Monday, April 14, 2008

Sugar…. not so sweet? Part 1

Helloooo SWEET angels,

What an amazing blog we have for you to read today. My inspiration, Crazy Sexy Beth MD has laid out the real deal scoop on sugar and how it effects your health and CANCER. Beth is a doctor, canSer cowgirl, raw foodist, lover of all things CSL, AND our new Director of Development. You will be hearing a lot more from this mighty titan, especially in my new book (in stores in Sept) where she contributes amazing tips. Take it away Beth.....

Sugar…. not so sweet??

By now, most of us have heard, “sugar feeds cancer.” Is this true? Why hasn’t my doctor said anything? What does that really mean?

Admittedly, I do use the phrase, “sugar feeds cancer” because it is direct and simple. And while at its core, it is not erroneous, “sugar feeds cancer” is a bit of an overstatement. Let’s look at some of the basic science behind this and try to understand what this phrase is really trying to tell us.

Sugar – glucose – is the fuel of the human body – period. EVERY cell in your body relies on glucose to keep its engine running. So much so, that the body will break down anything and everything to keep sugar around. Ever wonder why some patients with aggressive, malignant disease start to “waste away” and get so thin? This is called cachexia. The body breaks down protein, along with the typical carbohydrates and fats, to produce sugar to keep up with the metabolic demands of the body – and the cancer.

So where did the statement “sugar feeds cancer” come from?

Well, back in the 1930’s, there was this super smart PhD, Otto Warburg. He won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his work researching the metabolism of cancer cells. His pivotal finding:
“Cancer has only one prime cause. It is the replacement of normal oxygen respiration of the body’s cells by an anaerobic (oxygen deficient) cell respiration.” – Otto Warburg, PhD.

Hold the gravy train, what does that have to do with sugar?? That sounds more like a pH discussion, right??

Well, they kind of go hand in hand, hang in there with me here…

Cancer cells tend to have a higher metabolic rate than healthy normal cells, about 8 times higher, in fact. That is the basis for the PET scan. Patients are injected with radiolabelled glucose. Yup, nuclear sugar! It zooms to the areas with high metabolic rates, like cancer, and lights up like a Christmas tree on scan. Cancer cells have to run on overtime because they actually operate an inefficient system, they have to keep the fuel supply coming (which is why cancer patients lose weight and feel so fatigued). Dr. Warburg showed us that malignant tumors metabolize best via anaerobic glycolosis – meaning they like to work in an environment devoid of oxygen. Anaerobic metabolism only produces 1/16th of the energy that is generated in comparison to aerobic metabolism. This is why cancer cells are always hungry for more fuel. The anaerobic metabolism of glucose, which produces the byproduct lactic acid, is accomplished via fermentation. And what is the most readily available fuel for fermentation… you guessed it, SUGAR!!

Are your heads spinning yet?? Let’s circle back a minute. Why would I say that “sugar feeds cancer” is an overstatement after the above explanation??

Well, because sugar feeds your healthy cells too – not just cancer cells. Glucose in and of itself is not bad, our cells, our bodies need it to survive. Everything you consume is eventually broken down to sugar. Which is where a lot of doctors get stuck, they know there is nothing specific per se about sugar that “feeds” cancer. Sugar is simply fuel. However, because of its greater metabolic rate, cancer uses up fuel first and fast, remember the basis for the PET. And sugar is the preferred fuel for fermentation, the anaerobic metabolic pathway of cancer cells. So basically, consuming excessive sugar is throwing gasoline on the fire. And we all know what happens then… KA BOOM!! Personally, I don’t want to provide the cancer cells with an excess of the very thing they need to survive, to grow, to spread.

And that’s not even the whole story….

Part 2 will be posted on Wednesday!

Good luck cleansing this week. For more, info, support and recipes, go to the fasting/cleansing group on

Peace and sugar-free love,
Crazy Sexy Beth MD

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