Does Sugar Feed Cancer?
Glucose, Carbohydrates and Insulin
Glucose is the form of sugar used in every cell in our body. It comes from the diet we eat (in the form of carbohydrates and sugars) and is also manufactured by our body. If we do not consume any carbohydrate our body will still make sugar from other sources, including protein and fat.
Research shows that it is sugar’s relationship to higher insulin levels, and related growth factors, which may have the most influence on cancer cell growth. Cancer cells have many more insulin receptors than normal healthy cells, and are therefore likely to take up more sugar than normal cells.
Different Types of Sugars
However not all sugars are created equal. It depends on what type of sugar you are dealing with and how it is consumed. The natural sugars in fruit and vegetables are not the same as the refined sugars from the supermarket or the added sugars in the processed foods many people consume. The sugar content contained in fresh fruits and vegetables, and their juices, is very different from refined sugars and other concentrated sweeteners such as corn syrup.
Nutrient Deficiency & Processed / Packaged Foods
The natural fresh foods contain a high percentage of water as well as oxygen, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, in addition to their sugars. This combination of nutrients provides the body much of what it needs to effectively utilize and break down that fresh food item and its natural sugars. In contrast processed and packaged foods containing refined sugars, sweeteners and chemicals do not come with the same compliment of necessary nutrients to utilize and break down the contents of that food item.
Quite often people with cancer may have severe depletion of nutrients in their body. This can occur as a result of a prolonged diet high in processed foods, devoid of nutrients that the body needs to digest the food. Without the necessary nutrients in the food, the body will begin to extract the nutrients from within its own reserve system in the organs and bones. However the body also needs those reserve nutrients to maintain its own homeostasis, normal metabolic functions, detoxification, and a healthy immune system. This may compromise the body’s ability to remain healthy and may lead to the development of diseases such as cancer and others.
Cellular Energy and Health
Each of our billions of cells strive to do their relevant tasks in keeping us healthy and optimally functioning. The cells require energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to do their work. ATP is created within the mitochondria inside our cells as part of the normal metabolic process of the breakdown of food. If we lose the capacity to produce ATP at the cellular level we can easily become sick. Therefore an important part of any health restoration should take into account the body’s ability to continue to produce ATP at the required level.
The mitochondria in the cells require regular supplies of oxygen and sugars (glucose) to be able to manufacture ATP. Without sufficient oxygen supply to the cell it will instead lead to the production of lactic acid from the breakdown of sugars. One of the main nutrients required by cancerous tumors for their survival is lactic acid. Therefore the major issue in maintaining healthy cells is an adequate supply and utilization of oxygen to the cell (as well as other required nutrients), rather than limiting the supply of proper sugars.
It is well known that cancer cells cannot survive well in a highly oxygenated environment.
Acid / Alkaline – pH Level
The acid/alkaline balance is also a critical consideration in terms of cancer, and also other diseases. Known as the pH level it means the level of potential hydrogen, determined by a consideration between the number of hydrogen (H+) ions and the number of hydroxide (OH-) ions. If the number of H+ ions equals the number of OH- ions, the substance is neutral, and will have a pH of about 7.
The higher the level of hydrogen (H+) ions, the greater the acidity level. If the hydrogen ions accumulate inside the cell, leading to acidity, that cell will naturally repel the oxygen trying to enter into the cell. Therefore in a highly acidic environment, tissues cannot be oxygenated adequately and ATP cannot be sufficiently created at the cellular level. Much of today’s dietary habits, in terms of the developed-world’s focus on processed, packaged foods, containing chemicals, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, etc, leads to the development of acidity in the body. In contrast, consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices influences and creates alkalinity. It does this by transforming into potassium hydroxide OH- hydroxyl ion can enter the cells and react with the positively charged hydrogen ion.
A food’s contribution to acidity or alkalinity is measured not by that food’s own acid/alkaline level but instead by what happens in the body after the food is broken down by the body. This is often referred to as the food’s acid-forming or alkaline-forming capability, and is also known as the ‘acid-ash’ or ‘alkaline-ash’, denoting what remains after the food has been ‘burned’ by the body.
Foods that produce an alkaline-ash are generally the fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices. Such alkaline-ash foods leave behind high concentrations of magnesium, calcium, and potassium in their ash. These minerals are used to form alkaline compounds in the body, including magnesium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide. So the production and presence of these hydroxide ions (OH-), as a result of this process, will help to maintain the proper balance of hydrogen (H+) in the cell, which will in turn enable proper cellular oxygenation, utilization of sugars, and the production of adequate ATP. How well a food is digested can also influence the degree to which it is acid-forming or alkaline-forming.
To express it another way, the process of hydroxide ions (OH-) entering the acidic cell that has a high level of hydrogen (H+), will result in neutralizing the hydrogen and replacing that hydrogen with water (H2O) which gets flushed out of the cell, thereby changing the pH of the cell and enabling proper oxygenation.
The addition of common chemical alkalinizing agents to the body (such as sodium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, etc) in the hope of reversing cellular acidity will not achieve that result because those agents do not contain the hydroxide (OH-) ions needed to neutralize the hydrogen (H+) ions in the acidic cell. In addition the body will be burdened in having to deal with and eliminate those alkalinizing agents via the kidneys and urine. That is why the pH of the urine may appear to be highly alkaline.
To eat a completely raw food diet is not advisable. The body would need to exert so much energy to break down and digest an all-raw-food diet only. Raw foods’ fiber content alone would be likely to create a significant burden on the body’s energy, and is not advisable. However if you juice the raw foods it will extract the nutrients which can then be efficiently consumed and easily broken down, and immediately utilized by the body without requiring unreasonable levels of energy to do so.
80% Raw (i.e. 60% Juice + 20% Whole) & 20% Cooked
A person with a chronic, and perhaps life threatening disease, requires a considerable concentration of nutrients that simply cannot be made available through eating entirely whole raw food items alone with their high content of fiber. Therefore while the preferred diet may be 80% raw and 20% cooked, the majority of the 80% raw food content (say 75% of that 80%) should be in the form of juices (particularly vegetable juices) without the burden of excess fiber for the body to break-down. Whole raw fruits are much easier for the body to break-down compared to eating whole raw vegetables, because they generally contain far less fiber.
Cooked foods are much easier for the body to break-down compared to raw uncooked vegetables, and require far less energy expenditure. In considering an optimum diet, it is important to determine the present state of the person. It is common sense that a person with low energy, lethargic, poor health and losing weight should not focus on eating whole raw vegetables and fruits. Instead a high concentration of fresh vegetable juices plus cooked foods would seem to be a better combination for such a person. And as we have seen above, the high level of vegetable juices will help to neutralize acidic cells and enable proper cellular oxygenation to break down the needed sugars in order to help the body maintain strength and energy.
So in conclusion everybody should limit or eliminate refined sugars and added sugars in packaged and processed foods. People diagnosed with cancer should completely eliminate such refined and added sugars. The natural sugars found in fruit and vegetables, provided they are consumed together with the particular whole fruit or vegetable or its juices, are of less concern. Bear in mind that all healthy cells require sugars in order to produce their energy in the form of ATP.