The Link Between Sugar and Cancer

The link between sugar and cancer

Sugar is everywhere in the modern diet and there’s no doubt that it’s making us obese, fatigued, and sick. You can’t turn on the television without one commercial after another advertising candy, soda, or sugary breakfast cereals.

While many of us have an intuition or research that makes us leery of sugar, there is plenty of media trying to convince us otherwise. Remember the “it’s just corn” commercials claiming that high fructose corn sugar dangers were all in our heads and that HFCS is similar to “just eating fruit?”

Except for the minor detail that corn is not the same thing at all and the higher fructose content has a huge impact on our bodies. All calories are not equal and that’s especially important to remember when it comes to sugar.

It’s true that the cells in your body use “sugar” as a fuel source but it runs more efficiently on natural sources such as vegetables and fruits. The sugar I’m talking about here is the processed, empty calorie kind. It provides nothing in the way of nutrition or sustainable energy…but it could be taking a lot from your body.

Sugar in the United States is often made from sugar beets and corn. The majority of all sugar beet and corn crops are genetically modified (GMO). (1)

A Focused Media Blitz that Works

The primary demographic of the sugar campaign is young people and that makes me furious. Kids’ sugar intake is ten times higher than it was in 1900 – it’s the main source of their dietary calories – and nothing good is coming from it. As a mom, I’ve watched the trends change from (not so good) when I was a kid to absolutely awful today. (2)

It should shock me but it doesn’t that the population in the United States consumes an average of about 170 pounds of sugar annually. That means a bunch of people eat less (like my family and probably yours) so many others are eating even more.

The way society is eating shows in our health statistics. In all our history, we’ve never been sicker. Cases of diabetes, heart disease, obesity (and childhood obesity), neurological disorders, behavioral disorders, autoimmune diseases, and cancer are out of control. Consider this:

1890: 3-in-100,000 people diagnosed with diabetes

2012: 8,000-in-100,000 people diagnosed with diabetes

Modern medical technology struggles to keep up with our sickening society but you can’t fix a problem like this with a machine or a pill. This requires an evaluation of what we’re eating, how much we’re eating, and what it’s doing to our health (as well as an adjustment in some important lifestyle factors like sleep, toxin exposure and stress).

The long-term effects of this seemingly harmless enemy are well documented. Countless studies show the dangers of sugar on human health, but have done nothing to change the massive use of it in our food supply. Even foods you wouldn’t necessarily consider “sweet” (like bread, yogurt, and oatmeal) are packed with sugar.

Sugar cravings have a scientific basis. In a shocking study in France, Dr. Serge Ahmed offered his rats a choice between table sugar and cocaine. They chose the sugar (and the resulting dopamine) just like so many of us do. You get the “high,” feel great, start to crash, and go for more sugar to get the “high” back again.

The Link Between Sugar and Cancer

You know what else loves sweets? Cancer cells.

When sugar molecules attach to the proteins in your body, it is called glycosylation. Cells like these are present in high quantities in most types of cancer tissue. Though they were identified long ago, the findings were ignored since they were believed to be harmless. It was only recently that scientists fit the pieces together. It changed everything they knew about the sugar-cancer connection.

Researchers with the University of Copenhagen confirmed that not only are these sugar byproducts present in tumors, they actively stimulate growth. Author Catharina Steentoft said, “It is a rather big step forward since it gives us an entirely new understanding of something we have worked many years to grasp. It guides our entire field of research towards new ways to proceed in the battle against cancer.” (3)

Simply put, cancer cells love sugar and grow really well when you eat it.

Here’s why: When you eat sugars (good and bad ones), your body produces insulin to regulate the effect on your blood, metabolism, and cell growth. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your pancreas must produce.

Eventually, your body doesn’t react to the insulin as effectively so your body makes even more. This is called insulin resistance and it’s a condition that 70 million Americans have that can eventually lead to full diabetes when the pancreas finally fails.

Healthy and cancerous cells use the hormone insulin to fuel growth so the more you have, the more cancer grows, multiplies, and spreads.

Harvard Medical School Cancer Center researchers found that 80% of all cancers mutate and mimic the effect of insulin. Their current focus is the creation of an insulin inhibitor for use in cancer treatment protocols. (4)

This may be part of the reason that cancer rates and diabetes rates seem to be rising at about the same pace.

University Rey Juan Carlos researchers identified that catenin, a protein used in the formation and growth rate of cancer cells, relies solely on blood sugar levels.

The findings, published in Molecular Cell, were explained by team member Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez. “We were surprised to realize that changes in our metabolism caused by dietary sugar impact our cancer risk. Changing diet is one of easiest prevention strategies that can potentially save a lot of suffering and money.” (5)

There is no doubt that we’re all getting too much sugar in our diets. We need to get off this up and down “sugar high” ride and kick the habit for good

Experts estimate that more than half of the cancers diagnosed in the world are preventable. Removing refined sugars from your daily eating plan is an excellent step in the right direction.

There are several new ways that experts are fighting cancer in 26 countries around the world, and some astonishing methods being used that are virtually unknown in the United States.

I recently found out about a new docu-series called The Truth About Cancer that delves into effective cancer treatments used around the world with amazing results. If you’re interested in learning more about the link between cancer and sugar and some of these new treatment methods, I’d recommend checking out this 9-part series (it will screen online at no cost in a couple of weeks- check out the trailer here).

1. United States Department of Agriculture; USDA to Deregulate Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Consumption of Added Sugars Among US Adults
3. Science Daily; Specific Sugar Molecule Causes Growth of Cancer Cells
4. The New York Times; Is Sugar Toxic?
5. Science Daily; Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer

How much sugar does your family consume? Were you aware of the link between sugar and cancer? Share below!

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