By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Eating a lot of sugar raises inflammation in the body, increasing the risk of breast cancer, and the likelihood that it will spread. A study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is suggesting that the high sugar level typical of the Western diet is one reason why rates of breast cancer keep rising. It also seems that high sugar diets raise the risk of breast tumours spreading to the lungs.
The findings were published in the January 1, 2016 issue of Cancer Research. “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 is a quote from Peiying Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine. He went on to say “This was due, in part, to increased expression of 12-LOX and a related fatty acid called 12-HETE.”
Earlier studies have found that dietary sugar intake has a negative impact on breast cancer development, with inflammation thought to play a key driving role. According to co-author Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D, “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.”
Breast cancer is a frighteningly common disease. A lot of emphasis is placed on detection of breast cancer through mammograms, but nowhere near enough emphasis is placed on prevention. Far too many people think there’s nothing they can do to reduce the risk of this disease. The good news is that genetic factors play a much smaller role than most people realise.
We know that excess inflammation is a driving force in nearly every disease. Sugar is one factor that raises inflammation, but there are others. Stress, leaky gut, food intolerance, heavy metal toxicity, chronic infections and nutrient deficiencies can all play a role. Learn more about reducing the risk of breast cancer in our book The Breast Cancer Prevention Guide.
A high sugar diet is more harmful for some people. Young, fit, slim people are usually better at maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, despite a high intake of sugar in their diet. As we get older, it usually becomes harder to maintain a healthy blood sugar reading. People with insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome and those who hold excess weight on their torso are more at risk. These people often produce higher than normal levels of insulin in response to eating carbohydrate. Insulin can raise inflammation and it’s a growth promoting hormone. Dr Thomas Seyfried is a leading authority on the use of very low carbohydrate diets in cancer treatment. You can watch one of his recent interviews here.