December 13

Prevent cancer: Reduce your sugar intake!

Because cancer has become so prevalent in our society, cancer prevention is an important topic for healthy aging.

This blog post is the third in a series on cancer prevention.

Besides reducing your exposure to toxins, especially in your home, another very important thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer is to reduce your sugar consumption.

Current research has revealed that cancer cells burn sugar for fuel. One of the main differences between normal cells and cancer cells is that cancer cells use only sugar for fuel. Normal, healthy cells also use sugar for fuel, but they can also use ketones. Ketones are organic molecules derived from fats and are an alternative fuel source that your body uses when sugar isn’t available, such as when you fast. The more you can reduce the fuel that feeds cancer cells, the more you’ll reduce your chances of getting cancer.

If your blood sugar levels and insulin are always high, you create a much better environment in your body for cancer cells to grow and recur. Cancer cells use sugar about fifty times faster than normal cells. If you’re currently being treated for cancer, eating a diet high in sugar will make it much more difficult for any cancer treatment to be effective. If you’re currently receiving cancer treatment, one of the best things you can do to make your treatment more effective is to avoid eating sugar. The type or source of sugar doesn’t matter. It can be table sugar, honey, or even freshly squeezed fruit juice.

In North America, on average, each adult eats about 66 pounds (30 kg or 30,000 g) of added sugar per year, which works out to about 82 g per day. Added sugar is sugar added during food preparation or processing, not sugar naturally found in food. Because of sugar’s damaging effect on health, such as diabetes and heart disease, in 2009, the American Heart Association (AHA) released new guidelines limiting the amount of sugar we should be eating for good health. The AHA recommends no more than 25 g per day for women (about 6 teaspoons) and no more than 37 g per day for men (about 9 teaspoons). For children, the AHA recommends no more than 12 g per day (about 3 teaspoons).

Based on our current consumption of 82 g per day, women are eating more than three times as much sugar as the AHA recommends, and men are eating more than twice as much sugar than they should be. Yikes.

Consider that one can of soft drink contains about 65 g of sugar. That’s more than five times the recommended amount of sugar for a child for one day!

If you’re trying to prevent cancer, think about all the sources of sugar you eat in one day, especially the ones in processed foods. The more you can cut back on these foods and replace them with healthy alternatives, especially fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, the more your body will thank you.

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