4 Things You Should Know about the Link between Sugar and Cancer
When someone mentions addiction, sugar is not usually the first substance we think of. Yet the detrimental effects of sugar and processed foods on our body’s health can be insidiously dangerous and very much akin to the addictive process. Whether addiction or not, people who engage in unhealthy eating habits, including compulsive eating and binge eating, are particularly at risk to develop a host of physiological problems due to the quantity and quality of food they consume. A new study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center goes a step further, demonstrating a correlation between certain types of sugar and cancer growth. Here are four things you should know about sugar and how it relates to cancer.
- It’s everywhere. Fructose, ubiquitous in modern American food production, was the specific kind of sugar found to be responsible for exacerbating cancer growth within the mammary glands of mice involved in the MD Anderson Cancer Center study. Fructose is most well known for its presence in high fructose corn syrup, and used as a sweetener in most conventional processed foods.
- Consuming even “allowable” amounts is too much. Researchers at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center found that even mice fed the USDA recommended maximum amount of sugar- 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men- still saw an aggravated increase in cancer growth. For comparison, the average can of soda contains about 12 teaspoons of sugar.
- The link is especially visible in the growth of breast cancer. It is significant to note that the study specifically looked at the relationship between sugar and breast cancer growth. It remains to be seen exactly what the relationship between sugar and other types of cancers might look like, but this study and its results should not be dismissed for their limitations. More research is needed to confirm these findings.
- Overconsumption of sugar is almost entirely avoidable. The saturation of the modern American food market with high fructose corn syrup makes its consumption nearly impossible to avoid if you rely on quick, pre-packaged food choices. As individuals we must choose what and how much to eat every day. As the damaging effects of sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup, come to light, we must strive to thoughtfully integrate this information into our eating habits. By cooking from scratch, getting foods from local sources, and choosing organic products when possible, we can remove most of the processed materials and chemicals from our diets.
It is never too late to get help for yourself or a loved one who struggles with compulsive eating, but the disturbing implications from this study suggest that the sooner you and your loved ones can begin to decrease your fructose consumption, the less likely you or they may be to develop cancer.