Why Everyone Should Monitor Their Blood Sugar
By Brian D. Lawenda, M.D.
We often hear that “sugar feeds cancer.” While having elevated blood sugar levels is associated with increased risks of developing cancer, independent of other physiological factors, it is too simplistic to claim that dietary sugar consumption makes cancer grow.
Why High Blood Sugar Is Cancer Promoting
Cancer certainly prefers to consume sugar over other energy sources, but so domost cells in our body. We have to have sugar to live, so it’s not possible (or desired) to avoid all food and beverages containing sugar or carbohydrates that convert into sugar in our body. The problem comes down to the amount of sugar and other carbohydrates we consume throughout the day (mainly, unhealthful, simple carbohydrates) because most of us overdo it. And overdoing it leads to high blood sugar and insulin levels, which store the excess sugar as fat. That stored fat (especially, abdominal fat) is cancer promoting by:
• Secreting proteins (cytokines) that cause systemic inflammation, leading to metabolic syndrome (see below to learn more about “metabolic syndrome”)
• Causing a fatty liver, leading to metabolic syndrome
• Causing insulin resistance, leading to metabolic syndrome (you can test to see if you have insulin resistance with a glucose-insulin tolerance test).
• Secreting free radicals that can damage DNA
• Secreting hormones (estrogen and other cancer growth factors) that cansignal cancer cells to grow, etc. In short, metabolic syndrome is classified by a number of criteria: obesity, a bad lipid profile and insulin resistance. Metabolic syndrome can lead to numerous untoward medical conditions, including cancer. (To learn more about metabolic
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