Eating processed food may cause breast cancer, say experts

Photo: Reuters

Health experts have suggested cutting down on processed food because of its possible link to breast cancer.

Processed food – food that has been modified or has preservatives such as hot dogs, sausages, nuggets or burger patties — can increase the risk of breast cancer, according to a new study in the International Journal of Cancer.

Researchers found that those people whose intake of processed food is higher were more likely to develop breast cancer. The data was gathered from 16 different observational studies.

Lead author Dr Maryam Farvid of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health told CNN, “Cutting down processed meat seems beneficial for the prevention of breast cancer.”

However, according to BBC News, the definition of ‘high’ consumption processed food used in each of the 16 studies was different. It is not certain if it was the processed meat that caused the participants to develop breast cancer because the studies do not control any other risk factors.

Kevin McConway, professor emeritus of applied statistics at the UK’s Open University, believes that the study doesn’t establish a direct link between processed food and breast cancer. “I just can’t tell you how many more cases of breast cancer there would be if everyone ate an extra bacon sandwich a day — this research just can’t give that information,” he said.

The study’s finding is enough to further investigate the link between the two, according to Dr Gunter Kuhnle, associate professor of nutrition and health at the University of Reading. He suggested people should not make any changes to their diet.



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