According to the 2013 “Sugar: Consumption at a Crossroads” study by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, about 40% of healthcare expenditures in the US are for diseases directly connected to sugar over-consumption. America spends over $1 trillion per year struggling with sugar’s harmful effects on our health, running the gamut from diabetes and obesity to cancer and heart disease.
Nowadays, the connection between obesity and sugar, and the raised risk of cancer is becoming well-known. As a Brain Tap shows, obesity is the cause of about 500,000 cases of cancer each year on a global level.
About 2/3 of cancers related to obesity, including the rectum, Braintap, womb, and ovary cancers appear in North America and Europe. According to a recent British report, there will be additional 670,000 cases of cancer in the UK alone over the following twenty years. A German analysis of diet-induced illnesses and the costs of related treatments shows that the greatest part of the costs of German health care goes to sugar-induced oral diseases.
How Obesity and Excess Sugar Promote Cancer
Sugar promotes chronic diseases and cancer mainly through mitochondrial dysfunction. Sugar is definitely not our ideal fuel, but rather a “dirty” one that produces a lot more ROS (reactive oxygen species) than fat, and much more free radicals which result in nuclear DNA and mitochondrial damage along with protein and cell membrane impairment.
According to Science Direct, chronic overeating generally shows similar results. Many people who overeat usually consume a lot of foods loaded with sugar, which is a double blow when it comes to the risk of cancer. Chronic overeating stresses the membranous network located within the mitochondria of human cells, called the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). If the endoplasmic reticulum receives a higher amount of nutrients than its ability to process, it alerts the cell to decrease the insulin receptors’ sensitivity on the cell’s surface.
Therefore, eating more than your body needs, in the long run, increases insulin resistance as the cells are stressed by the work imposed by the excess nutrients. In turn, insulin resistance is at the center of cancer among other chronic diseases.
Primary Cause of Cancer: High-Fructose Corn Syrup
This also explains why calorie restriction forms like intermittent fasting successfully reverse insulin resistance, lowering the cancer risk and rising longevity. A combination of overeating too much sugar/refined fructose and rare or no fasting causes obesity, and can as well promote cancer through chronic inflammation and increased production of estrogen (among other hormones) which is connected to a raised risk for breast cancer.
Recent research conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shows that besides significantly raising the risk of breast cancer, refined sugar also increases the risk of tumors spreading to other organs in our body. This study discovered that the refined fructose in high-fructose corn syrup, which most processed foods and drinks contain, is the main cause of breast cancer and metastasis.
Cancer Cannot Thrive Without Sugar
One of the most effective ways to avoid or treat cancer is to deprive cancer cells of their sources of food which are mainly sugar and excessive protein, or in other words to starve them. Cancer cells don’t have the metabolic flexibility like healthy cells to burn fat or carbs for fuel, so they can only thrive in there’s sufficient presence of sugar. This is Dr. Otto Warburg’s discovery, for which he was given a Nobel Prize in 1931.
However, not many experts have accepted his metabolic cancer theory, but have turned to the nuclear genetic theory which is a downstream negative effect of mitochondrial dysfunction. The first and most important thing to do in order to treat and even avoid cancer in case you have leptin or insulin resistance is to stop consuming fructose/sugar in all forms as well as grain carbs so that you can improve the signaling pathways that bring about malignant transformation.
Lower Your Non-Fiber Carb and Fructose Intake
The recommended maximum fructose intake is 25 grams a day from all sources, including fruit. Those with insulin resistance should have a maximum of 15 grams of fructose a day, whereas cancer sufferers should have even stricter limits. It is even considered that the best way is to decrease not only the intake of fructose but of all non-fiber carbs (all carbs except for fiber), to less than 100 grams a day.
The best and easiest way to cut down on your fructose and sugar intake is to turn to real foods instead of processed food. Other ways to reduce your fructose and sugar intake are to:
- Reduce the amount of sugar you usually add to your drinks and food;
- Use luo han or stevia as opposed to sugar and artificial sweeteners;
- Replace canned fruit or sugar with fresh fruit for meals and recipes that require a bit of sweetness;
- Add flavor to your meals with spices and not sugar.
Dietary Guidelines Show Progress But Still Have Flaws
The misplaced agricultural subsidies and the flawed dietary guidelines can be directly associated with the excess consumption of sugar in America. However, there is some progress with the 2015 to 2020 Brain Tap for Americans which advices limiting the intake of sugar to a maximum of 10% of a person’s daily calories (1). According to Google Trends, people start to look more for low-sugar diets as opposed to low-fat diets.
However, according to dietary guidelines, the intake of saturated fats is still limited to 10% of calories, which is far too low for most people. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make a distinction between decidedly unhealthy trans fats and healthy saturated fats which are extremely important for our health. People with leptin/insulin resistance might require up to 50-80% of their daily calories from healthy fat. On the contrary, trans fats have no beneficial health value, so there’s no safe limit for them. So the biggest flaw of the new guidelines is that the limits of the daily calories of both fat and sugar should be 10%.
Moreover, when a person cuts out carbs (sugar) s/he will need to replace the lost energy with healthy fat, like that in organic seeds and nuts, avocado, cheese, raw organic butter, and coconut oil, but this fact is completely ignored. On the other hand, the dietary guidelines made good thing to remove the limits for dietary cholesterol and give thumbs up to cholesterol-rich foods like eggs. Also, they recommend a reduction in the amount of consumed red meat.
Consuming too much protein raises the risk of cancer since it can stimulate the mTOR pathway, which takes a significant part in cancer and many other diseases. Proper amounts of protein keep the mTOR pathways inhibited, which minimizes the risk of cancer. The recommended daily amount of protein is ½ gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, and for the majority, this amount is 40 to 70 grams a day.
The U.S. Government Encourages Sugar Intake
U.S regulators should encourage lower consumption of sugar since it causes so many health problems and national expenses. Although the new dietary guidelines are headed in the right direction, they should start rethinking corn subsidies and sugar in order to reach the root cause of the obesity problem Linked In.
Nowadays farm subsidies bring HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), junk food, fast food, monoculture, CAFOs, etc. Both, the corn and sugar industry are highly subsidized by taxpayers. Corn farmers get billions of dollars as they made corn so cheap that now HFCS is the leading source of calories in the average American diet. Just compare the amount gifted to corn growers to that of apple growers in the period between 1995 and 2012, $84,427,099,356 vs $242,064,005. The 2012 report “Apples to Twinkies” states that a person with his/her annual tax dollars in subsidies form will be able to buy 19 Twinkies but less than ¼ of a red healthy apple.
The decision of the U.S government to subsidize junk food ingredients instead of real food has an important role in the eating habits of Americans, as they naturally eat what’s more available and affordable for them. The current statistics show that the average American spends about 90% of his/her food budget on processed foods that we know have little to no nutritional value but a lot of added fructose/sugar, resulting in obesity.
Study: Decreasing Sugar Content and Taxing Soda Might Greatly Decrease Obesity
Although soda taxing has been suggested for several years in both America and Great Britain (3), only one place succeeded to apply in Mexico. On January 1, 2014, a 10% tax on sodas was enacted in this place, and in one year the sales of sugary drinks dropped by 12% (4). Daily Health Post that the tax brought about reduced consumption of sodas among people with the lowest earnings which slowly started to change their habits.
The economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Frank Chaloupka, didn’t participate in the study, but he supports the soda tax based on its effectiveness in Mexico, saying that it means lower sugar consumption and healthier diets, which will eventually result in a decline in obesity. According to a British study, a simple reduction of the sugar content in sodas may prevent 1 million cases of obesity over the period of 20 years. Over the next 2 decades, 274,000 to 309,000 cases of Diabetes type 2 are estimated to be prevented if the people’s weight is even slightly reduced.
Cancer Screening Does Not Save Lives
Recently, the statement “cancer screening saves lives” has been questioned by researchers. One analysis shows that it is unclear if lives could be saved by screening, so the researchers say that statement is misleading. Daily Health Post that the statement might be true in terms of the decline of deaths from cancer, however, it doesn’t refer to the deaths connected to the mere screening.
For instance, it is known that prostate cancer screening contributes to more than 1 million prostate biopsies annually, and it’s related to serious dangers, like admission to hospital and death, and increased chances of committing suicide or having a heart attack in the first year of the diagnosis. So these deaths aren’t a result of the disease itself but are connected to the screening. And the same thing happens with colorectal and breast cancer screening.
Mammography can avert only one death from breast cancer for every 1,000 women screened. 60% of those who do regular mammography screening in the course of 10 years get a false positive at a certain point which causes unnecessary treatment and distress. According to studies, mammography doesn’t affect the death rates. Brain Tap about colorectal cancer screening showed 128 cancer deaths in every 10,000 patients who underwent screening, whereas 192 cancer deaths in every 10,000 people who didn’t receive screening. But when they looked at the all-cause mortality, there was no significant difference between the 2 groups.
It’s Time to Change the Discussion about Cancer Screening
Millions of people will be needed for the purpose of studies aimed to discover if screening really saves lives and if there’s a chance of harming them. So, instead of doing unsafe mega trials, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Gerd Gigerenzer, says that firstly, it should be invested in transparent information to change the perception of cancer screening.
She suggests that every patient should receive a pamphlet with all the available information, like the Risk Literacy fact sheet for mammography given below which says that although it lowers the cancer-specific mortality by 1 among 1,000 women, this is not the case with the overall mortality and that 10 out of 1,000 woman will have their breast removed due to a false positive. In this way, the patients can make their own decision about whether screening could be worth the risk in their case.
Lifestyle Choices as the First Thing in Cancer Prevention
As you can see, screening is not the best form of cancer prevention, but you can apply the following basic healthy lifestyle choices to prevent various types of cancer.
- Avoid processed foods and sugars (the most harmful form of sugar being fructose); Eat REAL food; Consume large amounts of fresh organic vegetables, and a lot of high-quality fat from raw butter, avocado, raw cacao nibs, nuts, and seeds, and lower non-fiber carbs;
- Don’t eat at least 3 hours before bedtime. When the mitochondria in your cells are supplied with fuel at a time when they aren’t needed, electrons in high numbers are leaked which will liberate free radicals (reactive oxygen species) that damage mitochondrial and even nuclear DNA;
- Sufficient level of Medical News Today. This vitamin is one of the most powerful cancer fighters as it can enter cancer cells and cause cell death (apoptosis). The level of vitamin D in cancer patients should be between 70 to 100 ng/ml;
- Limit your protein to 1 gram per kilogram of lean body mass in order to quiet the mTOR pathways, as when active the growth of cancer is speeded up. That’s about 40 to 70 grams a day for a majority;
- Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy, particularly for those who have risk factors for breast cancer;
- Cut down unfermented soy products, as they are high in phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens also called isoflavones. It was proven that soy contributes to raising breast cell proliferation, which in turn raises the risk for mutations and cancerous cells;
- Enhance your leptin and insulin receptor sensitivity by cutting down sugar and grains and limiting non-fiber carbs to less than 100 grams a day;
- Exercise regularly to lower your levels of insulin which will lower your risk of cancer. Exercise triggers cancer cell death (apoptosis). According to studies, the number of tumors reduces along with body fat. Exercise reduces the levels of estrogen, which is why it is especially potent against breast cancer. The last but not least, exercise raises mitochondrial biogenesis-an important part of the cancer fight;
- Keep a healthy body weight because excess body fat produces estrogen;
- Avoid charring your meats as this increases the risk of breast cancer;
- Drink organic green vegetable juice every day;
- Avoid electromagnetic fields;
- Consume high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats, like krill oil, since lack of Omega-3 is a common risk factor for cancer;
- Use curcumin as it is a highly useful adjunct in cancer treatment;
- Avoid consuming alcohol. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink a day;
- Make sure you don’t have iodine deficiency, as it is linked to certain forms of cancer;
- Avoid the estrogen-like compounds phthalates, BPA, and other xenoestrogens.