Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sugar…. not so sweet? Part 2

Morning Angels!

She's back and here it is, part two on SUGAR with our Crazy Sexy Resident MD Beth. If you didn't read Monday's post, sit your SWEET tush down and check it out! We're off to the Crossings, will check in Friday and post some pix. Take it away Beth....

"Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, there are 2 categories: monosaccharides (fructose, glucose, and galactose) and disaccharides (maltose, sucrose = white table sugar). When sugar enters your bloodstream, your body releases insulin to then lower your blood glucose levels. How quickly your blood glucose levels rise, which in turn determines how quickly your insulin levels spike, is based on how quickly your food is metabolized. This is commonly referred to as the glycemic index of a food. Big deal, you might say, insulin isn’t bad for me, right??

Not so fast…. Insulin, the hormone that lowers blood glucose, in excess, sends a big message to cells – GROW! Which is great for your healthy cells, not so great for the cancer cells. So one of our goals in our food choices should be to avoid the dramatic spikes in blood sugar, with the correlating spike in insulin. Luckily, the Crazy Sexy Lifestyle nutrition recommendations are spot on for this issue too!!

And as if we needed more incentive… let’s take a quick peek at what sugar does to our immune system. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that phagocytize (eat) any nasties floating around in your body – viruses, bacteria, cancer etc. In order to swallow invaders efficiently, these white blood cells need vitamin c to be inside the cell. (Thank you Linus Pauling for that discovery.) Well, unfortunately, to the white blood cells, vitamin c and sugar look an awful lot alike structurally. So, if there is a lot of sugar around, it will compete with the vitamin c for entry into the white blood cell. The more glucose that goes into the cell, the less vitamin c that enters, so the phagocytic ability of the cell weakens. This is why people say sugar depresses your immune system. It takes a fierce, fighting cell ready to munch up invaders, and turns it into a wallflower who lets the bad boys have a brawl in your body.

So what all this means to me, a canser cowgirl rockin’ the Crazy Sexy Lifestyle, is I need to limit my sugar intake and be mindful of the source. If through my food choices I can starve the cancer and boost my immune system, sign me up, sister!! As with everything, it’s about the choices you make. Limiting your sugar intake allows us to reduce the amount of fuel available for the metabolism of the cancer cells. It allows your immune system to function at its best, perhaps allowing it, along with your treatments, to catch up to the cancer. By sticking to complex carbohydrates as opposed to simple sugars, we can avoid those stressful spikes in our insulin levels which can signal cell growth. By adding fiber, protein, and fat we can slow down the release of insulin. But where the heck does that leave me with fruit?? Well, let’s start with the good news: fruit sugar, fructose, does have the lowest glycemic index of all the monosaccharides. And if you eat the whole fruit, with the fiber intact, as opposed to fruit juice, that will further temper the rise of your blood glucose and insulin response. The bad news: fructose is still sugar. So, if you have active cancer, you may want to limit or avoid fruit altogether because of everything we’ve just learned. Natural sweetners like Stevia and raw agave nectar give you all the sweet flavor without the drama.

So, after all of this, doesn’t avoiding sugar seem like a no-brainer?? I hope so!"

Peace & Stevia,

Beth & Kris

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