The Deadly Link Between Sugar and Cancer

Posted by on June 11, 2019 in Stuff with 0 Comments

Cancer cells not only behave in the most obtrusive way, but also break quite a bit of rule of biology, causing ravages to the carrier. Bizarre as it may seem, cancer cells have been known to work their way in metabolizing sugar. That's right, the one thing that has been called the villain of all diet seems to exist with a lot of confusion around. So, what draws in the consensus between sugar and cancer?

Does sugar feed cancer cells to spur their growth? Do they transform the carrier towards becoming more vulnerable to the disease? The first thing that needs to be taken into consideration is why sugar in any diet is a matter of high concern. Even before that, it is necessary to know why your body needs sugar and from where does it come within our diet. As several myths on sugar leading to cancer rule the roost, researchers are looking to find out ways to help cancer patients along the way by taking sugar into concern, as a primary component of the diet. Read on to find out more.

Glucose – The elixir of life

A simple Google search pulls up several facts linking sugar to cancer flashing warnings like “White Death” or “Cancer's Favourite Food”. No matter what, the very idea of sugar being responsible for kick-starting growth of cancer is nothing more than an oversimplification of otherwise complex biology. Let's begin by looking at what sugar is in the first place. The simplest sugar resides in the form of a single molecule like glucose or fructose, for instance. As such, all these molecules can also stick on to each other and move in pairs or chains. Such combinations are called carbohydrate, which in turn acts as the chief source of our energy within the body.

The form of sugar that everyone is readily acquainted is table sugar, which dissolves easily in water and imparts a sweet taste to the drink. Biologically speaking, such form of sugar is called sucrose, which in turn is made up of glucose and fructose. Typically, table sugar comes refined, which means it has been processed to be extracted from natural sources, like sugar beet.

In the case of unprocessed foods, they carry high simple sugar content, like for instance, honey made of fructose and glucose again. As such, when sugar chains become more extended, they tend to turn less sweet and hence won't dissolve in water that easily. Such chains, known as polysaccharides, form the main component of foods containing starch, for instance, rice, potato, or pasta. These foods may not taste that sweet, but they are high in carbohydrate.

Sugar resides in almost all the foods that we eat. While this is good, our body benefits from it massively as we tend to work more and more. Living cells take up almost every single part of our body and are responsible for crucial functions like breathing, seeing, thinking, and a whole lot more. While every living cell functions differently within the body, they rely on energy on a common ground to perform better. Cells, no matter what are required to transform nutrients from our diet into energy, which is known as ATP. Glucose is the power bank to each living cells. So, any fizzy drink intake makes our blood absorb glucose. In the case of starchy food, like pasta, for instance, the enzymes and digestive juices within the saliva break it and further convert into glucose.

In any case, when carbohydrate is missing from our diet, cells can work on fats and protein to be turned into glucose as an alternate measure to replenish power source to keep functioning. This is where sugar and cancer cells collide with each other as cancer is nothing but a disease where cells are affected. Cancer cells break down glucose via glycolysis, which generates two ATP molecules for every single glucose.

Sugar and Cancer –The Standoff

Cancer cells multiply rapidly, which involves a high amount of energy. In other words, they need more glucose. Besides, cancer cells also feed on nutrients and not just on sugar. That gives birth to the myth of sugar, leading to cancer. Now, if cancer cells require glucose to survive, then intake of sugar would cut off the supply for them to perish right? However, in reality, things aren't that easy. It's not just the cancer cells but the healthy cells too that require glucose.

Unfortunately, there's still no way available to let our body know that the glucose intake is for healthy cells and not the ones that are infected; i.e., the cancer cells. Till date, there is no evidence available to support the theory that speaks of low intake of sugar boosting survival chances in cancer.

Now that we have got an ally on the fact that sugar doesn't cause cancer, then why do we push people towards cutting down sugary fruits from their diet plan? Because, although sugar doesn't affect the growth of cancer; there seems to be an indirect connection between the two. Consuming copious amounts of sugar through your diet leads to obesity, which in turn increases the risk for at least 13 kinds of cancer. It's not to be confused with sugar that is naturally present in foods like milk or fruits for that matter. It's the added sugar that we are concerned about, which leads to obesity being a determining factor for cancer.

It's never a sweet ending

The never-ending saga between sugar affecting cancer is an endless sea of complications. On one end, sugar individually doesn't give a fig about cancer and is not a determining cause. On the other end, there's simply no way as of now to starve cancer cells without affecting healthier cells too. To make matters complicated, there's simply no proof available that shifting to a low carbohydrate diet would lower the risk of cancer or help in the treatment.

For already suffering patients, it is required that they get their daily dose of nutrition to help their body fight it out against cancer affected cells. To sum up, cutting down on sugar intake might not be of any good to prevent or stop cancer. However, such an approach is befitting to our body to help save from obesity intruding our otherwise good shape, which might lead to cancer in the long run, thus upsetting the whole scenario.

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