Sugar and Cancer

The list of problems caused by sugar in all its forms just goes on and on.  If you hadn’t previously thought of sugar as a cancer trigger, think again.

The reader’s digest version:  when we eat sugar, or white flour, or foods with a high ‘glycemic index’, the blood levels of glucose rise rapidly.  The body immediately releases a dose of insulin to enable the glucose to enter the cells.  The secretion of insulin is accompanied by the release of another molecule, called IGF (insulin-Like growth factor), whose role it is to stimulate cell growth.

And therein lies the root of the cancer-sugar problem.

Insulin and IGF not only stimulate the growth of cancer cells but also their capacity to invde neighboring tissues.  In addition, insulin and IGF promote inflammation, which also stimulates cell growth and acts in turn as fertilizer for tumors.

From Anticancer: A New Way of Life, by David Servan-Schreiber MD, PhD

When David Servan-Schreiber, a dedicated scientist and doctor, was diagnosed with brain cancer, his life changed. Confronting what medicine knows about the illness and the little-known workings of his body’s natural cancer ­fighting capacities.

 

Pure, White and Deadly – The Man Who Tried to Warn Us

Pure-White-and-Deadly-9780241965283 Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin, a book widely derided at the time of publication, has been listed as one of the most coveted out-of-print works in the world, thanks to a ground-breaking lecture called Sugar: the Bitter Truth by Robert Lustig, professor of paediatric endocrinology at the University of California, in which Lustig hailed Yudkin’s work as “prophetic”.

Lustig is one of a growing number of scientists who don’t just believe sugar makes you fat and rots teeth. They’re convinced it’s the cause of several chronic and very common illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. It’s also addictive, since it interferes with our appetites and creates an irresistible urge to eat.

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Is Sugar Toxic?

This NYT Magazine article by Gary Taubes is an excellent read.  It begins by examining Robert Lustig’s accusations that sugar is a toxic poison, but goes on to ask some very important questions about the relationship between sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and obesity, diabetes and cancer. Much needed research may not be forthcoming, however.

As Lustig points out, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are certainly not “acute toxins” of the kind the F.D.A. typically regulates and the effects of which can be studied over the course of days or months. The question is whether they’re “chronic toxins,” which means “not toxic after one meal, but after 1,000 meals.” This means that what Tappy calls “intervention studies” have to go on for significantly longer than 1,000 meals to be meaningful.

At the moment, the National Institutes of Health are supporting surprisingly few clinical trials related to sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in the U.S. All are small, and none will last more than a few months.

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Nobel Laureate Dr. Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D. makes NYTimes.

Nobel Laureate Dr. Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D. makes NYTimes. | AthensTalks.com.

Cancer research strategies for the last decade have focused on “targeted therapies”, drugs intended to influence cancer metabolism and interfere with the signals that feed cancer cell growth. In this article in the NYTimes Health section, Dr. Otto Warburg’s work in this area is finally acknowledged.

Dr. Otto Warburg was a genius level scientist in Germany from 1883-1970. He made a number of seminal discoveries in cancer, cell respiration and photosynthesis. He was nominated for no less than three Nobel Prizes in Medicine and Physiology

Otto Warburg invented a special machine to measure intercellular oxygen pressure called the Warburg Manometer. Using this ingenious device, he observed what happened to living tissue when oxygen pressure was reduced. He found that when it is reduced by about one third, the tissue switches from running on oxygen for energy, to running on glucose primarily in the absence of oxygen, or fermentation, published about 1923. The cells either die for lack of energy, or become cancerous. Hundreds of different tissues from different animal organs were exhaustively tested and later checked by others around the world. A book “The Metabolism of Tumours” was published in 1930.

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