As October is quickly approaching and I'm planning for breast cancer awareness month, I'm reminded of all the family members who have been impacted by cancer. I also think of their journeys and the information they received from their medical providers. One piece of information that none of them received was the fact that sugar feeds cancer.
Unfortunately, sugar is all around us and often added to foods in mysterious ways with a variety of names. If you don’t believe me, go look in your refrigerator or cabinet and read the label. Did you know that sugar is often added to cheese and even balsamic vinegar? Today, the average American consumes ~150 pounds of sugar/year. Much of the sugar that is consumed is hidden in foods. Another statistic is that the average American consumes about the same amount of flour per year. You may ask why I include flour. Well, flour turns into sugar after you consume it.
With my many family members who have been diagnosed with breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and brain cancers, none were advised to avoid or decrease their consumption of sugar. This is sad to me. To make matters worse, when my mother-in-law was nauseous with pancreatic cancer, she was advised to drink a “nutritional” supplemental drink that contained high amounts of high fructose corn syrup and sugar. She’s not alone. This supplement is often recommended so patients can get calories and added nutrients.
How do we determine if someone has cancer? One way is through a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. Prep for this procedure involves a patient fasting and eliminating sugar for 24 hours prior to the scan. Then, he/she receives an injection of radioactive sugar. They wait for ~ an hour so the sugar has time to circulate. Since cancer loves sugar, the cancer cells (which have been starving for the last 24 hours) eat the radioactive sugar. The patient receives the PET scan and if cancer is present, they light up on the scan.
If cancer uses sugar for fuel, why don’t we simply advise patients to eliminate it from their diet? This concept of starving cancer isn’t new and many functional medicine providers make this recommendation with studies to back these findings. I certainly wish this information was more mainstream and this is why I’m adding it as a blog.
Even if you don’t have cancer or believe you have a high risk of getting cancer, you should still learn more about the harmful effects of sugar by watching Sugar: The Bitter Truth. It is certainly an eye opening video with stats and reputation. Want more information on sugar stats? Stay healthy!
#mindbodyyou #sugar #cancer #PETscan