Scientists find why one type of food increases your cancer risk

Scientists have found a link between eating junk food and the increased risk of cancer. Researchers in Singapore found that a compound released by your body when you eat fat and sugar can temporarily turn off a gene's ability to fight tumours.

For the first time, scientists found that methylglyoxal blocks the BRCA2 gene's ability to protect against cancer. Dr Ashok Venkitaraman, study author and director of the National University of Singapore's Centre for Cancer Research, told Medical News Today: "[M]ethylglyoxal triggers the destruction of BRCA2 protein, reducing its levels in cells. This effect is temporary, but can last long enough to inhibit the tumor-preventing function of BRCA2."

He said repeated exposure to the chemical, in a diet high in ultra-processed, high fight and high-sugar foods, would increase damage to the genes and increase the cancer risk.

Dr Venkitaraman added: "We find that methylglyoxal inhibits the tumor-preventing function of BRCA2, eventually causing faults in our DNA that are early warning signs of cancer development."

High levels of methylglyoxal are common in people with diabetes and prediabetes. The team said that as the study was carried out on cells rather than people, more research is needed.

The new study was published in the journal Cell.