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Does Sugar Cause Cancer?

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You know sugar is bad for you, but did you know that it may increase cancer risk? New research suggest that sugar may be directly responsible for many common cancers today. Read more about the link below:

A study sponsored by the Credit Suisse Research Institute in 2013 found that about 40 percent of all healthcare costs today are directly related to eating too much sugar. The study found that it costs over $1 trillion dollars each year to counteract negative health effects of sugar. Recent studies have suggested that there may be a strong link between sugar and cancer.

A 2014 report published by the Lancet found that obesity and sugar consumption is linked to over 500,000 cases of cancer worldwide each year. Although it doesn't seem possible that sugar can cause cancer, recent research suggests that sugar and weight gain play a bigger role in certain types of cancer than previously thought. Read on to see how sugar can affect the spread of cancer below:

How Sugar Causes Cancer

The body is not designed to eat sugar in the quantities we give it today. Just a hundred years ago, the average person ate 10 times less sugar than what we eat today. Several centuries back, even eating fruit was considered a sweet and rare treat.

While honey was available in many countries, it was not added to every food like sugar is today. Since the body is not designed to handle large doses of sugar, it is harder to process. When we use sugar, it is processed with more reactive oxygen, creating free radicals.

Free radical damage can cause mitochondrial disruption, DNA damage, and impairment in cells and proteins. A large number of free radicals in the body are linked with increased spread and development of cancer. Additional studies indicate that obesity also causes more free radical damage in the body, which means both eating sugar and gaining weight increases cancer risk.

Cancer Thrives on Sugar

Cancer cells need fuel just like any other cells. Cancer cells are still alive, they are just replicating the wrong way and mass producing unhealthy cells. Sugar is one of the main fuels for cancer. For some reason, studies indicate that cancer cells have trouble reproducing when their fuel source is carbs or fat, but they thrive on sugar.

A study from 2016 conducted by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center found that sugar directly feeds cancer cells in the lungs and breast tissue.

How to Reduce Cancer Risk

One of the easiest ways to reduce your cancer risk is to cut back dramatically on sugar intake. If at all possible, restrict your daily sugar intake to no more than 150 calories, which equals about 20 grams or 8 teaspoons.

While it sounds like a lot, many foods contain more than six teaspoons in a single serving and it is easy to consume over 8 teaspoons of sugar before lunch. Most manufacturers add tons of unnecessary sugar to products which only makes it harder to avoid sugar.

Solving the Sugar Problem at the National Level

Since private manufacturers place tons of sugar in almost everything, controlling sugar on a personal level can be difficult. You must be extremely mindful of sugar additives when shopping. A non-dedicated person or someone who does not know to look out for sugar is not even going to realize that excess sugar is in everything they eat.

In response to the new studies linking sugar and cancer, governments around the world are discussing methods to reduce the sugar intake of the average person. One such step is to implement a sugar tax. In 2014, Mexico implemented a 10 percent tax on soda and their sales of sugary beverages decreased by 12 percent by the start of 2015.

The biggest decline in consumption was among the poorest residents of Mexico, a group that historically consumes a lot of soda. Making a change like this could benefit other countries as well to help reduce the massive sugar intake of most adults and children. If a tax on soda and sugar doesn't sit well with citizens, there is another way to reduce sugar content in products, and that is to simply make them less sweet.

A study from England published in 2016 estimated that by gradually lowering the sugar content of soda and sweet drinks over a five-year period could prevent one million cases of obesity in 20 years. If manufacturers were restricted from placing massive quantities of sugar in everything, it would go a long way toward reducing the sugar intake of the average person.

For example, the average sugar content in chocolate milk is about 40 grams per single-serve bottle. The actual serving size of 8 ounces, contains just 18 grams, but most chocolate milk is sold in sizes containing at least 16-20 ounces. Few people only drink a single serving if the bottle contains multiple servings.

Just one bottle of chocolate milk contains twice the recommended daily intake of sugar for the entire day. If that bottle of chocolate milk contained half as much sugar, you could drink the entire bottle and not go over the recommended daily intake for sugar. You would not be able to have any additional sugar that day, but a single serving would not cause significant damage to the body.

Sugar is even more dangerous for children. An adult can handle about 20 grams of sugar daily, but children require much less. And children are far more likely to eat more sugar than adults, particularly at breakfast.

Children who eat sweet snacks, drink soda at lunch and dinner, and have a dessert every night are eating far, far more sugar than is healthy and increasing their risk of developing cancer as they age. Restricting sugar content in foods is one simple step that could help protect the rate of childhood obesity and cancer.

Take Steps to Prevent Cancer

Not all cancer is preventable, but some types may be. What you eat and how you live are not the only factors that influences your chances of developing cancer, but a healthy lifestyle and reduced sugar intake can only help.

Studies indicate that lifestyle choices can influence bladder cancer, rectal cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer risk specifically.

Simple Steps to Reduce Cancer Risk
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Cut out sugar
  • Get outside
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat on a schedule
  • Avoid soy
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid burned foods
  • Stay away from plastics, VOCs, and other environmental hormone disruptors

Avoid processed foods

Processed foods contain compounds that are difficult for the body to handle and can increase risk for free radical damage and inflammation which can trigger cancer growth.

Cut out sugar

Sugar intake is directly linked with an increase in cancer risk. Reducing your sugar intake is an easy way to reduce cancer risk.

Get outside

Vitamin D is an important nutrient to keep the body healthy and fight cancer risk. Vitamin D has been shown to cause cancer cells to die in some studies.

Exercise regularly

Exercise boosts the metabolism, balances hormones, and prevents obesity. Exercising is one of the healthiest things you can do.

Eat on a schedule

Some evidence suggests that unrestricted eating promotes obesity. Eating in a smaller window can help control weight and allow the body plenty of time to heal and rest, which could reduce free radical damage.

Avoid soy

Unfermented soy products upset the hormonal balance of the body and may trigger some kinds of cancer. Avoid soy when possible to reduce that risk.

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is directly tied to cancer risk. Maintain a healthy weight to keep your body working at optimal levels.

Avoid burned foods

Burned food is toxic and the body cannot process it. Eating burned food too often is damaging to the body and may increase cancer risk.

Stay away from plastic

Plastic, just like soy, gives off byproducts that can cause hormone imbalances. BPA is one of the worst plastics, but any plastic has risk.

Sugar Increases Cancer Risk

Although the studies on sugar and cancer are just emerging, there is solid evidence that a high sugar diet increases cancer risk. To reduce risk, cut back on sugar to 20 grams per day or less. It's trickier than you think, but the rewards are enormous and will keep you healthy throughout life.

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