Last week I told you about two important new studies on sugar I learned about while traveling through the UK recently. The first study, as I mentioned last week, revealed that British children eat nearly 50 pounds of sugar per year. But if you can believe it, the second study was even more frightening (yet equally underreported here in the US).
It showed that the Western diet, which is heavy in sucrose (AKA table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup, plays a distinct role in the development of breast cancer and the way these tumors spread to the lungs.
This study, published in Cancer Research, is the first of its kind to explore the direct effect sugar has on the development of breast cancer using animal models. It also attempted to pinpoint the exact mechanisms sugar is acting upon — and specifically what role inflammation plays.
Now, you know I don’t necessarily like to make conclusions based on animal studies, but this one is pretty straightforward, and I think we can learn something from it.
The researchers separated mice into four groups, feeding them each a different diet.
And this is what they found:
- For the mice who were fed a starch-controlled diet, 30% had measurable tumors at 6 months of age
- The mice who ate a sucrose-laden diet (in an amount similar to the current Western diet) had tumors in the mammary glands 50% to 58% of the time
- Mice who ate a sucrose or fructose diet and developed tumors had their cancer spread to the lungs at a higher rate than in the mice on a starch-controlled diet.
The researchers also found that high levels of dietary fructose or sucrose set off two important biomarkers. The first is a marker for inflammation called 12-lipoxygenase (12-LOX). And as I’ve mentioned many times, inflammation is the primary culprit in a long list of chronic illnesses — including breast cancer.
The second biomarker sugar wreaks havoc on is called 12-HETE. This marker regulates the ability of tumors to spread to nearby cells. And the researchers think this may be how breast cancer spreads to the lungs.
This study is just further proof that sugar not only causes cancer, but also makes it worse.
Breast cancer cells, in particular, consume sugar at much a higher rate than normal cells do. In other words, breast cancer literally “feeds on sugar.”
And with the average American eating up to 170 lbs. of sugar every year, it’s no wonder breast cancer has become a significant public health issue, affecting nearly one in seven women today.
But as I’ve been telling my patients for years, one of the best things you can do to decrease your chances of developing breast cancer is to adopt a “sugar-free” diet. And I don’t just mean cutting out cookies and pastries.
Sugar hides in all sorts of foods you might not suspect. Read labels carefully, and look out for any ingredient that ends in “ose” or “ol.” Better yet, focus on foods that don’t have labels at all. A diet based on whole, unprocessed, organic vegetables, meats, fish, and healthy fats is the best all-round health insurance you can get.
That said, there are also some specific foods and supplements that have shown remarkable benefits in terms of helping to off breast cancer. You can learn more about these safe, natural approaches in Chapter 5 of my special report Cancer Free for Life.