No. 3: Trans fats
The public has become more and more aware of the dangers of certain oils, and companies have been scrambling to assure their customers that they are using "healthier" oils.
Manufacturers use hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils because they extend the shelf life of products. Unfortunately, this can also create trans fats, which can be a factor in cancer but also impact heart disease and a variety of other health problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.
While the American Cancer Society's official position is that a relationship between trans fats and cancer "has not been determined," some studies have linked trans fats to prostate and breast cancer.
Another challenge with trans fats is that people consume them rather than consuming other, healthier foods. This can open the door to a variety of cancer-inducing problems.
Consumers should also be aware that some companies get away with declaring their products to be "trans fat free" by simply lowering the serving size on the label. Unfortunately, many people think they are safe, but they do not necessarily follow the serving size.
Moderation is also key with out next food ...
No. 2: Sodium nitrite
As mentioned, the challenge with cancer is figuring out if certain substances actually do lead to cancer or if there is something else going on. Some researchers suggest something called sodium nitrite may play a role.
Sodium nitrite provides color and appearance to certain foods, such as processed meat, bacon and hot dogs. When combined with amines in protein-rich food, sodium nitrite can turn into the carcinogen nitrosamine, according to Science Daily.
That connection led to the Cancer Prevention Coalition recommending that children not eat more than 12 hot dogs per month because of the risk.
However, most experts have downplayed the risk, saying that humans can absorb a certain amount of sodium nitrite without it leading directly to cancer. And strict regulation of cured meats, as well as the required addition of antioxidants, helps minimize the risk.
But while you're probably OK in moderation, cutting down on bacon and hot dogs is probably a good strategy for a variety of other health reasons anyway.
Now, with that out of the way, who's up for some baking?
No. 1: White flour
White flour doesn't seem like such a nasty substance, but researchers are continuing to warn consumers about the side effects of eating too many products made with white, refined flour.
The problem with flour is similar to the problem with sugar. Flour is in the category of foods that are called "high glycemic," which means that they absorb quickly into the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic. This provides a quick energy source for cancer cells.