weight, defined as a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.

Truth be told, having a healthy weight alone might not protect against cancer, the researchers concluded. Rather, it’s what you eat on a daily basis that matters. As for what you should put on your dinner plate? We recommend starting with these 30 foods are proven to prevent cancer.

Correlation does not mean causation, however, and the connections between diet, lifestyle, and cancer outcomes are often more complex than that. What’s more, the study focused only on postmenopausal women, and researchers did not factor sugary drinks and alcohol into their analysis, which tend to be high in calories, as well. Long story short: More research is needed before we can say for certain that high calorie foods increases cancer risk.

Regardless, experts agree that having a balanced diet (and watching your calorie consumption) definitely helps more than it hurts. Your 80-year-old self will be thanking you for having these healthy eating habits.

[Sources: CBS, PubMed Health]