According to a study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, one ingredient which is typically found in a number of foods is the main culprit for over 35 million deaths around the globe annually. We’re referring to sugar and its hazardous effects on our overall health. The study showed that sugar is responsible for a wide array of health problems like diabetes, metabolic disorders, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, GERD, heart diseases even cancer. All of which can have serious, even deadly consequences.
The Journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study conducted by a team of experts from The Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah which revealed that the main factor which contributes to tumor appearance and development is sugar. Dr. Don Ayer, a well-known professor in the department for oncological sciences confirmed that this fact about sugar has been known in the scientific circles since 1923. Back then it was discovered that tumor cells require more glucose than normal cells to survive but no one looked into the matter deeper to find out how exactly this happens and if there is a way to stop or control tumor development. That’s why they decided to do this study and finally put an end to the dilemma whether sugar really feeds cancer or not. To their surprise, different studies supported this claim and showed that people with high glucose levels develop more cancer while people who already have cancer and also have high glucose levels in their blood have the lowest survival rate.
The link between sugar and cancer
We are all aware that all our cells need glucose, a form of sugar which is transformed into energy, healthy ones and cancerous alike. But cancer cells thrive on simple carbs, like refined sugars, usually found in junk food and sweets. The healthy cells in our organism break down the glucose into energy through a process called glycolysis, first converting the glucose into pyruvate which then goes through the mitochondria and in the presence of oxygen is transformed into energy.
Unlike the healthy cells, cancer cells can make their own glucose and convert it into energy without the need for oxygen. This process is called anaerobic glycolysis.
Anaerobic glycolysis creates a form of lactic acid as a waste product, which can only be broken down by the liver. Hence, this lactic acid goes from the cancer cells to the liver where it is broken down. The waste product of this process is again glucose, which then goes back to feed the cancer cell, in an endless cycle leading to cancer taking over our body. From the moment cancer cells appear in the organism they rely on this continuous process and the endless availability of glucose to thrive and multiply.
Unlike cancer cells which can only use sugar to thrive, our healthy cells can use other types of food, like healthy fats and fatty acids. Cancer cells are unable to metabolize large amounts of fatty acids or ketones and rely on sugars, which they can find in abundance. Cancer and refined sugars are linked in two ways – first they are a potential cause for cancer and once cancer cells appear they are the best food for their growth and development. Numerous health experts advise that the best and safest way to prevent and treat cancer is to eliminate this type of food (processed sugars) and starve cancer cells to death. Once their food supply is eliminated they will no longer be able to grow and multiply. This treatment for selective starvation of tumors by dietary modification (ketogenic diet) is one of the most important forms of therapy necessary for cancer patients to beat cancer. But it’s also the best way to prevent cancer from developing in the first place.
Eliminating sugars from our diet seems easy enough, cut back on cakes, candies, sodas, cookies and you’re good to go. However, the problem lies in the “hidden” sugars which abound in almost all foods we consume, even those labeled healthy and nutritious, like yogurts, cereals, whole-grains and even the much advertised low-fat products. Not even salads are free from this danger, almost all salad dressing contain abnormally high levels of sugar! That’s why you need to be extra careful, read the labels on the product and get well-informed if you want to protect yourself and preserve your health.