These are the new foods and drinks you should avoid to reduce cancer risk

According to The American Cancer Society (ACS) roughly 1.8 million people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer before the end of 2020.

The known causes are both limited and varied. However, thus far researchers are aware of environmental, genetic, behavioral, and viral correlates that contribute to the development of abnormal cell activity.

Recently, ACS published an updated list of the dietary and lifestyle changes that may dramatically reduce one’s risk of developing cancer. 

“Cancer education is among the most important facets of surviving cancer. An individual who has been given a diagnosis of cancer and provided with information such as stage and possible treatment options desperately needs additional facts in order to make an educated, empowered decision,” the organization reports.

The data includes a four-point list of things to abstain from (red meat, processed food, sugar-sweetened drinks, and all alcohol) in order to lower your cancer risk. 

The latest ACS revision occurred after a review of new literature authored by the International Agency on Cancer Research; the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. 

All of the contributors listed above published their findings in the CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians.”.

When combined with a sedentary lifestyle, the four items newly discouraged by ACS resulted in an 18.2% increase in cancer cases and a 15.8% increase in cancer deaths in the U.S. back in 2014.

The organization identifies this combo as the biggest cancer risk factor after cigarette smoking in both men and women.

Red meat in particular evidenced a robust relationship with increased colorectal cancer statistics. 

Although the authors advise steering clear of booze completely their amended guideline allows for one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men for those who can’t manage without it. 

ACS defines a standard single “drink” as 12 ounces of regular beer, five ounces of wine, and a 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits or liquor.

“That recommendation is the synthesis of the evidence and science that finds any amount of alcohol has been shown to increase cancer risk, including breast cancer,” Laura Makaroff, the senior vice president of Prevention & Early Detection at the American Cancer Society, explained in a media release. “So the recommendation is to limit alcohol. It’s best not to drink, but if you choose to drink, do so in a moderate way.” 

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. with about 600,000 Americans succumbing to the disease a year.

While some of the aggravators are beyond our control, diet is a good way to give ourselves a fighting chance.

ACS lists ten foods  (blueberries, broccoli tomatoes, oily fish, garlic, brazil nuts, avocado, olive oil, honey, bananas) that not only decrease our risk for developing cancer but also reduce the physiological effects of the aging process. 

“The emphasis here is really about following a healthy eating pattern,” Makaroff concluded. “When you fill your plate with all of the good things — vegetables, fiber-rich legumes, whole fruits, and whole grains — then you’re going to have less room for red and processed meat, which keeps them limited and in moderation. Adults should engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week,” it reads, adding, “achieving or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is optimal.”

 CW Headley is a reporter for the Ladders and can be reached at