Cancer News

Avoid “kid” food: Keeping your kids away from hot dogs and processed meat can reduce their risk of leukemia


It’s been a long, exhausting day, and you decide to take the family out to dinner. The kids excitedly examine the children’s menu, which consists of multiple unhealthy processed options, including hot dogs, burgers and pasta. You know these foods are not as healthy as a home cooked meal would be, but they’re cheap and it only happens once or twice a week, so you convince yourself that just a few bad choices each week won’t really affect your children’s health.

Unfortunately, processed foods like these and basically any food that has been pre-made and comes in a box are packed with unhealthy ingredients like sodium, unhealthy fats, chemicals, preservatives, flavorings and colorants. All of these have been linked to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. While these conditions might not affect your children while they’re young, a lifetime of teaching them to eat badly will certainly result in health problems as they get older.

And since multiple studies have confirmed an alarming link between processed meats and many cancers, including breast, lung and prostate cancers, as well as pediatric leukemia, avoiding these foods could mean the difference between your child getting leukemia or avoiding the leading cause of cancer-related death in children under the age of 15.

The link between processed meats and cancer

Although there have not been many studies examining the link between processed meats and pediatric leukemia specifically, multiple studies have confirmed such a link with other forms of cancer.

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In fact, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified all processed meats as “probable carcinogens.” In other words, there is a high possibility of these meats causing consumers to develop cancer.

Processed meats refers to any meat that has been treated in some way as a means to preserve or flavor it. That includes bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausages and some deli meats. All of these foods should be avoided to reduce cancer risk.

The possible link between processed meats and pediatric leukemia

Steady Health explains that while the link between consumption of processed meats and leukemia remains controversial, the link between these foods and the development of other types of cancer is so strong that parents serious about reducing their children’s risk of leukemia would do best not to give them to their kids.

Cured and processed meats contain a substance known as N-nitroso, which is known to cause cancer.

Steady Health explains:

N-nitroso forms within the body when food that contains high levels of nitrite and nitrates are ingested. In particular, nitrites are found in processed foods, as it plays a role in the preservation of meat. Therefore, processed meat is the major dietary source for the delivery of nitrite and nitrates into the human body, leading to the formation of N-nitroso. …

Cured meats in maternal diet during pregnancy or the child’s diet in early life have been shown to increase the formation of N-nitroso compounds in the stomach of the child. These compounds can then go to the brain and they form pediatric brain tumors. Pre-clinical studies have also shown that N-nitroso compounds directly lead to the formation of childhood brain tumors.

Therefore, while the relationship between childhood brain tumors and cured meats is well-established, its relationship to leukemia has not been explored as much. However, this relationship has been extrapolated to leukemia and lymphoma.

As tempting as it might be to give your children a “kiddie” meal like a hot dog, therefore, the risks just aren’t worth it. It is a far better option to order a healthy piece of chicken with a salad or vegetables for your children. Or better yet, make them healthy, nutrient-dense meals at home.

Sources include:

SteadyHealth.com

Cancer.org



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