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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cancer Prevention Number Five

 As I get to the final post in this series on cancer prevention, let me review what I’ve already talked about.  The following nutrients have enormous numbers of scientific studies backing up their role in keeping you free of cancer as well as many other unpleasant and deadly conditions.
1.       Selenium
2.      Iodine
3.      Magnesium
4.      Vitamin D
These are not controversial.  The science is good and pretty overwhelming.  That they are not more mainstream reflects the lack of profit from them, rather than questions about their effectiveness in prevention.  They are also nutrients that are in short supply in nearly all populations.  You need all of them—and you probably do not get what you need.  New info about Vitamin D supplementing is worth reading.  Found here  If you are older they are now recommending 8,000 iu per day.
The final subject of this series is an anti-nutrient—something you need less of than you’re probably getting.  It is sugar.  
The sugar industry would have you believe sugar is innocuous and that because it begins life as cane, beets or corn, it is “natural” and ok as part of your diet.  More and more research and even mainstream information indicates this is far from the truth.  In this series of articles my premise has been about the things known to prevent development of cancer.  High blood sugar is without doubt a player in that development.  The question remains, how much is too much.  
Here’s a study done in Sweeden in 2007 published in Diabetes Care.  When researchers looked at specific types of cancer, they found that both men and women with the highest blood sugar levels were more likely to have pancreatic cancer, urinary tract cancer, and malignant melanoma (the most deadly type of skin cancer) than those with the lowest blood sugar levels.  And for women, endometrial and breast cancer risk was highest for those with the highest blood sugar.
Because there is too much information on this anti-nutrient for this venue, and because I am busy writing a whole chapter on it for my upcoming book, I will briefly mention a few items of proof. 
Those  with highest glucose levels are 63% more likely to develop breast cancer.  A study of 33,293 women – which measured fasting and after meal glucose spikes – found those in the highest range were 75% more likely to develop other cancers. 
Pancreatic cancer is more likely to occur in people who have long-standing (over 5 years) diabetes than in people who do not have diabetes. In pancreatic cancer patients who have had diabetes for less than five years, it is unclear if the diabetes contributed to the cancer or if the precancerous cells caused the diabetes.
From a Feb 2013, study in Madrid, what is less well known is that diabetes and obesity are linked to an increase in cancer risk. The diabetic population has up to twice the risk of pancreatic or colon cancer among others.  Dr. Custodia García said "We were surprised to realize that changes in our metabolism caused by dietary sugar impact our cancer risk. We are now investigating what other dietary components may influence our cancer risk. Changing diet is one of easiest prevention strategies that can potentially save a lot of suffering and money."
The connection between diabetes and cancer was first reported in 2004 in large population studies by researchers from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is not controversial. What it means is that you are more likely to get cancer if you’re diabetic than if you’re not, and you’re more likely to get cancer if you have metabolic syndrome than if you don’t.
Suggesting that sugar might kill us is what zealots do. But Robert Lustig, who has genuine expertise, has accumulated and synthesized a mass of evidence, which he finds compelling enough to convict sugar.  It is given in his hour and a half long indictment of sugar widely seen on Youtube (found here: )
If it’s sugar that causes insulin resistance, then the conclusion is hard to avoid that sugar causes cancer — some cancers, at least — radical as this may seem and despite the fact that this suggestion has rarely if ever been voiced before publicly.  For just this reason, neither of these men (Robert Lustig and Gary Taubs, Author of Good Calories, Bad Calories) will eat sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.  
As if that were all not bad enough, sugar—high blood sugar is implicated in many, many diseases and health problems.  Nancy Applegate, author of “Lick the Sugar Habit” lists dozens of them based on research and studies that prove or strongly suggest the connections.  
Of particular concern to me at this age, is the connection between high blood sugar and brain shrinkage and dementia/Alzheimers.  Dr. Permutter, a Neurologist and author of “Grain Brain” preaches constantly about sugar (from any source) and the dangers to brain health.  His blog and newsletters are worth the time to read/watch.
One last thing in this shortened version of this topic.  The mechanism by which high blood sugar does the damage that it does, is inflammation.  We are not designed for high blood sugar.  The actual role of insulin in a healthy metabolism is to move nutrients into cells.  It’s lesser role of reducing blood sugar was designed to be only an emergency purpose in rare cases of elevated blood sugar.    Both high blood sugar and high insulin are highly inflammatory and inflammation causes damage—ultimately all disease and un-healthy states.
Blood sugar comes from what you put in your mouth.  Not only the sugar in sodas and desserts and junk food, but from the added sugar in virtually every processed food in the grocery store.  Read labels.   But even for people trying hard to eliminate that sort of sugar, remember that grains are huge condensed packages of sugar.  Look up glycemic load of any wheat, rice or corn product here (and even the “good” grains like quinoa and the like or gluten-free substitutes.)
Protein and fat do not convert to blood sugar in digestion.  All carbohydrates do, some in dangerously high amounts and quickly.  For lifelong health, freedom from cancer, especially, but good brain health into old age, less sugar—from all sources-- is mandatory.
Next article will examine why the information in the last few article is not more widely known and promoted.

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