Processed Meat, Sugar and Cancer

We all know cigarettes cause cancer growth – but did you know that food such as bacon and sausage sit right beside Camel cigarettes as Group 1 Carcinogens?

There are quite a few foods that are now known as carcinogens. I’m not covering them all, just the top two. The big dogs. The stay away from them as much as you possibly can food items. But first, let’s cover what a Group 1 carcinogen is.

Group 1 = Carcinogenic to humans

It’s not questioned, it’s not assumed, it’s not maybe. It has been studied, verified and is a fact. Anything on the Group 1 list is known to cause cancer in human beings. Period.

Along with cigarettes and alcohol, other Group 1 carcinogens include but aren’t limited to:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Iron and Steel founding (workplace exposure)
  • Nickel compounds
  • Rubber manufacturing
  • Trichloroethylene (used in solvents)

Also included as Group 1 carcinogens is the consumption of processed meats. This lands them as the #1 food that needs to be eliminated from your diet.

Before we move forward, let’s talk about what processed meat actually is.

These are meats that have been cured, smoked, salted or preserved in other ways.

Pepperoni, salami, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, bologna, ham, etc.

An endless amount of studies have been conducted linking bowel cancer directly to the heavy consumption of red and processed meats. Consuming processed meats ups the chance of bowel cancer by 17% – not a low number. You can also ask my grandmother – she lost her brother to colon cancer who was a manly red meat and potatoes eatin’ kind of dude.

There is now growing evidence of stomach and pancreatic cancers’ link to consuming processed and red meats. I’m not sure about you guys, but when I eat a nice juicy steak or burger I don’t feel good the next day. It feels like there’s a wad of rotting meat in my stomach, and I call it a food hangover. Based on how my own body reacts to the meats on this last, I can 100% understand how it’s linked with terminal illness. I cut steaks out of my diet and I’ve not had ground beef in over 3 weeks – and I’m feeling much better. I’ll admit I’m still guilty of eating chicken sausage on a pretty consistent basis, but it’s something I’m working hard on working out of my diet.

When forced with having to buy these items, buy from your local butcher. They aren’t mass produced and packaged for shelf life and contain less harmful ingredients. When that isn’t an option, go nitrate + preservative free when you can.

Next, is sugar.

While it’s not classified as a carcinogen (yet), oncologists use sugar to detect cancer cells during testing and scans which to me speaks volumes.

There are two types of scans. CT scans with contrast, and CT scans without it. For a scan with contrast, patients are injected with dye so doctors can see if and where there are cancer cells present. Sugar is an ingredient in that dye. Why? Because the cancer cells react so strongly to it that the cells light up like Christmas trees.


Left: Without Contrast | Right: With Contrast

The truth is, we all have cancer cells – our bodies fight them every day. Our food isn’t just something for us to eat, it’s what we choose to fuel our cells with. Some cells regenerate as quickly as a few months, where others take years. At some point, we literally are what we eat. Eat crap, get crap. That being said, sugar and food products with corn syrup as an ingredient, are the most harmful foods we can eat.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends:

  • No more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women.
    • To put that in perspective, that is a little more than half of a 12oz can of coke.
  • No more than 9 teaspoons (38 grams) of added sugar per day for men.
    • To put that in perspective, that is a 12oz can of coke.
  • No more than 3-6 teaspoons (12-25g) per day of added sugar per day for children.
    • To put that in perspective, that is less than one box of apple juice.

A single 20oz bottle of Mountain Dew has 73g of sugar in it. That is 3 days worth of added sugar for a woman. Let that sink in for a minute.

Aside from encouraging cancer cell growth, negative effects of too much sugar consumption  include

  • Weight gain
  • Increases in heart attacks
  • Acne
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Fatty liver
  • and so much more

How to Eliminate Sugar

Eliminating sugar completely is overwhelming for most, and even I’m guilty of eating a little too much of it but there are the ways I eliminated additional sugar very easily:

  1. Cut sodas. They’re the worst for sugar content!
  2. Shop the parameter of the grocery store – I know, talk about this all the time. Lean meat, produce, dairy. Done.
  3. Eat actual fruit and not the processed or dried versions, or smoothies. Think an apple instead of apple juice.
  4. Buy 100% natural peanut butter, not mainstream brands like Jif or Skippy.
  5. Drink my coffee black. It took some getting used to, but now it’s what I prefer.

The average American consumes between 150 and 170 pounds of refined sugar per year. That’s anywhere between a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day. Because of this,

Children are heavier earlier in life and for the first time in our history as a country, parents outliving their children due to obesity related health issues is a legitimate threat.

The sugar addiction is real, and it needs to end before it’s too late.


To get the full rundown on the carcinogen groups, read more here

To read more about red + processed meat and the connection to cancer, go here.

To see the website where I snagged the CT image, go here.

Don’t take my word for it.

You can also google “processed meats and cancer”, “sugar and cancer” and find a combined 7 million search items. It’s legit, it’s serious, and it’s freaking scary.


  • Lindsey Mac

    I’m gradually trying to cut out sugar more and more too.
    I agree about the meat hang over, even if I have fried chicken and beer for dinner (which is rare) I’ll wake up the next day feeling like my stomach wants to punch me in the face!


    • Amy Tyre

      Isn’t it terrible?? It’s hard to remove sugar but I limit it as best as I can too. There’s 61 different names for sugar that companies are legally allowed to sneak by. The best thing for us to do is to not eat anything with a label. What else is sickening is they don’t put the % of the recommended daily values beside sugar like they do they every other ingredient. Less people are likely to drink a soda if they see “400%” beside the sugar value. What the food industry is allowed to do is disgusting and it’s all for money.


  • Esther jane

    Whoa! I knew that sugar was bad, but not about the carcinogenic meats!! Crazy. Thanks for putting the word out!


    • Amy Tyre

      Thank you so much for reading! It’s a very scary world out there, food wise. Keep reading and researching, new studies are being conducted every day <3


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