Sugar - The Fertilizer For Disease

I guess I could start with a lecture about how you have to walk 32 miles to burn the number of calories in a traditional Easter basket but I’m a little tired of lobbing that fitness grenade. It’s time to start thinking of all the sugar we consume a bit differently. The angle I usually take is by hitting “below the belt”, you know, referring to how your body LOOKS.

My rants, up until now, have focused on the fact that eating too many calories, especially nutritionally empty calories (like what comes in the Easter basket) can make your body fat. Calorie Reality, I call it. But there’s an even more serious reality that hits “inside the belt” that new scientific studies are just beginning to understand.

Sit down. We need to talk. First, a brief science lesson.

When we eat sugary (or white flour for that matter) foods with a high “glycemic index”, your blood levels of glucose rise rapidly. The body immediately releases a dose of insulin so that the glucose can enter your cells. When this insulin is secreted it is accompanied by the secretion of another molecule, called IGF (insulinlike growth factor). IGF stimulates cell growth. Sounds okay so far, right? To simplify, sugar nourishes tissues and makes them grow faster. Also, insulin and IGF have another effect in common. They promote inflammation.

Americans consumption of refined sugar has skyrocketed. Back in caveman days humans ate barely four pounds of honey a year and now the average American eats 150 pounds of refined sugar yearly.

It’s a fact that the metabolism of malignant tumors is largely dependent on glucose consumption and glucose is from the sugar we’ve digested. Do you know how PET scans commonly detect cancer?

They just measure the areas in the body that consume the most glucose. If a particular area stands out because it consumes too much sugar, cancer is very likely the cause.

Now it’s a big leap to say that cancer is caused by sugar but most new scientific studies are slanting  in this direction: People who want to avoid cancer  and obesity-related diseases down the road should seriously reduce their consumption of processed sugar as well as refined flour.

So here’s my fitness for dummies explanantion. If you think of your blood and guts as your body’s soil, then sugar is the bad seed that can turn into a weed and you know how weeds spread in your flower beds and even through cracks in your sidewalk. The seed might come from your genes or environmental toxins- things we can’t always control. But whether the seed grows or not can largely depend on the existence of the conditions needed for survival- favorable soil, water and sun.

If you don’t want to provide the ideal fertilizer for cancer to grow then you need to avoid sugar and refined flour. It’s as shocking and simple as that. Will you still be a good mom if you fill their basket with a few colored eggs and some non-food toys or gadgets? I’d say you are being a better mom, in the long run.