Researchers have now pinpointed a link between sugar consumption, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers. The consumption of refined sugars, sweets and processed foods are often seen as luxury items, but are the risks worth it?
Dietary sugar has been found to produce inflammation and weight gain, both of which are leading causes of type 2 diabetes. Diseases such as cancer and diabetes may seem worlds apart but the new research shows otherwise.
The study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found 26 per cent of black women who were diagnosed with breast cancer also had type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is also known to impair one’s immune system thus contributing to the development of cancer.
The suggested link between consuming excess sugar, Type 2 diabetes and cancer is an elevated level of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for allowing nutrients into the cells of the body for energy.
In type 2 diabetes, insulin receptors do not work properly and causes the body to produce more insulin than normal. High levels have been shown to promote the growth of tumours.
Sodas, sugar-laced beverages and highly processed fruit juices contain a compound called benzoate or benzoic acid. This compound has been found to increase the risks of obesity, diabetes and the development of a variety of cancers.
Even more alarming, “we find that highly processed foods are making up massively more of children’s diets. Things like cakes, biscuits, snacks and crisps,” says Dr Alex Richardson, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford.
Type 2 diabetes was once called adult-onset diabetes until children started developing the condition. Type 2 diabetes is rarely linked to genetics as over 80 per cent is caused by poor lifestyle choices. Essentially, type 2 diabetes and the risk of developing certain cancers is based on one’s choices.
Type 2 diabetes has been shown to double the risk of developing pancreatic, liver and endometrial cancers. It has also shown to increase breast, bladder, blood and colorectal cancers by 20 to 50 per cent.
Healthcare is meant to be proactive and not reactive in nature. The growing concern is that by the time people visit a doctor, they’re so sick and this approach results in poor clinical outcomes.
Better access to lifestyle education, preventative interventions and early treatments are important factors in managing one’s weight, type 2 diabetes and risk of cancer.
Fighting cancer with treatment versus prevention and action is doomed to be a failure. Reducing dietary sugar and highly processed foods are critical to reduce harm to one’s immune system, weight gain and obesity, and inflammation.
Processed foods are also filled with other hazardous chemicals such as preservatives, additives, flavourings, artificial colourings, hydrogenated fats, stabilizers, sweeteners, sodium, sugar and calories that are devoid of any original or essential nutrients.
The common culprits to avoid include pre-packaged foods such as pizzas, pastas, snacks, soups, sandwiches, fried foods, chips, pastries and ice creams.
Dr Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and works in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education.