Skip to content

Discovery of Protein More Closely Links Sugar to Cancer

Discovery of Protein More Closely Links Sugar to Cancer

A Madrid-based research team has determined that prolonged levels of high blood sugar “increase the activity of a gene widely implicatedin cancer progression.”

What They Found

While it is well accepted that sugar plays a dangerous role in the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes, sugar’s relationship to cancer has been far less clear up to this point. The team of scientists, led by Dr. Custodia Garcia Jimenez at Madrid’s University Rey Juan Carlos, was analyzing the relationship between sugar in the intestine and the release of insulin by the pancreas. They found that, when excess sugar causes the intestine to release thehormone GIP, it simultaneously increases the activity of a protein that can transform normal, healthy cells into immortal, cancerous cells. This protein is known as betacatenin.

How it Happens

Excess sugar triggers a harmful, three-part chain reaction:

1. First, excess sugar (table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) works its way into the intestine.

2. To regulate the level of sugar in the blood, the intestine releases the hormone GIP to instruct the pancreas to produce insulin.

3. Beta-catenin, which “strictly” relies on sugar levels, regulates the intestine’s production of GIP. As sugar levels increase, so does the activity of beta-catenin. Simply, a sustained high blood sugar level increases the activity of a mechanism that helps cancer progress. “We were surprised to realize that changes in our metabolism caused by dietary sugar impact on our cancer risk,” Dr. Garcia Jimenez told the Science Daily. “We are now investigating what other dietary components may influence our cancer risk.

Changing diet is one of easiest prevention strategies that can potentially save a lot of suffering
and money.”

What We Already Knew

For more than a decade, betacatenin mutations have been linked to the progression of several types of cancer, including ovarian, prostate and colon cancer. Similarly, sugar has been shown to suppress immune
function, increase inflammation and actually fuel viruses, bacteria and cancers. Cancerous cells actually have eight times more sugar receptors than oxygen receptors (healthycells, conversely, thrive on oxygen).
Excess sugar levels greatly increase beta-catenin activity. To fight inflammation and the development of disease, dietary sugar consumption should actively be controlled.

Going Sugar-Free

Cutting sugar out of your life can be a challenging endeavor in today’s society. It really takes a two-pronged approach:

1. Willingness – This one is up to you. How badly do you want health? What are you willing to do to keep and maintain health? How committed are you?

2. Awareness – This one is difficult. Food companies go to great lengths to hide sugar, rename it and sneak it into the most unlikely places. Why? Because sugar is addictive and profit-seeking companies love nothing more than customers who are addicted to their products. It’s not really James Bond-style villainy as much as it is a fact of life, and a company that wants to make money taking advantage. So how do you raise awareness?

Educate yourself and be mindful. Once you know what to look out for, start looking! Read labels, avoid certain aisles in the grocery store, and don’t ever give up.

There are countless resources online to help keep you sugar-free. Ketogenic diet websites, paleo-diet websites, sugar-free recipe websites, etc. But just to make it a little easier, here are some commonly-used names you’ll find on your food labels for sugar:

  • Maltodextrin
  • Corn Syrup
  • Diatase
  • Fructos
  • Glucose
  • Maltose
  • Carob Syrup
  • Corn Syrup
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Dextran
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Fruit Juice
  • Lactose
  • Sorghum
  • Dextrose
  • Sucrose

You will start noticing at least one of these in almost everything you buy at the grocery store. There is, however, a trick to avoid spending 70 percent of your time reading labels: Stop eating out of a box!

Eat fresh, organic produce. Get grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, free-range eggs, wild-caught fish, raw ingredients. Cook at home. Take your time. Enjoy it. Revel in the feeling of safety and security when you control everything that goes into your (and your family’s) body.

Sure, it’s hard. But you can do it. Take another step toward defending yourself against cancer. Cut out the sugar, watch as your life dramatically changes for the better.