Tuesday, 1 July 2014

How sugar feeds cancer

An estimated 191,300 new cases of cancer and 76,600 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2014.  (1) 

Three years ago, researchers published findings showing that fructose is readily used by cancer cells to increase their proliferation (2).  Cancer cells did not respond to glucose in the same manner.  Although the theory that sugar feeds cancer was actually born nearly 80 years ago, most conventional cancer programs do not adequately address diet and the need to avoid sugars.  The 1931 Nobel laureate in medicine, German Otto Warburg, Ph.D., first discovered that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells in 1956.  Malignant tumors tend to use a process where glucose is used as a fuel by the cancer cells, creating lactic acid as a byproduct (3).  The fact that sugar, and fructose in particular, has been shown to be implicated as a culprit in the development of both heart disease and cancer as different sugars are metabolized using different metabolic pathways has been shown to contribute to the cancer cell proliferation.

The studies confirm that sugar feeds cancer because they found that tumor cells do thrive on sugar (glucose).  However, the cells used fructose for cell division, speeding up the growth and spread of the cancer.  This difference is clearly of major consequence, and should be carefully considered by anyone who is currently undergoing cancer treatment or seeking to prevent cancer.

This does not mean you should avoid fruits; the benefits of most fruits outweigh any concerns to fructose and should be eaten in moderation.  The real problem is the high fructose corn syrup that is added to practically every processed food and drink you see.

Controlling your blood-glucose and insulin levels through diet, along with a comprehensive exercise program is one of the most crucial components to a cancer recovery program.  These factors are also crucial in order to prevent cancer in the first place.

By severely reducing your intake of fructose and carbs in your diet, you help stave off any potential cancer growth, and "starve" any tumors you currently have.  It also bolsters your overall immune function, because sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately.


(1)  Canadian Cancer Society and Health Canada Statistics:  http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/cancer-statistics-at-a-glance/?region=qc

(2)  Liu, Haibo et al.  Fructose Induces Transketolase Flux to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Growth.  Cancer Research  August 1, 2010  70: 6368

(3)  Warburg, O.  On the origin of Cancer Cells.  Science  1956  Feb 123: 309 - 314

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