So what’s the deal with sugar? For me, the biggest change that I made when I found out I had cancer was to stop eating foods with sugar in them. Somewhere along the line, I learned that “sugar feeds cancer,” but it wasn’t from my doctor. I learned about it after reading books on nutrition and how it can be used to heal from cancer. Armed with that knowledge, I began a crusade of eliminating sugar from my diet. When I was in the middle of my Lymphoma struggle, I really had no problem with this. My goal was to stay alive for my family, so this was an easy battle to me. It only became a problem afterwards, when I was healthy. Then I found it to be hard…really, really hard! On one hand, you are so happy to be alive; and on the other hand, you can’t believe that you can’t eat as many chocolate chip cookies and ice cream as you want! It is a constant thought that I have…not obsessive, mind you; it is more of a general “awareness” that I have. I now pay more attention to high-carb or sugary-laden anything, and I don’t just ingest it “willy nilly,” like I did when I didn’t know better.
What’s the background on sugar? Glucose, more commonly called sugar, is an important energy source that is needed by all the cells and organs of our bodies. Glucose comes from all the different foods that we eat. Carbohydrates such as fruit, breads, pasta, and cereals are all common sources of glucose. These foods are broken down into sugar in our stomachs, and then absorbed into the bloodstream.
An increasing number of medical scientists, along with many alternative practitioners, have learned that the most logical, effective, safe, necessary, and inexpensive way to treat cancer is to cut off the supply of its food (glucose) to tumors and cancer cells. The selective starvation of tumors, by modifying one’s diet, is one of the principle forms of therapy that many cancer patients are using to increase their chances of survival.
Ways to decrease sugar in your diet are varied, and some are easier than others. For some people, it means that they will no longer eat any sugary-laden sweets or drink sodas and other sugary beverages. For others, it might mean that they are going to stop eating all the sugary foods and beverages that they used to enjoy, but they also plan to decrease the amounts of fruits that they eat and increase their consumption of vegetables and lean sources of protein. On the other end of that spectrum is the Ketogenic Diet, where you are in a constant state of ketosis all the time.
Ketosis is when your body doesn’t have enough glucose available to use as energy, so it switches into a state where molecules called ketones are generated during fat metabolism. All cells, including cancer cells, are fueled by glucose. If you deprive them of glucose, they switch to the alternate fuel, ketone bodies. The interesting thing about how it relates to cancer is that cancer cells have a defect that prevents them from making the switch to using ketone bodies as fuel. Since all other cells use glucose or ketone bodies, this diet starves cancer of their glucose…their fuel.
The Ketogenic Diet consists of almost no carbohydrates, but includes lots of natural proteins and fats. The diet focuses on clean eating, with no sugars, salts and chemicals. Meats are in their natural form, and are not processed like cold cuts and hot dogs.
So what can I do about my sugar intake? Many experts are starting to realize that we need to take a more holistic, long-term approach to cancer, and to pay closer attention to the overall health of patients suffering from disease. Getting to the root of underlying health issues like obesity, unbalanced hormones, chronic stress, and inflammation of all sorts can cause a body to get out of homeostasis. Using proven strategies such as nutrition, exercise, stress management, and targeted supplements can reduce inflammation and boost immunity, which can reduce the risk of cancer.
Common sense says that it is advisable to find a balanced way to approach sugar consumption and your own health. Exercise, eating a healthy diet, taking vitamins and supplements, and learning about how to reduce stress and inflammation are all positive changes you can start to make immediately. If you do not know where to begin, you may want to start with your doctor or naturopath to get some lab tests done to help you see where you are on the health spectrum.
In closing, reducing sugar is good for reducing weight and eliminating other risk factors associated with negative health. That being said, it obviously would seem to be one of those good things to do for “you!” .
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