The harmful effects of sugar are slowly becoming common knowledge. Did you see 60 minutes last night? They highlighted the fact that sugar (and High Fructose Corn Syrup) are a major cause of obesity, type II diabetes , hypertension and cancer. Yes, cancer. When a Harvard researcher was asked by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, â€œIf you limit your sugar intake would you limit your chances of developing cancer?â€ The researchers response was simply â€“ â€œabsolutely.â€ It is commonly said that sugar feeds cancer. Technically speaking sugar does not feed cancer per se but it is does cause an overproduction of insulin and another substance known as insulin like growth factor â€“ 1 (IGF-1) that contributes to the development and progression of cancer.
My take on this:
I have mentioned in previous blogÂ postsâ€™ that sugar and simple carbohydrates are the major contributors to chronic, systemic inflammation and cancer (prostate.) The most important decision you can make to slow the â€œaging clock,â€ prevent heart disease and prevent or slow the progression of cancer cells is to significantly limit the consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates. How easy is this?
Not easy at all. Sugar has a drug-like effect when consumed not too different from legal (alcohol, cigarette smoking, etc) and illegal drugs. Almost all drugs cause the brain to produce dopamine, which leads to a feeling of euphoria. Sugar intake does the same. In fact, just like most drugs, sugar is dose dependent in order to make you feel good. Another words, the more you take the more you need to make you feel â€œhappy.â€
The other challenge is that sugar is blended into many sauces and foods including but not limited to: yogurt, cereals, soups, peanut butter and energy drinks.
- Do a â€œResetâ€ of no simple sugars for two weeks. This is not easy. I know. I do it two times a year. For the first two or three days headaches and other withdrawal side effect may be experienced. By day 4, the cravings diminish significantly. By day 7 – 10, you are just tired of it look forward for variety.
- Exercise with moderate intensity. An exercised body does not produce as much insulin or IGF-1 to metabolize sugar.
- Snack on healthy nuts. Pistachios, almonds and walnuts are super healthy and controls sugar cravings.
- Manage stress with exercise, deep breathing and by learning how to problem-solve. When we are stressed we typically look to sabotage ourselves with booze or sugary foods. There are many good books and resources on the topic. This link may also be useful.
- Fruit juices are as bad as soda. A 12-ounce soda can has 10 teaspoons of sugar just like a 12 ounce glass of orange juice. Pomegranate juice, dark organic grape juice and other dark red or blue concentrated fruit juices are also high in sugar but have powerfully healthy components to them.
Hereâ€™s what you do: Mix any of those dark juices (about 2 to 4 ounces) with 4 ounces of club soda. This makes for a diluted, less sugaryÂ Â soda type of drink with powerful antioxidant health benefits.
- Fruits (not fruit juice) are the best source of sugar – primarily berries and the dark red, blue and purple kind.
- Don’t eat any food with guilt. If you are going to have a cup cake, have it and enjoy it. Just know that that cup cake is an addictive substance. Two hour later you may no reach for another cup cake, but you may gulp 8 ounces of orange juice and keep this viscous cycle going.
Bottom Line: Cut your simple sugar intake by half starting now -then cut that to another half in two weeks.Â You will experience more energy and mental clarity along with creating a hostile environment to cancer cells. Anyone with a blood sugar disease like diabetes should NOT do this on their own and should seek the help of a nutritionally oriented physician.
If you or a loved one has ever been diagnosed with prostate cancer – join us at our Prostate Cancer Health Retreat and discover how to eat and live and cancer-free lifestyle without deprivation. We have a few more spaces available. All my social network friends and NYU urology patientsÂ benefit from a 10% discount.
See a clip on 60 minutes below on this topic.
60 minutes – http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml?tag=hdr;cnav
Byrne MM, Davila EP, Zhao W, et al. Cancer screening behaviors among smokers and nonsmokers. Cancer Epidemiol. 2010;34(5):611â€“617.