The statement that refined sugar causes cancer may seem to you to be overly aggressive. Allow me to modify it. I was too conservative.
Refined sugar is a cause of cancer; a hindrance to cancer treatment and recovery; and, increases the risk of cancer recurrence.
In an interview on 60 Minutes, Lewis C Cantley, PhD, director of the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, said that when we eat or drink sugar it causes a sudden spike in the hormone insulin. This spike in insulin can serve as a catalyst to fuel certain types of cancers. According to Cantley as much as 80% of all cancers are driven by factors that work to enhance or mimic the effect of insulin on the incipient tumor cells.
Cantley is a highly renowned cancer researcher. He is acclaimed for his discovery and study of the enzyme PI3k – a specific insulin-signaling gene responsible for the insulin/cancer connection.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, you have probably learned of the connection between cancer and the mutation of genes that are part of your genetic code.
Carcinogens and possibly inherited mutated genes create cells in your body that have a predisposition toward cancer. According to Cantely in 80% of cancers, once the necessary genes have mutated, there is one other condition that must be present for the cell to become cancerous – insulin resistance.
The mutation of the genes is like setting up a row of dominoes. To set the dominoes in motion, the first domino must be knocked over. Researchers now know that insulin resistance is a necessary catalyst that starts the domino effect.
Can this domino effect be avoided or stopped? Absolutely! To do this you need to make health style choices concerning your diet. It is important to have the knowledge of a few concepts of sugar biochemistry – the relationship between sucrose, glucose, fructose, insulin, insulin growth factor (IGF), and leptin.
There are three reasons that refined sugar is so dangerous.
- The speed in which refined sugar enters the bloodstream. This causes a vicious cycle of sugar highs followed by sugar lows. The sugar highs fuel cancer’s growth by allowing cancer cells to feast on glucose.
- The effect of elevated insulin levels in the bloodstream. Repeatedly overloading the bloodstream with sugar leads to insulin resistance – a condition where the body’s ability to respond to insulin is diminished. Insulin resistance is linked to the incidence and progression of several cancers.
- Fructose is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. There is a very strong link between excess fructose and obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
Lewis Cantley’s research team is working on developing drugs that will cut off the glucose supply to cancer cells and keep them from growing. Until there is a breakthrough, Cantley’s advice? Don’t eat sugar. And if you must, keep to a minimum. Cantley said: “I live my life that way. I rarely eat sugar.”
It is quite clear that if you want to avoid cancer, or are currently undergoing cancer treatment, you absolutely must avoid as much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup as possible.
What do you eat that contains high-fructose corn syrup?