Sugar and Cancer: The Connection
Sugar and cancer …? Don’t laugh. They’re partners in crime.
Most of us know that cancer is a leading cause of death in many of the industrialised countries today. So be open to (old) new findings.
Obesity is on the rise not just in adults but now even among youngsters below 10. The major factors that contribute to both diseases are usually elevated levels of insulin and leptin.
What exactly is insulin?
Insulin is a vital hormone that plays a key role in the regulation of blood sugar levels; without it, a person could go into a hyper-glycemic coma that can lead to death. Today, too many people have insulin levels that are much too high.
How does insulin work?
After consuming carbohydrates, your blood sugar rises. Your pancreas triggers the release of insulin. The role of insulin is to ensure that your cells receive the necessary blood sugar that keeps your body functioning and then stores the rest of the blood sugar as glycogen and fat.
When you consume more carbohydrates, your pancreas secretes more insulin. More insulin will cause the body to use more carbohydrates, but less fat, as fuel. Any surplus carbohydrates is converted into fat that is subsequently stored. In a nutshell, when you consume too much carbohydrates, you’re actually instructing your body (adipose cells) to use insulin to store fat.
The more insulin your pancreas secretes, the fatter you get.
The increased levels of insulin will result in your body storing more carbohydrates as fat. At the same time, it also instructs the body not to release any previously stored fat. As a result of this, it would be virtually impossible for you to use any of your previously stored fat as energy.
Therefore, consumption of too much carbohydrates not only results in making you fat, it also ensures that you remain fat.
In order to use excess fat (previously stored fat) for energy, you must control insulin levels. Diets that are high in refined carbohydrates cause the pancreas to secrete more insulin that results in 2 things: storage of excess carbohydrates, and not converting previously stored fat to be used for fuel.
The Over Production of Insulin due to Excess Refined Carbohydrate is a major cause of the vast majority of Chronic and Degenerative Diseases
High levels of insulin in your body is very bad news. It can cause serious health problems that include:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- elevated cholesterol and lipid levels
The Sugar and Cancer Connection:
Insulin influences Cancer Cells
Cancer cells that are active and growing can swamp other cells. This action cuts off access to the blood vessels that carry the vital oxygen that feed them.
However, when this occurs, there are some cancer cells that have mutated to such an extent that they are even able to bypass their requirement for oxygen. Instead, they switch to using the glycolytic (break-down of sugar) pathway, which they continue to use, even in the presence of restored oxygen supply.
Harvard Medical School Research:
Researchers may have found an effective therapy against cancer: blocking the enzyme LDHA, one of the enzymes in the glycolytic (break-down of sugar) pathway.
What these researchers did
They blocked LDHA thus shutting down glycolysis (break-down of sugar) in breast cancer cells. They then implanted these cells in a group of mice. In this group, there were 2 deaths, at 16 and 18 weeks. At the end of the 4-month research, 80% of these LDHA-deficient mice were still alive.
There was another group of mice, the control group, that was riddled with tumour cells fed on a full glycolytic pathway. These control mice died within 10 weeks.
Harvard Research Conclusion: The weak link in the glycolytic pathway could be LDHA. Therefore, removing the glycolytic pathway from cancerous cells could deprive them of the fuel they require to proliferate.
The deadly Sugar and Cancer Connection:
Your risk of contracting cancer increases as the levels of your blood sugar rise.
Some 80 years ago, Otto Heinrich Warburg, a German physician and one of the 20th century’s leading biochemist, was awarded a Nobel Prize for discovering that cancer cells depend on sugar as its source of fuel.
When most of our great grand parents were still living, the medical world were exposed to this important information. So today, we should be thankful that researchers at Harvard have confirmed this again.
With this knowledge, what can you do ~ proactively?
So what you need to do now is to control whatever (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity) you may be suffering from. How? From a modern point of view, it may seem silly and drastic, but here it is:
The Sugar and Cancer Connection:
Avoid ALL sugars and most grains.
Avoid cakes, pastries, stodge.
All sugars. That includes honey, maple syrup, most fruits, sugar, sugars in sodas and soft drinks, drinks and foods with hidden sugars, alcohol and fruit juices.
Sugar is sugar, whether it’s premium organic or cheap refined white-label. Your pancreas is not brand sensitive. It is sugar sensitive.
All grains, even the organic ones and the ‘new’ ancient grains like quinoa, spelt, amaranth and spelt will cause your insulin levels to rise.
Then there’s stodge made from grains ~ cakes, pastries, biscuits, cookies, pasta.
Implement An Effective Exercise Program
In addition to cutting out the offending food items above, an effective exercise program is important.
Studies have shown that exercise is associated with lower incidences of cancer. Exercise helps improve insulin and leptin sensitivity. This in turn, helps to keep your fasting blood sugar level below the 100 level which seems to be the level above which the risks of cancer increase dramatically.
The Sugar and Cancer Connection:
Are you moving away from cancer?
Finally, you will want to know if you are going in the correct direction – away from cancer. How do you find out?
Visit your doctor for a fasting blood insulin test. A normal fasting blood insulin level is below 5. You’ll know you are safe if it’s below 5. Ideally you’ll want to be below 3.
Cancer is no joke. It is debilitating, for the patient and for those who care for, and who love him/her. The physical and emotional suffering is immense.
Don’t go that route. Take preventive measures NOW, now that you know about the sugar and cancer connection.
© Helen Chow, ND
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