Sugar Doesn’t Just Feed Cancer Cells, It Produces Them

It’s
not breaking news that too much sugar in your diet can lead to serious health
concerns such as diabetes and obesity. In fact, there have been lots of
questions regarding sugar’s relationship to cancer.  We know that sugar
consumption can impact our insulin levels which, in turn, can lead to chronic
disease but… does too much sugar directly cause cancer?


 

While
researchers are continuing to try to understand and investigate the connection
between sugar and cancer, we do know that the power of a healthy, low sugar
diet has powerful health benefits.

So let’s learn
some important facts to understand how sugar can affect cancer cells!

 

How Does Cancer
Grow?

Our healthy
cells are programmed by their DNA to follow the body’s rules so-to-speak. This
means that they follow a healthy pattern of growth and replication as the body
sees fit. A cancer cell is first created when a gene mutation happens to a
healthy cell or a small group of cells.

Once a cell
has mutated its original healthy programming or signals become faulty, leading
the cell to start to grow and multiply too much and form a lump called a tumor.

As tumors grow
and their cancer cells multiply, they need an increasingly larger blood supply.
 In order to do this, they send out special signals to recruit the
formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) to continue to help them
grow. Once a cancerous mass can stimulate blood vessel growth, it can grow
bigger and grow more quickly.

Cancer cells, just like our healthy
cells, need oxygen and nutrients to grow and survive. Glucose is the sugar our
bodies use most and is used as energy to feed every cell in the
body, healthy or cancerous.  Having a glucose supply to feed our
cells is so important that even without any carbohydrates in your diet, your
body can make glucose from other sources like protein and fat.

 

So Does Sugar
Actually Feed Cancer Cells?

We know that
too much sugar isn’t good for us, but does sugar directly feed cancer? The
short answer is yes – but as we just learned, sugar feeds EVERY cell in our
bodies! This is where things get a little confusing…

There is an
important difference between too much sugar in your diet creating
an environment that may lead to more cancer growth and sugar directly
feeding cancer cells leading them to grow.

Research has
shown that sugar’s relationship to higher insulin levels and related growth factors
is what may influence cancer cell growth the most, and increase the risk
of other chronic diseases. So you can think of this as too much sugar creating
a more toxic environment which can promote cancer growth.

Many types of
cancer cells have plenty of insulin receptors, making them respond more than
normal cells to insulin’s ability to promote growth.

Furthermore, obesity, diabetes, and chronic overeating have had a
positive correlation to the growth and development of cancer cells but
not necessarily a direct causal link. According to the Canadian Cancer
Society, being obese can cause changes in hormone levels – such as sex
hormones or insulin – which increase the risk of developing
breast, colon or uterine cancer.

 

What You Should
Do

Sugar has been related to a multitude of health problems, including
diabetes, heart disease, stroke, immobility, elevated triglycerides and
high blood pressure. A balanced lifestyle and cutting out refined sugars
from soda and processed foods is a good start to decreasing your risk
of cancer cell growth, as well as those other conditions.

1. Focus on a
Balanced Diet

Consume your daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.
Ensure you are getting enough fiber, iron, and protein in your diet. Do
not drink fruit juices that have added sugar, and use natural sweeteners
such as honey or stevia, and avoid high-fructose corn syrup and
genetically modified sugar or sugar replacement such as aspartame.

2. Eat the Right Amount of Sugar

For women,
have no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) of sugar each day, for men, have no
more than nine teaspoons per day (37 grams); this equals to 100 calories for
women and 150 for men. The majority of people in America eat over double that
amount, averaging at around 22 teaspoons per day.

3. Watch for
Hidden Sugars

Fructose,
lactose, sucrose, maltose, glucose and dextrose are all forms of sugar you
can find on the Nutritional Facts label on the back of your next meal.

Other natural sugars: Molasses, agave nectar, honey
and maple syrup are natural sugars and contain antioxidants that can
protect your body from cancer. But consume these in moderation, as they
contain the same amount of calories as any other kind of sweetener.

4. Move More

Regular
exercise decreases insulin resistance and helps you maintain a healthy body
weight. Research suggests that lean, active people can consume a higher GI
(Glycemic Index) diet without increased cancer risk.

Remember that
finding something you enjoy and can do consistently is the key here – you don’t
need to go start running marathons!

Source:

  1. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/how-cancers-grow#bigger

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