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The real link between sugar consumption and cancer

sugar cancerThere are over 37 trillion cells in the average living person. Each cell is like a living organism. Each cell requires energy and must produce energy to carry out vital functions; that cellular energy is mainly created from the healthy metabolism and electron transfer of macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients from the foods that we eat.

Because the right type and balance of sugar molecules are necessary for cellular energy production, sugar consumption alone is not the cause of cancer. Likewise, a sugarless diet will not automatically eradicate cancer from the body. The breakdown of normal metabolic processes within the cell causes inflammation and is therefore the precursor to a host of chronic diseases, including the development of cancerous cells. The real link between sugar and cancer is the consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and over-consumption of refined sugars which causes the breakdown of healthy metabolic processes within the cell.

Natural sugars play a role in cellular energy production

However, cells need sugars, fats, and protein in order to create and store energy-rich molecules such as ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) for future use. These important macro-nutrients pass through the semi-permeable membrane of the cell. The composition of the cell membrane is important for attracting the right nutrients to the cell; therefore omega fatty acids are important for the development of healthy cell membranes. The ATP energy that is created in the cell is used to power metabolism and construct new cellular components. Enzymes use this energy to accelerate necessary chemical reactions within the cell.

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In order to produce energy in eukaryotic cells, sugar molecules must go through a process of splitting. The first process for energy production is glycolysis, which requires an input of two ATP molecules. During this process, single molecules of glucose are split and converted into two molecules of pyruvate. After a series of chemical reactions, glycolysis generates four new ATP molecules and two NADH molecules, which are necessary electron carriers for other biochemical reactions in the cell. In essence, sugar doesn’t cause cancer. The inefficient metabolism of sugar within cellular processes results in increased oxidation of cells and inflammation – the precursor to chronic disease conditions.

HFCS and refined sugars rapidly over-consumed, misused by cells

The sugars that come from fruits and vegetables are structurally differently than refined sugars and chemically-produced sugars such as HFCS. The cells of the human body process these sugars differently.

Chemically-produced sugars, such as HFCS, are added to many store-bought food products and are pervasive in the standard American diet. High fructose corn syrup provides no nutritional benefit to the cells and is quickly converted to body fat. This excess body fat burdens the body by starving essential cells of nutrition and causing more oxidation and inflammation. To top it off, HFCS is structurally different than natural sugars. Traditional sucrose is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent sucrose. HFCS contains a ratio of 55 percent fructose to 45 percent glucose – a sucrose structure that isn’t metabolized normally by the cells. Due to corn subsidies, aggressive lobbying, cheap processing, and because fructose is sweeter, this chemical concoction is used throughout the food industry to addict people to food products. Consequentially, this sugar consumption causes obesity, Type-II diabetes, and initiates chronic diseases and cancer.

Refined sugars, processed from sugar cane and sugar beets, are an isolated form of nutrient-void sugars that also get added to a host of store-bought products. Permeating the standard American diet, these refined sugars are over-consumed and add no nutritional benefit to cellular metabolic processes.

When sugar is consumed from fruit and vegetable sources, it will naturally be utilized more properly within the cells. The fiber from these whole foods prevents the over-consumption of sugars and leads to more efficient use of sugar for energy production in the mitochondria of the cells. These whole foods deliver nutrients and prevent unwanted fat storage and wasted energy. This reduces oxidation and mitigates inflammation.

A person can consume less sugar, but the human body will not let blood glucose drop below a certain number. Without sugar coming in, the body will use its remaining resources to produce the glucose on its own; therefore, cancer cells cannot be starved of sugar. The real link between sugar consumption and cancer is inefficient production of ATP energy and the oxidation of the cells through inefficient waste removal. While it’s vitally important to adopt a lifestyle of fewer refined sugars and no HFCS, sugars should not be avoided altogether. The sugars from organic produce are an asset for healthy cellular functions.

For more on cancer research, visit Cancer.News.

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Will Sugar Soon be Genetically Modified to ‘Help Fight Skin Cancer?’

sugar-piles-dna-735-350L-fucose, a rare sugar found in seaweed, mushrooms, seeds, and other foods, may help treat skin cancer, experts have revealed.

The sugar was linked to certain cancers and inflammation in previous studies, but a new study suggests that by tinkering with L-fucose metabolism, the substance could stave off the spread of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

“Not only were the tumors affected but also their micro-environment – the cells surrounding the tumor that play a critical role in sustaining the cancer – making the discovery even more impactful,” said Dr. Ze’ev Ronai, senior author of the study.

Glucose and sucrose, both sugars, come from a variety of different sources and are used in the body in different ways. Sugars like L-sucose provide crucial tags on cell-surface proteins that signal inflammation and help direct cell migration. In earlier studies, changes in the amount of L-sucose on cells were associated with breast and stomach cancers.

For the recent study, researchers focused on cultivating transcription factor 2 (ATF2) – a protein which controls the expression of many other proteins. ATF2 has been linked to the development of melanoma and other cancers in the past.

“To our surprise, one of the genes found to be regulated by ATF2 was fucokinase (FUK), which controls the ability of cells to process the dietary sugar, L-fucose, into a form that is useable for the modification (fucosylation) of proteins, many of which are on the cell surface,” said Ronai.

“In human samples, we found reduced fucosylation in metastatic melanomas and a better prognosis for primary melanomas with increased fucosylation. We suspect that the absence of L-fucose on melanoma cells makes them less sticky and more mobile in the body, making them more likely to metastasize,” Ronai explained.

The researchers were able to increase fucosylation in lab mice by adding L-sucose to the rodents’ drinking water or by altering their genes. The growth and metastases of tumors slowed in both experiments.

“Importantly, in mice with melanoma, the researchers were able to increase fucosylation either by adding the sugar to their drinking water or by genetic manipulation. Both methods inhibited the growth and metastasis of the tumors.”

Dr. Eric Lau, lead author of the study, said: ‘Many patients develop resistance to current melanoma drugs.’

“If we can add something like L-fucose to enhance these therapies, that’s very exciting, and that’s what we’re actively looking into,” he said.

The doctor added that the team’s findings were “especially gratifying” because they mean it could be possible to modify fucosylation simply by adding L-fucos to drinking water.

The Mayo Clinic says that sugar does not make cancer cells grow faster, though consuming large amounts of sugar has been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, including esophageal cancer. Sugar is also linked to obesity and diabetes, which may increase the risk of cancer. So many will say to completely avoid sugar in order to further starve cancer to death.

A study by researchers at UCLA found that pancreatic cancer cells multiplied and grew more rapidly when fueled by fructose, which is fruit sugar, as opposed to glucose or sucrose. Eating fruit isn’t the problem, though. Fructose is also found in more food products than you could count including processed foods and soft drinks, and is often found in products in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

There’s also a ton of fructose in fruit juices, which is one of the reasons why doctors and experts recommend eating a piece of fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.


[1] Daily Mail

[2] ScienceDaily
Author: Julie Fidler
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