June 22, 2024

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Sugar and cancer are inseparable

Sugar and cancer are inseparable

Sugar and cancer are inseparable. Can sugar cause cancer? Does sugar feed cancer cells? Is it reliable to starve cancer cells?

For many cancer patients, sugar is a topic that cannot be bypassed. Can sugar cause cancer? Does sugar feed cancer cells? Is it reliable to starve cancer cells? How does sugar in food and drink affect health, and what can we do?

In fact, sugar comes in many different forms. The simplest form is like a single molecule, such as glucose and fructose. In addition to simple monosaccharides, there are disaccharides such as maltose and lactose, up to complex starch, cellulose and so on. And our body largely depends on the work of sugar. Our body is made up of living cells that help us see, breathe, feel and think. Although their work in the body may be different, they all require energy to survive and perform their duties. And this energy mainly comes from glucose.

Cancer is also a disease of cells.



Sugar alone does not cause cancer

Sugar can inhibit human immunity, promote insulin release and cause obesity, thereby indirectly affecting the occurrence of cancer

A sugar-free diet does not reduce the risk of cancer or increase the chance of survival

Cancer patients need to pay attention to sugar intake in daily life, try to choose natural sugars and avoid contact with artificial sweeteners


Sugar and cancer are inseparable:

1. Cancer cells like sugar very much

Dr. Otto Warburg, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, found that cancer cells are more able to use glucose as fuel for life activities than healthy cells.

In fact, this is the basis for PET-CT to accurately determine the location of cancer. PET uses radiolabeled glucose to detect sugar-starved cancer cells. When a patient receives an intravenous injection of radiolabeled glucose, the cancer cells will preferentially ingest sugar, which is then shown in the imaging.

But sugar alone does not cause cancer. On the other hand, sugar is an important and necessary nutrient. Even cancer patients cannot be without sugar in their diet.



2. Sugar can suppress human immunity

Sugar can suppress a key immune response called phagocytosis.

In theory, consuming 10 teaspoons of sugar can reduce phagocytosis by 50%. The sugar in grains, the sugar in coffee and tea, salad dressings, ketchup, and sugary snacks and desserts can all significantly suppress the immune system.

In addition to the amount of sugar intake, the suppression process of immune function is also related to the time of sugar intake. A study found that the immune system was suppressed by nearly 38% within 1 hour after ingesting a proper amount of sugar; after 2 hours, the immune system was suppressed by 44%; within 5 hours, the immune function was not fully restored.

3. Sugar can promote the release of insulin

When any form of sugar is consumed, the pancreas releases insulin.

Take the breast as an example. The breast tissue contains insulin receptors, and insulin is a powerful stimulator of cell growth.

One study showed that high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) may actually be the cause of breast, prostate, endometrial, and pancreatic cancer.

Another extensive study conducted in 21 countries in Europe, North America and Asia showed that sugar intake is a strong risk factor leading to an increase in the incidence of breast cancer, especially in elderly women.

4. Sugar causes obesity

Sugar intake can severely affect obesity, which is a known cause of cancer. At the same time, obesity can also have a negative impact on survival. According to the American Cancer Institute, more than 100,000 cases of cancer are caused by excess body fat each year, including esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, gallbladder cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

Sugar and cancer are inseparable


Is it  possible to starve cancer cells?

If cancer cells need a lot of glucose, can removing sugar from the diet help stop the growth of cancer, or even stop the development of cancer?

Unfortunately, the truth is not that simple. All our healthy cells need glucose, and there is no way to make only healthy cells get the glucose they need, but cancer cells cannot get it.

There is also no evidence that following a sugar-free diet can reduce the risk of cancer or increase the chance of survival.


Currently, there are many studies on starving cancer cells to death. The latest research shows that if the signal transduction of insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 and the breakdown of protein are inhibited at the same time, it can almost completely inhibit the growth of lung tumors driven by KRAS. But the research is only carried out in human cells in vitro, and it is still at a very early stage.


Cancer patients should consume adequate sugar

Cancer patients should not and cannot completely remove sugar from their diet. There is no evidence that a low-carbohydrate diet can reduce cancer risk or help cancer treatment.

In the case of very low carbohydrate content, strict dietary restrictions may harm your health, because while removing sugar, it also removes sources of fiber and vitamins. Moreover, the cells in our body still need sugar to help maintain important organ functions.

But we must pay attention to the appropriate amount of sugar intake. According to the American Heart Association, women should not consume more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of sugar per day, and men should not consume more than 9 teaspoons (37 grams) per day. Of course, in addition to the visible sugar, the hidden sugar in some canned and processed foods cannot be ignored. Food labels usually indicate ingredient lists. If the sugar content is high, sugar will rank first, including fructose, lactose, sucrose, maltose, and glucose.

It should be noted that although there is currently no evidence that artificial sweeteners can definitely cause cancer, some animal experiments have found a connection between artificial sweeteners and cancer. It is best to avoid or limit the intake of artificial sweeteners.

Sum up 

For cancer patients, getting enough nutrition is very important to help their bodies cope with treatment. Cancer patients only need to pay attention to sugar intake in daily life, try to choose natural sugars and avoid contact with artificial sweeteners.

At the same time, developing healthy lifestyle habits and regular exercise can improve the ability of cells to use glucose. This can help keep blood sugar levels in a lower and more normal range, and help clear excess blood sugar, which would otherwise trigger more insulin production.

With regard to starving cancer cells, scientists are breaking through the “loopholes” in the use of energy by cancer cells and how to limit the use of energy by cancer cells. Research has been going on, let us look forward to it together!


(source:internet, reference only)

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