Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Nutrition and Cancer – Part 3 - Deadly Sugars

Is sugar killing America? Many believe so! Obesity, diabetes and cancer, directly related to sugar consumption, are out of control. At current rates it’s projected by 2030 that more that 60% of adults will be obese in 13 key states, and over 44% of adults will be obese in all 50 states. It is estimated Americans spend between $147 Billion to $210 Billion per year on medical related issues connected to obesity. Even worse, obesity has more than doubled in children, and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years. In 2012 more than one third of all children and adolescents were overweight or obese. 

Equally grim facts exist for diabetes. From 1980 to 2011 the number of Americans with diagnosed diabetes has more than tripled. There are over 25.8 million Americans with diabetes and an additional 79 million Americans over the age of 20 with pre-diabetes. That’s beyond a third of adult Americans directly affected by diabetes. The estimated treatment cost associated with diabetes is staggering at over $245 Billion. Add to this the emerging epidemic of diabetes in young children and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder why some are saying this may be the first generation of children to die before their parents. Considering the devastation from obesity and diabetes alone, many are questioning whether America will survive the economic outlay for medical treatment, while still finding enough healthy individuals to fill basic jobs, including safety and military positions. Want to know the real definition of stupidity? In the interest of saving a few jobs that could easily be retrained, and securing the re-election war chests of elected officials, each year our government continues to subsidize sugar production and corn (high fructose corn syrup) rather than subsidize healthy organic foods such as organic fruit and leafy green vegetables.

Certainly we don’t need to worry about terrorists when we are doing everything to kill ourselves as fast as possible. In fact it would be much more effective for terrorists to simply flood the market with cheap candy and soft drinks if they really want to speed the downfall of America. Oh, I forgot, we’re doing that already.

To understand why we’re in this pickle, all we need do is take a look at the history of sugar and sweetener use in America. In 1822 the average sugar per capita consumption was only 9 pounds. Prior to this time added sugar was not a significant factor in recorded history. By 1900, sugar consumption had risen to 90 pounds per capita, and in 1920 that became 100 pounds. In 1978 high fructose corn syrup entered the market, and by 1980 obesity began its rise from 12.7% to 27.7% of Americans by the year 2000. In 1997 diabetes, already on the rise, began a dramatic increase. With the addition of HFCS, total sweetener consumption just kept increasing. By the year 2000 our added sweetener consumption had risen to 152 pounds per capita. The pattern is clear. Increased added sugar consumption contributes to increased obesity and diabetes.

So why are we eating so much sugar? Simple, it’s addictive. One study showed that Oreo Cookies with their sugar and fat were more addictive than cocaine and morphine. The Oreos actually activated more neurons in the brains pleasure and reward centers than the drugs. Now we know that addiction has both biological and behavioral components, and in our high stress environment sugar appears to fit the bill for both components. Sugar is added to most every processed food we eat. From so-called healthy breads, to cereals and energy bars, to even tomato sauce, it’s everywhere. When we try to go off sugar, we often experience real symptoms of withdrawal, like when trying to eliminate nicotine of caffeine. Then there’s the taste factor. During the ill-advised political push to make foods ‘fat free’, food processors found that no fat made food taste like cardboard, hence they add more sugar and salt to sell more product.

So ask yourself, what do obesity and diabetes have in common with Prostate Cancer? We just chatted about one part of the relationship under the heading of Nutrition and Cancer-Part 2-Inflammation. It’s called ‘Silent Inflammation’. How do you expect your body to fight an emerging cancer when all its resources are focused on just trying to keep your overweight, insulin resistant body alive? Now consider the toxic factor of sugar. In a 2013 article Robert Lustig, M.D. states, “Sugar in excess is a toxin, unrelated to its calories. The dose determines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit." He goes on to say, “When you do the math, fully one-quarter of the world's diabetes is explained by sugar alone”; and “the increase in sugar consumption over the past 30 years paralleled the increase in obesity, diabetes and heart disease.” According to Doctor Lustig fructose, a large part of sugars is only metabolized in the liver, which quickly becomes overwhelmed by the excessive amount. The liver then turns the excessive fructose directly into fat, becoming insulin resistant in the process, causing insulin levels to spike. This in turn causes more food to be stored as fat, making more insulin resistance, decreasing liver function, allowing more toxins to be stored in the body, driving greater inflammation throughout the body, and opening the path for cancer. As inflammation increases in the body it causes the loss of protective antioxidants. As toxins are increased by an overwhelmed liver and poor diet, infections begin to increase. This causes the body to release oxygen and nitrogen radicals to fight the infections and bacteria. Without protective antioxidants these same radicals go on to damage normal DNA, causing cancer growth to begin. By this process it’s suggested that inflammation and oxidation play key roles in development of prostate cancer. According to Lewis Cantley, director of the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, as much as 80 percent of all cancers are “driven by either mutations or environmental factors that work to enhance or mimic the effect of insulin on the incipient tumor cells.” His research has shown that refined sugar stimulates the growth of cancer cells into tumors, and then larger tumors.

To sum up, at the May 21, 2014 of the 109th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association a study was presented stating that having two or more metabolic syndrome components including: obesity, high blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar (>100), high fasting insulin (>5), low HDL (good) cholesterol (<40), high triglycerides (>150), or fatty liver, and storing fat primarily in the belly, was associated with an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. Considering obesity, diabetes, insulin spikes and inflammation, the connection between Prostate Cancer and Sugar is abundantly clear. 

Of course, once you have Prostate Cancer sugars secondary role is to feed the cancer. One recent study confirms prostate cancer cells have a much higher demand for glucose over healthy cells, and that chronically elevated blood glucose, insulin, and insulin-like growth factors stimulate prostate cancer growth while worsening the outcome in patientsAnother study published in 2011 found that lower carbohydrate diets slowed tumor growth. Both these studies confirm that reducing sugars and processed carbs could slow the growth of cancer giving the body a better chance for healing. 

Next, lets take a look a where all this sugar in our diet is coming from, what types of sugars may be worse or better than others, surprising sources of sugars, artificial sweeteners and cancer promotion, and acceptable sweeteners for Prostate Cancer Survivors. Much more to follow.

Looking for more help and support?
Go to: http://steve-warren.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com/ 


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