Breast Cancer and Nutrition 101 | 4 WORST Foods you need to stop eating

Breast Cancer and Nutrition 101
4 WORST Foods you need to stop eating
By Wei Wen, Qualified Dietitian 
  • Nutrition influences the risk of breast cancer in 35% of the cases
  • Alcohol may increase breast cancer risk due to the damage it causes to our cell and DNA


With each bite on the foods you choose, you are either one step closer, or one step further away from breast cancer.


Why some food choices are “risky” to eat?

THE GOOD AND BAD NEWS are that there is no single food that is proven to cure or cause cancer. Cancer is a complex disease, causes of which can be affected by many different factors. It can be genes, the foods you eat, the environment you live around, and etc. Most of the time, it is an end result of the combination of everything stated above, but what you eat plays a huge role. 

Certain foods may put you at greater risk of getting breast cancer. This is because when scientists track a group of people’s diets over years, they found out that when a particular type of food is regularly consumed or consumed in large amounts, at the end more of them got breast cancer. As a result, scientists come out with recommendation for us to limit certain types of foods or nutrients, so that we stay safe. Bear in mind though, limiting is very different than completely eliminating. 



4 foods/nutrients to avoid 

  1. Red Meat 

Eating red meat regularly may put you at higher risk for breast cancer, a recent study published in International Journal of Cancer. This is especially true for postmenopausal women. How exactly it increases cancer risk is still unknown, but what’s suggested is that certain types of fats or natural chemicals may be the culprit. Hence, if you limit the amount of red meat you consume, you will be less likely to be found having breast cancer. Red meat includes foods like beef, lamb, pork. It is recommended by the National Health Sciences to limit red meat you eat per time to around 70g cooked, which is roughly the size of your palm. It is also strongly recommended that you swap out red meat for better alternatives like fishes, chicken or poultry. 


  1. Processed meat 

The World Health Organization (WHO) classified processed meat as class 1 carcinogens, meaning that we have strong evidence that if you eat processed meats, you are increasing your own risk of getting cancer. Hence, you should limit or completely avoid processed meats. Chemicals like nitrates that are inserted into these meats destroys cells DNA and cause cancer in a high-risk manner. Processed meats are foods like sausages, hams, patties or cured meats like luncheon meat. They are typically found in foods like burgers, frankfurters rolls, canned foods, “lap cheong”, and certain noodles as sides. According to WHO, every year almost 34 000 cancer deaths are caused by diet high in processed meats. 


  1. Alcohol

Drinking 3 alcohol drinks per week increases your risk of breast cancer by 15%, research suggests. One alcoholic drink is either a can of beer, a glass of wine or a small glass (around 42 mL) of distilled spirits with high alcohol content. Yes, you can easily 3 drinks within a night. The bad news? Your risk of breast cancer increases 10% for every subsequent drink you have in the bar. We understand that drinking is social, or business. The best way is to limit it to one or two glass of beer, or select other alternatives like mocktail, sparkling water and etc. 



  1. Fast foods

Regularly eating fast food meals may put you at greater risk of getting breast cancer, scientists warned. The reasons might be the chemicals found in high fat foods like French fries, too much sugar in the Coke or anything along those lines. Hence, some organizations recommend limiting fast foods consumption. This will also help to control your weight in a healthy range as fast foods usually come in very high calories per meal (think double or triple the amount!).



The idea is simple: 

  1. Red meat - Not more than 2-3 times per week, each time not more than a palm size portion
  2. Alcohol – Not more than 3 drinks per week
  3. Processed meats and fast foods – Avoid at all cost 

Want to know more about what you SHOULD have instead? Stay tuned to our next post! Till then, bump up the greens and grains 😉


Disclaimer: The statements above are not intended to diagnose or treat any form of medical condition, nor should it replace your physician’s advice.


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