We can’t begin to estimate the complexity of cancer.
The disease, which will affect half of Aussie men and one-third of women in their lifetime, is triggered by genetics, environment, lifestyle factors and even more risks we are yet to understand.
And as the science is showing, a diet of excessive sugar is likely to be one of them. We’re rounding up a list of studies which point to sugar as a very real part of the problem.
The links between sugar and cancer.
Note: we’ll continue to update this list as significant studies are published. See one we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments below.
- Breast cancer: A 2016 study on mice found that 50 to 58 per cent of subjects on fructose- and sucrose-enriched diets developed mammary tumours in six months. The cancer also grew faster and had significantly higher rates of spreading to the lungs.
- Pancreatic cancer: A massive analysis of nearly a million patients found 50 per cent diagnosed with pancreatic cancer had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the previous year. Type 2 diabetes is significantly linked to sugar intake.
- Gallbladder and bile duct: A 13-year study on 70,000 adults found that drinking just 400ml of sweet drinks a day doubled the risk of gallbladder cancer. It also increased risk of bile duct cancer by 79 per cent.
- Aggressive cancer: A 2012 review determined that fructose intake was not only associated with heightened risk of pancreatic and small intestinal cancers, but more aggressive cancers and metastasis (spreading to other areas of the body).
- Insulin resistance: Experts are trying to unpick the relationship between insulin resistance (often triggered by excess sugar consumption) and cancer risk. This could be because insulin increases cell growth rate.
- The inflammation connection: Many scientists believe that inflammation creates the perfect environment for cancer to flourish. Of course, sugar (fructose, in particular) is one of the many things that fosters inflammation.
In summary, it certainly can’t hurt to quit sugar…
The Cancer Council reckons at least one in three cancer cases could be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. They recommend not smoking (obviously), limiting alcohol, practicing sun safety, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight… and eating for health.
Quitting sugar fits pretty neatly here – after all, it’s essentially a matter of cutting out rubbish and eating real, delicious food.
And if lowering your cancer risk isn’t enough, did we mention that quitting sugar is great for your heart, liver, gut health, brain and waistline, too? Is it time you gave sugar the boot?