The Link Between Sugar and Cancer

The Link Between Sugar and Cancer

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The Link Between Sugar and Cancer

Is there a link between sugar consumption and cancer? More specifically, does sugar cause cancer? If not, does eating sugar feed a cancer once it has started? Are there safe levels of sugar consumption?
While it is becoming apparent that added sugar is not good for us, it is being made abundantly clear that excess consumption is extremely damaging to our health. Incidences of cancer are up to double in patients classified as obese.

The link between sugar and obesity and type two diabetes has been conclusively established, but a definite link between sugar and cancer, either as a cause or a catalyst, is still being researched and strongly debated. Many researchers have undertaken studies to find the answers. Others will piggy-back off their findings and further increase our understanding of the effects of sugar on human cancers.

Excess Sugar Induces Cancer

Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez of the University Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid and a team of researchers studied patients with high levels of blood sugar for prolonged periods. They shed light on how persistently elevated glucose levels create a bodily environment that is conducive to the development of different cancers.

Excess sugar in the digestive system triggers the release of a hormone called GIP, which instigates the production of insulin. At the same time, it also increases the production of a protein called beta catenin. Levels of this protein are dependent on sugar levels and elevated levels have been proven to be cancer-inducing.

High Insulin Levels Promote Tumor Growth

Compounding this is the problem that increased insulin levels will also increase the level of inflammation which makes the body more prone to cancer. High insulin levels can induce tumor cell proliferation which takes place via the insulin signaling pathway called IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor).

Cancer Cells Need Sugar for Metabolism

Normal cells and cancer cells do not metabolize in the same manner. Normal cells require oxygen to be able to carry out their various metabolic processes while cancer cells function in an anaerobic environment. In other words, normal cells need oxygen while cancer cells despise oxygen.

Cancer cells instead metabolize through fermentation which is a process that requires sugar. In the presence of adequate sugar, the metabolism of cancer cells can be eight times greater than the metabolism of normal cells. Once these cancer cells establish a dwelling place inside the human body, they largely depend on the availability of glucose for them to continue to thrive.

Tumors Feed on Sugar

There are many claims that sugar feeds tumors. Palliative care patients often undergo exponential tumor growth as well-meaning caregivers provide sugary treats and drinks to the patient. Scientific research including a group of researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah have outlined why and how this occurs.

Their research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showing that tumor cells consume greater amounts of glucose compared to normal cells. Their research paper documented how the process of sugar feeding tumors takes place inside the body.

Sugar Deprivation May Lead to the Death of Cancer Cells

Another group of researchers lead by Dr. Thomas Graeber revealed how glucose starvation can activate a signaling amplification loop that can lead to the death of cancer cells. It is through the help of these discoveries about the significant link between sugar and cancer that some forms of alternative treatments are more commonly being recognized, although not totally accepted by all the mainstream medical community.

Cure and Prevention

While there has been much public pleading for a cure for cancer, emerging knowledge is shining a light on cancer prevention. There is an increasingly strong case being made that excess sugar consumption puts the body in a state that is conducive to the development of cancer cells. More and more we are realizing the importance of diet as our best medicine. Abstaining from added sugar may be one of the simplest and most powerful cancer preventions available.

The Link Between Sugar and Cancer
The Link Between Sugar and Cancer

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