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Did You Know?
Cancerous cells have eight times more sugar receptors than oxygen receptors.

Sugar, in its simple form called glucose, is a major source of energy for humans. The overconsumption of sugar plays havoc in our lives and increases the risk of developing many life-threatening diseases. It is a known fact that sugar is a major factor in making you obese and developing type 2 diabetes. Of late, studies have shown that high blood sugar level is now found to be associated with cancer. This article explains how too much sugar consumption can lead to cancer.

What Does Research Say?

According to a study conducted by the Madrid's University Rey Juan Carlos, researchers have discovered a link between excess consumption of sugar and cancer. The study, led by Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez, was analyzing how cells in the intestine react to sugars, which signal the pancreas to release insulin―a hormone which regulates blood sugar levels. Sugar in the intestine stimulates the release of a hormone called glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) that increases the release of insulin. This secretion of GIP is controlled by a protein, beta-catenin, whose activity solely depends on the sugar levels. Beta-catenin mutations have been linked to the advancement of ovarian, prostate, and colon cancer. Harmful effects of sugar include increased inflammation and immune function suppression.

Also, research shows that beta-catenin intervenes in the natural life cycle of cells, inducing them to become immortal, and by that, precancerous. Further, it is revealed that beta-catenin gathers in the nuclei in the presence of high sugar levels, resulting in cancer cell proliferation.

Another study conducted by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, concluded that a diet which contains a lot of sugar-laden foods, such as chips, baked goods, and sodas increased the chances of developing colorectal or bowel cancer which can form either in the colon or rectum. The study analyzed the dietary habits of 2,063 colorectal cancer patients and those of 2,776 control subjects who were in good health. They also tested around 170 foods that were a part of the subjects' diets which included fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, chocolate, chips, and fruit drinks. The conclusion drawn from the study was that foods marked as "high-energy" put you at a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer.

According to the estimates provided by the National Cancer Institute, there will be approximately 50,830 deaths due to colorectal cancer in America in 2013.

Sugar does not lead to cancer; however, the excessive consumption of sugar without the proper intake of proteins, fats, and fiber is what puts you at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, as well as cancer.

Sugar Metabolism in the Body

Sugar is a complex molecule made up of fructose and glucose and is necessary for every cell in the body. Increase in the intake of sugar causes weight gain and makes you obese. Unhealthy weight gain coupled with lack of exercise increases the risk of cancer.

According to the American Heart Association, daily intake of sugar for women should not be more than 25 grams (i.e., 6 teaspoons), and for men, it should not be more than 37 grams (i.e., 9 teaspoons). This is equal to 100 calories for women and 150 for men. However, most Americans end up eating more than double the amount recommended.

Experts say that improved dietary habits and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent cancers in about one in three people. Also, 63 percent deaths worldwide are caused due to non-communicable diseases, like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular maladies, mainly due to lifestyle factors.

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 10 adults is both obese and diabetic, and the world obesity rates are doubling every 20 years. In the United States, diabetes is the cause of more than 2 deaths every hour.

These are some shocking figures which portray the reality and effects that unhealthy lifestyle, poor dietary habits, and lack of nutrition have on the overall human health. It's high time we wake up, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and make the necessary dietary changes to fight diseases, like cancer.