Everyone enjoys the occasional scoop of ice cream or an indulgent slice of cheesecake.
It’s hard to give sugar up because, in addition to its sweet taste, it also delivers endorphins to our brains. That’s why we continue to eat it, even though we all know that eating excess sugar carries a lot of potential health risks.
And it’s not just obesity and diabetes that we have to worry about. Many people don’t realize that excess sugar intake has also been linked to increased risk for cancer.
Just how serious is the link between sugar consumption and cancer diagnosis?
Let’s take a closer look.
Finding Sugar in Cancer Cells
The discovery of sugar molecules in cancer cells was one of the first clues for scientists that there could be a link between sugar consumption and cancer.
When you eat sugar, it attaches to protein cells in your body. This produces a molecule called glycosylation.
Recent studies have shown that many carcinogenic tumors have high concentrations of these sugar byproducts. This indicates that cancer could actually be feeding off of the sugar.
How the Body Uses Sugar
It can be easy to look at this kind of evidence and come to the conclusion that sugar is cancer-causing poison. In reality, however, that’s an oversimplification.
The truth of the matter is that your body actually uses sugar to perform vital functions.
The glucose in sugar is absorbed into the blood and used to power cells. Knowing this, it’s not that surprising to find sugar in cancer cells. Sugar is in most human cells!
Sugar becomes a problem for cancer patients when there is too much in the blood stream. The body produces insulin to process sugar. So, when a person eats extra sugar, the body produces extra insulin.
Eventually, however, your body builds up a resistance to the insulin. This leads your body to produce even more insulin.
The problem with excess insulin is that cancer cells can use it to promote growth.
So, while it isn’t necessary to swear off sugar entirely, there is evidence that eating too much sugar can help cancer spread.
The Real Enemy: Excess Sugar
It’s important to remember a vital piece of sage wisdom: everything in moderation.
Monitoring sugar intake is essential to an overall healthy lifestyle. When you eat less sugar, you will lose weight. This, in turn, will decrease your risk for diseases like cancer and heart disease.
So, how can you know how much sugar is too much?
Avoiding Hidden Sugars
One of the most important ways to cut sugar from your diet is to eliminate consumption of hidden sugars. These are sugars that are added to other foods to make them taste better.
These sugars often appear in processed foods, like cereals, tomato sauces, sweetened yogurts, and frozen foods.
To avoid eating these extra sugars, simply spend some extra time reading food labels.
In addition to looking at the total sugars, also look at the ingredients list for sugar hiding under other names. Fructose, lactose, sucrose, and glucose are all just other names for sugar.
Have you cut down on your sugar intake? What strategies did you use? Let us know in the comments!