We’ve written many times about the dangers of refined sugars to your mind, body, and spirit. Excess sugar consumption is at the root of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, chronic pain, rapid aging, and so much more.
For years, the debate about whether or not sugar is one of the risk factors for breast cancer has raged on. Every study that firmly points the finger at sugar is promptly explained away by the food industry, government agencies, and even cancer organizations.
Nothing to see here…move along.
Consumers allow themselves to be deceived because we want our sugar. Here in the Western world, the sales of soda, sugary “coffee” beverages, and energy drinks is unbelievable. We get the bulk of our sugar intake from what we drink. The average American consumes well over 100 pounds of sugar annually and much of it comes from what we drink.
Every day, the citizens of the United States consume more sugar than every other developed nation and more than double what is recommended as a maximum level by the World Health Organization (WHO) to maintain good health.
The Social Progress Index measures how countries stack up to global averages in areas such as education, housing, water quality, environment, human rights, overall health, and so on. Right now, according to their extensive data, the United States holds 11th place in obesity.
A recent study in breast cancer risk factors drives home the point more clearly than ever before and there’s no more time to debate the pros and cons of refined sweets.
The bottom line: we eat too much sugar and it’s making us very sick.Click To Tweet
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center discovered that an excessive intake of sugar not only increased overall risk factors for breast cancer but ramped up cancer’s metastasis (spread) to the lungs.
These are January 2016 results published in online medical journal Cancer Research.
Dr. Peiying Yang explained their findings. “We found that sucrose intake in mice comparable to levels of Western diets led to increased tumor growth and metastasis, when compared to a non-sugar starch diet. This was due, in part, to increased expression of 12-LOX [12-lipoxygenase – enzymatic signaling pathway] and a related fatty acid called 12-HETE.”
Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine assistant professor, Dr. Yang added, “The current study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development. We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.”
In other words, sugar signals the cancer to “KEEP GOING.”
Many studies have found links between sugar consumption and the development (and aggressiveness) of breast cancer but most have focused on the inflammatory features of sugar.”
Dr. Yang stated, “Prior research has examined the role of sugar, especially glucose, and energy-based metabolic pathways in cancer development. The inflammatory cascade may be an alternative route of studying sugar-driven carcinogenesis.”
While excess inflammation is absolutely a danger to every cell in your body, the discovery that sugar can also alter enzyme signaling in the human body should cause every “high-fructose corn syrup isn’t bad…it’s made from corn” stance to evaporate.
We all know it won’t happen. Sugar is firmly entrenched in the modern American diet and is rapidly spreading to other countries gaining access to our way of eating through fast food restaurants and junk food manufacturers.
It’s up to you to stop refined sugar in your own life, in your own diet, to lower your personal risk factors of breast cancer. As with all cancers, there can be many things that increase your risk so it’s imperative to address (and remove) anything that is within your power to control.
Though it might seem that genes are the main thing to worry about, less than 5-10% of all cancers are linked to family history and genetic mutation.
10 Major Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
1. Yes, men get breast cancer and it is as devastating as it is for women. However, statistically, women are 100 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men.
2. Family history. Genetic defects that pass from family member to family member are out of your control. If you have a history of cancer – especially breast cancer – in your family, consider genetic testing to help you be proactive.
3. Benign issues with breast tissue. If you have dense breast tissue (where you have less fat), benign cysts, or lesions caused by infections in the tissue, ducts, and lobules.
4. As we age, our risk increases. 2-in-3 invasive cancers are discovered in women who are 55 years and older.
5. Previous cancer. If you’ve already fought cancer and won, you must remain diligent about your diet, lifestyle, self-exams, and follow ups with your doctor.
6. Length of menstruation. The earlier you start your periods and the longer you have them may affect your overall risk factors of breast cancer. Experts believe this is due to a longer exposure to estrogen and progesterone hormones.
7. Exposure to radiation. Excessive x-rays (especially of the chest) increase your risk of cancer, including cancer of the breast.
8. Hormone replacement therapy and birth control. The increase in hormones can raise your risk slightly and cause short and long term side effects. Talk to your doctor about non-hormonal birth control options and safer alternatives to HRT.
9. Alcohol consumption. All the major cancer experts agree that drinking too much alcohol increases a woman’s risk of developing many cancers, including breast. Women shouldn’t drink more than one glass a day (men no more than two) to lower personal risk.
10. Weight. Being overweight or obese (especially after menopause) can affect hormones within the body and raise insulin levels – which has been definitively linked to cancer risk. Controlling your body weight and getting regular exercise have been proven to lower your cancer risk (as well as your risk for many other serious diseases and conditions).
The American Cancer Society is vague on diet, which I find fascinating. They manage to simultaneously discredit valid scientific research while also covering their rear. This statement was pulled directly from their site:
“Many studies have looked for a link between what women eat and breast cancer risk, but so far the results have been conflicting. Some studies have indicated that diet may play a role, while others found no evidence that diet influences breast cancer risk.”
It’s irresponsible but also disappointing that we’re still talking about whether or not the food you eat (that feeds and fuels your body) affects your health. How could it not?
Make no mistake. Your diet matters.
Lowering consumption of inflammatory foods, getting more antioxidant-rich foods to counter damage already sustained by your cells, and so much more that we’ve talked about here on Daily Superfood Love is your key to lowering your risk factors for breast cancer and almost every other disease. Check out these 5 foods that have been used to prevent and even treat cancer!
You have one body to live in…keep it running stronger and longer by taking a proactive approach and letting food help to heal you.