|Medical Researchers Finally Admit
Sugar Can Condemn You to Cancer
Ever get so frustrated at trying to communicate and get through to someone that you feel like you’re talking to a wall?
For years, that’s pretty much how I’ve felt as I’ve reported how the massive amounts of sugar so many of us eat puts us at extra risk for cancer. I hope the advice has helped a great many readers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reach the people who could do the most good if they took it to heart – mainstream doctors.
I’m glad to report that there are finally some cracks in that stubborn wall.
Seems like at least a few medical researchers are starting to see there’s so much evidence linking our national sweet tooth to our national epidemic of cancer, they can no longer pretend the connection doesn’t exist.
An example of the recent research that underlines the dangers of sugar is a study at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. This study shows that the sugars glucose and fructose fuel pancreatic cancer, one of the quickest growing and most deadly of cancers.1
“The bottom line is the modern diet contains a lot of refined sugar including fructose and it’s a hidden danger implicated in a lot of modern diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver,” warns researcher Anthony Heaney.
And it doesn’t matter which kind of sugar you are consuming. The glucose found in many starchy foods feeds cancer and so does the fructose that is used to flavor soft drinks and other sweets.
“In (our) study, we show that cancers can use fructose just as readily as glucose to fuel their growth,” Heaney says.
The UCLA researchers also point out that high fructose corn syrup, the inexpensive sweetener that food companies love because it is so cheap, represents more than 40 percent of the sweeteners dumped into processed foods.
Americans eat stupefying amounts of sugar
Since 1970, Americans have increased their intake of high fructose corn syrup by a factor of ten. It is estimated that today, on average, we consume about 35 pounds or more of high fructose corn syrup a year. That’s almost three pounds a month. And someone else is eating my three pounds because I don’t touch the stuff.
When it comes to total sugar consumption, Americans each take in, on average, a shocking 100 pounds a year or more. That’s almost two pounds every week!
The UCLA research compared how pancreatic cancer cells react to either glucose or fructose. They found the cells could tell the difference and, although they processed the sugars differently, they could use either one to fuel their life-threatening growth.
The cancer cells found the fructose to be handy for helping to generate what are called nucleic acids – genetic building blocks that they incorporate into their RNA and DNA. These are necessary for the cancers to rapidly reproduce themselves and invade organs throughout the body.
Heaney believes that fructose is so dangerous – especially for people who already have cancer – that the country needs an anti-high fructose corn syrup publicity effort similar to our anti-smoking campaigns.
Certain types of cancer have a special love for sugar
While sugar represents a welcome feast to many cancers, it can be particularly desirable to some of the most deadly ones.
Like squamous cell carcinoma.
“It has been suspected that many cancer cells are heavily dependent on sugar as their energy supply, but it turns out that one specific type — squamous cell carcinoma — is remarkably more dependent,” says researcher Dr. Jung-whan “Jay” Kim, who teaches at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Dr. Kim’s research investigated how squamous cell carcinoma in the lungs, a non-small cell lung cancer that represents almost a third of all lung cancers, feeds off of sugar. (Non-small cell lung cancers are the most prevalent form of lung cancers.)
His results are unsettling. They contrast the growth patterns of the non-small cell lung cancer called adenocarcinoma (ADC) with squamous cell carcinoma (SQCC).
The study demonstrated that SQCC possesses a lot of a particular protein that transports sugar. This protein shovels glucose into the cancer cells to fuel their activity – similar to the way coal used to be shovelled into steam engines. This sugar-fuelling process sends the cancer into high gear.
The scientists also found that squamous cell cancers in the neck, head, cervix and oesophagus are big sugar consumers.
“This type of cancer clearly consumes a lot of sugar,” Kim says.
He adds, “As a culture, we are very addicted to sugar. Excessive sugar consumption is not only a problem that can lead to complications like diabetes, but also, based on our studies and others, the evidence is mounting that some cancers are also highly dependent on sugar.”
To which I say – “No kidding!”
Sugar and breast cancer
Research at M.D. Anderson in Texas has other researchers warning that our off-the-charts sugar intake is one reason our rates of breast cancer are so high.
Their tests show that when a woman’s diet is rich in sugar, it spurs the growth of breast tumors and accelerates the risk that the cancer cells will start spilling out into the lungs and other parts of the body.
“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,” says Anderson researcher Lorenzo Cohen. (12-HETE is a fatty acid made by cancer cells that helps them spread and become more deadly.2)
Disturbingly, this research also shows that consuming fructose (high fructose syrup I’m looking at you!) leads to bigger breast tissue tumors and tumors that are more aggressive at clawing their way into the lungs.3
Long list of dangers
If you don’t get a little queasy at the cancer risks linked to our sugary meals and snacks, you should also remember some of the other reasons to cut way back on sugar:
· Studies show that taking in high amounts of sugar generally shortens your life expectancy.4
· As you get older, eating sugary foods increases inflammation in your body as soon as the sugar you swallow reaches your digestive tract. It interferes with the way your body processes other nutrients and epigenetically alters how the genes operate in the cells of the intestinal walls.5
Of course, when it comes to inflammation, I get inflamed at how slowly the medical folks have recognized the dangers of sugar. But maybe now that some members of the cancer research “in crowd” are waking up to these risks, the rest of the establishment will be forced to pay attention.
If you want to eat something healthy, this time of year provides one of the best choices: tomatoes. And tomatoes contain a great many good nutrients besides lycopene, which gets all the press. If you missed this story in our last issue, you can read it now just below. . .