Sugar

January 2016…Here’s How Sugar Might Fuel the Growth of Cancer: Researchers may be able to explain how sugar might fuel the growth of cancer. They say it boils down to one type of sugar in particular: fructose.” This is a very good article about a recent study of added sugars. Just remember that whole fruit contains fructose & is not what they are talking about. But…juice of the whole fruit is concentrated fructose & is what they are talking about. The bottom line of this article is also worth repeating. There are other reasons to minimize sugar. Other studies show sugar-heavy diets can fuel heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. But cutting sugar can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels after only a few days. A study published in June estimated that eating too much sugar killed 184,000 people a year.”

June 2015….The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s web page “Insight” had a new entry on May 11th, 2015: Does Sugar Feed Cancer?  This article is a must read. The last paragraph sums it up: “How can I limit potential negative effects of sugar?” 

“It’s important to remember balance and moderation in your diet, as opposed to “all or nothing.”  Having small amounts of something sweet occasionally is unlikely to have a strong effect on cancer risk or survivorship, but fresh fruit can be a healthy substitute and may have cancer preventive and immune supportive properties. Other tips:

  • Eat balanced meals and snacks.
  • Include a protein-rich and fiber-rich food with each meal and snack.
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Include walking and other physical activity regularly.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and other plant-based foods.
  • Choose fresh or whole fruit over dried fruits and fruit juices. Add fresh/frozen fruit to plain Greek yogurt instead of purchasing flavored options with fruit already included.
  •  Choose whole grains and starchy vegetables like quinoa, brown rice or sweet potatoes over refined grains like white rice, breads and potatoes.
  • Use fresh or dried herbs and spices, like cinnamon, to flavor foods and add nutrients.
  • Focus on getting adequate sleep and managing stress levels.”

As the article states: having a sweet occasionally is not going to affect the outcome of risk or survivorship. This is important to remember because when we are depressed a piece of 70% dark chocolate can stimulate those endorphins and we feel better! The same with a cupcake! Sit down and enjoy your treat. Don’t hide and stimulate the “guilt hormone”~chuckle~

January 16, 2015 Dr. Low Dog posted this comment and picture on Facebook.

“The World Health Organization recommends limiting ‘added’ sugar consumption to 25 grams (or less) per day. I don’t think most people realize how many food products have added sugar ‘hidden’ within them. Of the more than 600,000 food items sold on grocery shelves, 80% of them have added sugar. You can keep sugar consumption low by carefully reading labels, ditching the soda, and by eating fewer processed foods.”  Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.

WHO Sugar Verdict

WHO Sugar Verdict

Sorry the quality of the picture is so bad, but the pictures and %’s say it all. It amazes me that 80% of 600,000 foods in our grocery stores have added sugar. Reading the label is so important! Not just the Nutrition Facts box. The ingredient list is even more important. Look for names with ‘ose’ on the end of them. Glucose, sucrose, lactose, fructose are all sugars. High fructose corn syrup is a big one. How about honey, agave, molasses, white grape juice…all sugars. Don’t be fooled by statements like ‘natural sweetener’. What does that mean? Sugar is what it means. I agree with Dr. Low Dog. Eating fewer processed foods, ditching the sodas and I would add cutting back on the fruit juices and your consumption of added sugar will plummet!

Don’t stress about this, we are all in the same boat. Even organic processed foods have added organic sugars. We just need to do what we can but also be open to a treat once in awhile. Sharing a decadent dessert with friends is always fun and the first and last bite are always the best anyway……..Mary

January 13, 2015  The following excerpt is from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute website, Ask a Nutritionist. I love her answer about sugar. Glucose/sugar, is used by every cell in order for it to survive and replicate properly.

She compares the sugar in an orange and a donut. I would like to add that the orange has fiber and the donut doesn’t. The fiber in the orange assists in slowing down the amount of sugar entering your bloodstream at one time. Complex carbohydrates in whole grains and fruits are healthy when eaten in their natural whole form. When you juice fruit then you are removing the fiber and the sugar enters the bloodstream quickly much like a Coke! Moderte amounts of fruit juice are fine, 4-6oz a day. By the way, this includes carrots. Carrot juice is very high in sugar. You are better off eating the carrots than drinking a lot of carrot juice. Once again, in moderation, 4-6oz per day is fine.

Another reminder. The difference between juicing and smoothies is fiber. Juicing removes the protective fiber that your digestive system needs. Smoothies break the fiber down but doesn’t discard it. My opinion is that smoothies are the more healthy choice.

Ask the Nutritionist: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Q: The question of sugar and white flour always comes up. Does sugar feed cancer cells? Am I harming myself and encouraging a recurrence if I eat sugar? 

A: The notion that sugar feeds cancer is widespread in the public press. To cut to the chase: it’s not that simple. There is not a 1:1 ratio or direct link between eating a bite of sugar and the resulting growth of a certain number of cancer cells. “Sugar” is a term often used to represent dozens of important, natural chemical structures that exist in our bodies. However, most of us hear the word sugar and think of the white form of table sugar.

The typical American diet is high in many processed and refined foods, including sugar and white flour. Replacing these foods with healthy forms of carbohydrates, such as fruits and whole grains, is advised for people who have had cancer. However, being fearful of or restricting intake of certain foods that contain natural sugars is not necessary or healthful.

Here’s an example: Should cancer survivors avoid eating oranges because they have natural sugar? For comparison’s sake, let’s consider that one medium orange contains 12 grams of sugar and a small donut contains 10 grams of sugar. The difference is that the orange also contains fiber and phytonutrients, both of which may play a role in fighting cancer, whereas the donut is just 200 empty calories, devoid of any potential nutritional benefit. Eliminating foods that contain sugar, such as fruits, is not wise for cancer survivors as this limits intake of cancer-fighting nutrients that are important for energy and overall health.

In fact, many cancer patients are led to believe they must follow a restricted sugar diet for fear of causing cancer growth in themselves if they do not adhere. This fear and rigidity often promotes a very stressful experience. The stress will actually lead to an increase in blood sugar as well as compromised immunity. These negative health effects are actually the exact opposite of the purported benefit of such a plan.

There may be a connection, however, between a diet high in refined, processed foods combined with a sedentary lifestyle that may lead a person to become overweight and eventually experience insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause an increase in blood levels of insulin and related compounds that may act as growth factors. The connection between body weight, insulin levels and cancer survivorship is currently being researched. In the meantime, becoming more physically active, striving to maintain a healthy weight and eating a plant-based diet including substituting refined sugars and white flour with whole grains and other unprocessed carbohydrates can all help to keep insulin levels in check and promote cancer survivorship.

Email me if you have any questions: maryh@sdcri.com