The Cancer/Sugar Link

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The current buzz about cancer and its link to sugar consumption has actually been known since the '30s when Dr. Otto Warburg discovered cancer had a biochemical cause. He pointed out that normal cells have a continuous need for oxygen from blood circulation while cancer cells do not.

In wine making, a vintner will tell you that the process requires an oxygen-free environment to ferment correctly. Sugar strengthens the fermentation process. In a person with cancer, the cancer cells feed off sugars stored in your body. However, so do healthy cells. To fully understand this, we must look at good sugars and bad sugars. Just as there are good fats and bad fats, there are sugars that are healthy and promote healthy, vital cell growth, and sugars that are damaging to your health.

Examples of good sugars that your body will use to produce healthy cells are beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods are complex carbohydrates that promote health by providing your body with vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.

Bad sugars are obvious: sodas, candy, pastries, products that contain white flour, (yes, that includes tortillas), and some of those hidden sugars that are not so obvious like coffee creamers, many times loaded with sugar under hidden names like malto dextrin, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, etc. In fact, i was amazed to learn there are over fifty names for sugars in foods we consume all the time! From yogurts with popular name brands to fiber supplements, you may be receiving a hefty dose of sugar daily and not even be aware of it.

So, the moral to this sweet story? Make a daily effort to rid your diet of unwanted sugars which are damaging to your body, and replace them with good sugars as mentioned above. Need a healthy sweetener? Try some of the obvious, honey, agave nectar, Stevia, from the South American plant, and some you may not be aware of, tagalose, which is made from lactose but has a third of sugars' calories and is not processed in a harmful way like sugar is. It also does not raise blood sugar levels,which means it is fantastic for diabetics.

Simple steps to reduce sugars in your diet would be to order your iced tea half and half, (half sweetened, half unsweetened), use real fruit in plain yogurt rather than purchasing one that contains sugar and food coloring, eat a sweet potato rather than white potatoes; less sugar, more vitamins!

Also, as we all heard our grandmothers say, "Everything in moderation." Take a look at your drink and food intake today and see how many foods and drinks you consumed that contain hidden sugars. I think you will be surprised, sweetie!

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