It is safe to say that sugar consumption is perhaps the biggest threat to your health and the health of your family.
Americans continue to consume over 100 pounds of sugar per year and the majority of this is in the form of beverages and other products sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. As a result, obesity, heart disease and cancer numbers are at an all-time high.
What We Know About Sugar and Cancer
Thanks to forward thinking research on cancer and sugar, there are certain things we now know for sure:
- We know that cancer cells have more receptor sites for glucose that regular healthy cells, leading to the obvious (and scientifically verified) conclusion that glucose feeds cancer cells. Foods that are high in sugar of any form should be avoided to prevent “feeding” cancer tumors.
- We also know that out of the three basic forms that sugar comes in— glucose, sucrose and fructose─ the worst for your health is also the one that is consumed the in the form of processed sugary foods, processed carbohydrate foods and sweetened beverages. Straight fructose does not metabolize in the same way that glucose does; instead of being converted into energy your body can use, much of it is quickly turned to fat. Fructose normally comes in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup today, which has been shown in studies to affect the hypothalamus and other pathways in the brain in addition to a laundry list of other detrimental effects. Sucrose, or basic table sugar, is a combination of both glucose and fructose. It is especially hard to process since the body must separate out glucose and fructose molecules before it can process it fully. Furthermore, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sucrose are synthetically made and rob your body of essential trace minerals. Both should be avoided completely if you are on a healthy breast protocol.
All this being said, there is still much to learn about the nuances of how fructose and glucose work in the body. One thing is becoming increasingly clear, however. New research is discovering that the way the body responds to fructose, especially in its High-Fructose Corn Syrup and sucrose (table sugar) forms, is markedly different than how it responds to glucose from natural foods.
The MD Anderson Cancer Center Study
A groundbreaking study published this month (January 2016) in the online version of the journal Cancer Research was the first to investigate the effects of sugar consumption specifically on the growth of breast cancer tumors.
The study found that sucrose consumption had an effect on the enzymatic pathway known as 12-lipxygenase. The trickledown effect of this effect was an increased production of the fatty acid 12-HETE, increased breast tumor growth and increased metastasis of breast cancer cells into the lungs.
“We found that sucrose intake in mice comparable to levels of Western diets led to increased tumor growth and metastasis, when compared to a non-sugar starch diet,” stated study researcher Peiying Yang, Ph.D. of the MD Andersen Cancer Center department of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine at the University of Texas.
“We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors,” said the study co-author Dr. Lorenzo Cohen.
The study was also significant because it was one of the first to look solely at factors that cause an inflammatory response as it relates to sugar. Other sugar-cancer studies have looked primarily at glucose and energy-based metabolic pathways.
The consumption of fructose as High Fructose Corn Syrup has risen significantly over the last 50 years. In fact, the Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals study showed that between 1994-1996, the average person had a daily “added sugars” intake of 79 grams or almost 16 teaspoons, which is 15% of their total energy intake. The term “added sugars” mostly means added fructose. It is not surprise that, during this same time, the number of individuals with obesity, heart disease and cancer has risen significantly as well.
But are all sugars equally dangerous? What about sugars found in fruit and vegetables?
Stay tuned for next week’s blog where we will take a look at new research on “chirality” (molecular mirror imaging) and how this relates to the sugar-cancer connection.
What about eating fruits? Is this good or bad for cancer patients? Thank you.
Any fruit in moderation is good. Especially green apples, lemons, limes and occasionally berries (blueberries).