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Do Cancer Cells Thrive On Sugar

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Choose The Right Carbs

Cancer Prevention & Treatment | Dr. Goldhamer

I recently wrote a piece for Fitness Magazine about carbs and cancer. I share my thoughts on a new study that suggests swapping out fast carbs for slow carbs could help lower cancer risk. The researchers discovered that regularly drinking sugar-sweetened beverages was linked to a 3 times higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Eating plenty of slow carbs such as vegetables, beans and whole grains seemed to lower breast cancer risk by 67 percent.

A Steady Supply Of Sugar Is Good News For Colorectal Cancer

The current thought is that sugar is harmful to our health mainly because consuming too much can lead to obesity. Research shows that obesity increases the risk of many types of cancer including colorectal cancer however, the question remained: can sugar directly feed cancer, boosting their growth?

I have been working to answer this question since I was a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Lewis Cantley at Weill Cornell Medicine, said Dr. Jihye Yun, now an assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. We began by generating a model of early-stage colon cancer by genetically engineering mice to lack the APC gene.

The APC gene is a gatekeeper in colorectal cancer. Deleting this protein is like removing the breaks of a car. Without it, normal intestinal cells neither stop growing nor die, forming early stage tumors called polyps. More than 90 percent of colorectal cancer patients have this type of APC mutation, Yun explained.

Using this mouse model of the disease, the team tested the effect of consuming sugar-sweetened water on tumor development. The sweetened water was 25 percent high-fructose corn syrup, which is the main sweetener of sugary drinks people consume. High-fructose corn syrup consists of glucose and fructose at a 45:55 ratio.

How sugar promotes cancer growth

Read all the details of this study in the journal Science.

Does An Alkaline Diet Prevent Cancer

The alkaline diet is one that has proved to be popular in celebrity culture, with claims that the diet can help protect the body against medical conditions such as cancer and arthritis, as well as help you lose weight. The diet is supposedly able to protect you against cancer because it reduces the amount of acid your body produces. This theory is based on the claim that cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment and cant survive in alkaline surroundings, so an alkalizing diet would promote a more alkaline environment in the body and prevent cancer from developing. However, there are problems with this claim.

  • The studies finding that cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment were done in a laboratory setting. Your body is very good at maintaining its pH levels, without dietary influence. It would be nearly impossible to alter the cell environment to create a less-acidic environment in our bodies. For example, the stomach is very acidic for proper digestion, so we wouldnt want it more alkaline.
  • Our acid-base balance is well regulated blood pH is tightly controlled normally by the body between 7.35 and 7.45. If the pH level becomes too acidic or alkaline, that could be life threatening and is typically an indication of a serious health problem, though its not the underlying cause.
  • Read Also: What Juice Has The Least Amount Of Sugar

    Are High Protein Diets Safe To Eat

    Due to the popularity of high-protein diets like paleo, Atkins and keto, research has been conducted to determine whether this type of diet affects cancer risk. A California study of more than 6,000 people 50 and older suggests that middle-aged people who ate a high-protein diet had an increased risk of developing cancer compared to those who ate low-protein. However, the protein source is important to note animal protein posed more of a risk, while plant-based protein was somewhat safer. Its best to practice moderation and eat a variety of foods, with the majority of your protein coming from lean meats and plant-based foods.

    Explain Why Its Hard To Starve Cancer Of Sugar Just By Changing Your Diet

    Natural Cures Not Medicine: Research Shows Cancer Cells ...

    Because your body has this interesting fail-safe system that never lets your blood glucose level drift below a certain number. So eating less sugar will just make the body use its remaining resources to produce the glucose on its own.

    Everything about your biology has been naturally selected for at least 600 million years to make sure that no matter what you eat, you keep enough glucose in your system and dont become deficient. So its very hard to affect the system by changing your diet.

    Read Also: Does Rice Spike Blood Sugar

    A Lifestyle Strategy To Keep Cancer At Bay

    Research shows that extended periods of high blood sugar and high insulin, the hormone that helps manage blood sugar, may influence cancer cell growth rather than any one particular food.

    To keep the risk of cancer low and to slow down growth of existing cancer, you can adopt a lifestyle that keeps blood sugar consistently in a healthy range. The American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Societyrecommend that you:

    • Choose high-fiber carbohydrates that dont spike blood sugar like whole fruits, beans, lentils, vegetables, whole grains and fresh herbs.
    • Avoid quickly digested carbohydrates that raise blood sugar fast including soda, juice, candy and desserts.
    • Balance meals and snacks to include protein, fiber and healthy fats these components slow down digestion and blood sugar spikes.
    • Get moving! Exercise and physical activity throughout the day naturally lower blood sugar as glucose is used to fuel muscles.
    • Manage stress. Stress raises blood sugar even without food! Make time for relaxing activities like nature walks, puzzles and time with friends.

    Say No To Sugary Drinks

    I dont care if youre drinking flavoured green tea, vitamin water or some other concoction you think is healthy. If your drink has sugar added to it, put it down and think twice about buying it again. Make your own sugar-free drinks like hot or iced green tea or herbal tea. Carry a cute bottle around with you and fill it with water and lemon or lime slices. Make your own fruit-infused water like Strawberry Kiwi Basil with my yummy DIY spa water recipes!

    Read Also: How Much Sugar Does Beer Have In It

    A 2020 Success Story The Uk Governments Obesity Strategy

    Were delighted that the sugar tax , which came into effect in April 2018, has been successful in removing a huge amount of sugar from fizzy drinks and our diets. This alongside other measures announced in the UK Governments 2020 obesity strategy should help to prevent millions of cases of overweight and obesity, and cancers linked to excess weight in the future, by reducing the amount of sugar the nation consumes.

    But the Government hasnt made much progress in its plan to reduce the amount of sugar in the types of foods that are very popular with children. Four years into the programme, industry has failed to meet the voluntary targets set by Government, showing that a voluntary approach just isnt effective. This is also true for front-of-pack nutrition labelling where we want to see a consistent and mandatory approach.

    Its also essential that reducing free sugars in our diets alongside other public health considerations be put at the forefront of the UK Governments upcoming trade deal negotiations in 2020 and beyond.

    How Can I Cut Down On Free Sugar

    Sugar and Cancer: Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

    Its free sugar were mainly concerned with when it comes to weight gain, not sugar that is naturally found in foods like fruits and milk or healthy starchy foods like wholegrains and pulses .

    One of the easiest ways to lower your added sugar is to cut down on sugary drinks, which are the largest source of sugar in the UK diet.

    Some sugary drinks, such as fizzy drinks and energy drinks, can have more than the recommended daily maximum amount of free sugar in one serving alone. And while these extra calories promote weight gain, they offer no other nutritional benefits.

    Other obviously sugary foods such as sweets, chocolate, cakes and biscuits are all best kept as treats too. But some foods that have hidden high amounts of added sugar may surprise you. Some breakfast cereals, ready meals , pasta sauces and yoghurts can have shocking amounts of sugar added to them. Reading nutrition information labels and checking the ingredients list can help you choose lower sugar options.

    While there are steps you and your family can take to cut down on added sugar, making these changes can be easier said than done. And its here that governments need to lend a hand.

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    Cancer Cells Thrive On Eating Sugar

    September 8, 2015 by Health Reversal

    Cancer cells are obligate glucose metabolizers. As they metabolize glucose, they excrete a lactic acid by-product which further increases the acidity in the body, thus creating an ideal environment for cancer to grow and spread.

    With this in mind, one way to seriously weaken a cancer cell is by cutting off its supply of simple sugars and the foods that the body can easily convert into glucose such as processed foods, white flour, refined grains, white potatoes, white rice, and highly glycemic fruits.

    One example of how modern medicine knowingly exploits this weakness to glucose is through the use of the radioactive glucose dye that is injected into the body to perform a PET scan that checks for cancerous growths. The dye is called fluroxydiglucose or FDG, and it has radio isotopes that are attached to sugar molecules. Cancer cells have 10 to 20 times more insulin receptors than healthy cells which only have 2. This allows the cancerous cells to gobble up the radioactive dye mixture and then light up during the scan to reveal cancerous growths or any changes in tumor size.

    Sugar and its link to heart disease and inflammation

    • white or brown sugars
    • beet sugar
    • lactose

    Ways to reduce your consumption- There are other ways to sweeten your foods which will not cause the spike in the glycemic index that refined sugar will, but the overall goal is to limit your use of all sweeteners and break the sugar habit.

    • real maple syrup
    • coconut sugar

    What Is The Alkaline Diet

    The alkaline diet is where an individual consumes food and drink that is categorized as alkaline. This means that on the pH scale* the item has a pH between 7-14. The aim is to reduce the amount of acidic food and drink consumed. The diet is derived from the notion that the different foods we eat affect the overall pH balance of our bodies. A quick search on Google for alkaline diet or pH diet results in hundreds of thousands of hits, so yes, it is very popular. The diet is also known as the alkaline ash diet, or the alkaline acid diet. Food is considered alkaline or acid based on laboratory combustion of the food.**

    Recommended Reading: What’s The Recommended Amount Of Sugar Per Day

    If Sugar Doesnt Cause Cancer Why Worry About It

    If cutting out sugar doesnt help treat cancer, why then do we encourage people to cut down on sugary foods in our diet advice?

    Thats because there is an indirect link between cancer risk and sugar. Eating lots of sugar over time can cause you to gain weight, and robust scientific evidence shows that being overweight or obese increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer. In fact, obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, which weve written about many times before.

    Copy this link and share our graphic. Credit: Cancer Research UK

    And a study published in 2019 suggested there could be something else going on. Researchers found that people who drank more sugary drinks had a slightly increased risk of cancer, regardless of body weight. The study took weight in to account, but there are still lots of answered questions. More studies will be needed to investigate this.

    Glutam Prevents Cancer Cells From Metabolizing Glutamine

    Does my sugar intake increase my chances of getting cancer ...

    L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Your body needs it for ensuring nitrogen balance, maintaining gut integrity, and keeping your immune system strong.

    Unfortunately glutamine also is avidly used by cancer cells in many ways. It is metabolized for fuel. In fact, one reason cancer can grow when you are on a no sugar, low carb diet is because it will burn glutamine in place of glucose sugar to make the energy it needs.

    Glutamine also supplies nitrogen to cancer cells so that they can function correctly, and in general, promotes the growth of cancer cells. Even more importantly, it unfortunately helps cancer cells thwart efforts to destroy them.

    There are three primary actions using glutamine that protect cancer cells and enable them to grow and thrive.

    First, glutamine stimulates production of glutathione in cancer cells. Glutathione is a major antioxidant enzyme. You want to have glutathione, lots of it, in healthy cells. However glutathione protects cancer cells from free radical damage. Many types of chemotherapy kill cancer cells by causing free radical damage the DNA in cancer cells.

    When cells have plentiful glutamine, they can make enough glutathione to prevent destruction.

    Cancer cells deal with this in two primary ways. They pump out of the cell as much lactic acid as they can. And they metabolize glutamine. When glutamine is metabolized, ammonia is produced. Researchers have discovered that ammonia will neutralize acid buildup.

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    How Do Cancer Cells Grow

    While sugar does feed cancer, the true picture of how cancer cells grow is a “lot more complicated than that,” says University of New South Wales cancer biologist Dr Darren Saunders.

    He says there’s strong evidence some cancer cells also feed on amino acids or lipids .

    These sources are used as metabolic fuel to power the cell’s necessary processes, and as raw materials for building new cells, in much the same way sugar might be used.

    But they also have a secondary purpose helping cancer cells protect themselves against chemical damage.

    It’s a complex picture different cancer cell types using different fuel sources at different times. But that mirrors the direction cancer diagnosis and treatment is heading in, Dr Saunders says.

    “We’re looking more and more at differences within individual cancers between patients, rather than trying to treat them all with a blunt instrument.”

    Cancer And Sugar: Is There A Link

    You might have heard that sugar causes cancer or makes it grow faster. In some ways, this makes sense. Every cell in your body uses blood sugar for energy. But cancer cells use about 200 times more than normal cells. Tumors that start in the thin, flat cells in your lungs gobble up even more glucose. They need huge amounts of sugar to fuel their growth.

    The sugar your cells need comes from your diet. And not just from gooey desserts or giant white chocolate mochas. Sugar is also found in:

    • Fruit
    • Dairy products
    • Carbs like bread, pasta, and rice

    What would happen if you cut out these foods? Would that slow cancer or stop it from forming in the first place?

    So far, thereâs not much proof that a low-sugar or low-carb diet lowers your chance of cancer. One exception is cancer of the esophagus, the tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. A recent study suggests that sugar and sweetened drinks may raise the chances of this cancer by 70% or more.

    Also Check: Is Ketel One Vodka Sugar Free

    Flying Under The Radar

    Our study raises questions about the sensitivity of these scans, Patti says. Perhaps cancer cells can live off fats floating in the blood rather than making them all out of glucose, particularly in the case of obese or diabetic patients whose blood lipid concentrations can be higher than normal.

    Could this allow cancer cells to fly under the radar, leading to false negatives?

    Because of the glucose hypothesis, scientists have devoted a lot of attention to developing cancer therapies that inhibit either glucose metabolism or lipid synthesis. But if the assumption is wrong, would blocking glucose metabolism slow cell growth? Wouldnt the cells just scavenge lipids from their surroundings?

    To test this possibility, the scientists tried dosing their cell lines with 2DG, a glucose molecule with a hydrogen atom substituted for a hydroxyl group that gets stuck in the pathway that breaks down glucose. They found that if they spiked the cultures with lipids as well, 2DG was much less effective in slowing the growth of cancer cells.

    This finding challenges the reasoning behind one strategy for killing cancer cells, Patti says. 2DG is now in clinical trials.

    If the findings suggest that cancer cells might not respond as hoped to drugs that block the glucose uptake, it also suggests blocking lipid uptake might be effective.

    Which Foods Are Considered Alkaline And Which Arent

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    Generally, vegetables, fruits and seeds are considered to be alkaline, whilst meats, beans, nuts and grains are acidic. So, an alkaline diet would be rich in vegetables and fruit with little meat consumption. Dairy, eggs and processed foods arent considered alkaline and would be avoided in this diet. A diet focused on plant-based ingredients is similar to AICRs diet recommendations for lowering cancer risk with red meat limited to no more than 18 oz. per week, and avoiding processed meat.

    However, some very healthy foods are listed as acidic such as whole grains, beans and even some vegetables such as carrots. So keep it simple and follow AICRs New American Plate to lower cancer risk simply by filling at least 2/3 of your plate with vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and 1/3 or less with meat, poultry and fish.

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