Is Sugar Down for the Count?

Sugar has had a bad year or two. Several US cities have implemented so called “soft drink” taxes. Recent research by a UCSF team uncovered records revealing the sugar industry’s secret payoffs to academic scientists tasked with determining sugar’s role in heart disease. A revival of interest in John Yudkin’s 1972 book “Pure, White, and Deadly” hasn’t helped. But things just got worse.

Scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas just published a startling discovery: squamous cell cancer of the lung is addicted to sugar. In the Nature Communication article, the authors note that the five-year survival rate for this common form of lung cancer is only 5%, and no treatment has been found effective. But they plan to next explore whether limiting dietary sugar can slow down the growth of this deadly cancer.

Squamous cell cancer of the lung is not the only neoplasm that feeds off of sugar, in the form of glucose. High levels of a protein called glucose transporter 1 was also found in squamous cell cancers of the head & neck, esophagus, and female cervix. Sugar consumption has also been tied to breast cancer’s spread to the lungs and to men’s risk of prostate cancer. Could reducing sugar in the diet keep these cancers from growing?

While it is too early to know the answer for sure, what we know about sugar’s association with diabetes, obesity, and heart disease should already have us on edge about the sweet stuff. The idea that sugar makes some cancers grow should give us further pause.

Of course, America is addicted to sugar and kicking the habit will not be easy. Look no further than the brand new doughnut shop down the street. My mouth is watering already.

Oops. Time to watch my Jouney2Health video on Cravings. May help me starve a cancer.