Is there a link between sugar intake and cancer?
There is a high chance that you might have heard statements like sugar causes cancer or makes it grow faster. This makes sense in some ways. Every cell in our body uses sugar for energy. However, cancer cells use 200x more sugar than normal cells.
Tumours need vast amounts of sugar for their growth. So, there is undoubtedly a link between sugar intake and cancer. Sugar required by our cells come from our diet. It is a common perception that deserts and chocolates have high sugar but did you know that Sugar is also present in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, bread and rice?
Many researchers don’t think sugar causes cancer. According to them, the real problem is obesity. Fat cells release proteins called adipokines which can damage DNA and cause tumours. If you have more fat cells, you have this protein more. So if you are overweight or obese, you are at risk for different types of cancer, including breast, liver and colon cancer.
Some other cancer experts suggest that sugar itself can cause cancer, and there is a link between sugar intake and cancer. A noted cancer researcher Lewis Cantley, Ph.D. thinks that some diseases may start due to high levels of insulin( It is the hormone that controls the amount of sugar in our blood). His research showed that high levels of insulin cause cancer. And insulin levels are driven by sugar. He doesn’t use any sugar because he thinks that the link between sugar intake and cancer is clear.
So, the question arises what we should eat? Even if there is no link between sugar intake and cancer, it is still a perfect idea to intake less sugar. Researchers say that you should use six tbsp/day if you’re a woman and nine if you’re a man.
Peiying Yang, Ph.D., a cancer researcher, suggests eating fruit as part of a regular diet. She explains that there should be less fruit than vegetables. If the recommended serving is five fruits and vegetables/day, three servings should come from vegetables.
It is difficult to track all the sugar you eat. It’s hidden in things you’d never have thought, like salad dressings, peanut butter, yogurt, ketchup, instant oatmeal and nut milk. Mostly, it’s not even called sugar on the label. There are about 60 types of sugar. Their names mostly end in ose like sucrose, maltose, dextrose and glucose. Also watch for fruit nectar corn, rice, maple syrups honey, molasses and agave.
Be happy, healthy and strong!
- The link between sugar intake and cancer
Image source: Asian Scientific magazine