Updated: Jul 14
“Refined sugars are strongly linked to cancer, not only as a cause of the disease but also as something that feeds the cancer cells once the person has it. Nothing could be more important to consider in the attempt to improve the outcome of cancer treatments..." Sugar, Cancer, and Disease and Prevention - A Strategy for the Selective Starvation of Cancer. By Mark Sircus, OMD
Throughout my life, I had heard of many people, destined to die, who cured themselves by radically changing their diets and lifestyle. This is not a new concept. In fact, Hippocrates, the ancient Greek founder of modern medicine, knew way back then that food was medicine. Yet, medical schools spend very little time educating future doctors about nutrition and healing.
As wonderful and well-intentioned as my medical team was, not one doctor, aside from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Clinic, ever asked me about my diet. I found that shocking. This did not happen to me, but if your doctor tells you that you can eat anything you want when you have cancer, please question this. Do your own research. Everything you put into your body matters, even more so when your body is grappling with cancer and working overtime to keep you alive. Are you going to hurt it or help heal it? Ditch the donut. There's lots of cookbooks out there with healthy and delicious dessert alternatives. A few here.
I was in the midst of reading “How to Starve Cancer…Without Starving Yourself" by Jane McLelland. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Jane combined traditional medicine with alternative medicine, diet, and her own “cocktail” of low toxicity drugs not normally used for cancer. Alongside a low glycaemic diet and powerful supplements Jane ‘starved’ her cancer of glucose, glutamine and fat.
This empowering book fueled my belief that I did have some control of my illness. And that lifted me out of any sadness. I wasn't going to passively stand by and hope to be cured. I was determined to help debilitate cancer with one of the strongest forces in my personal arsenal:
Up to that point, I had a fairly good diet. I avoided red meat, ate whole grain bread, lots of organic fruits and vegetables, rarely touched alcohol, and tried to stay away from tap water. Milk had been out as a beverage for 25 years, but I ate foods with dairy and butter as ingredients. Sounds pretty good, right?
Except for one crucial factor: I was addicted to carbs and sugar.
Sugar, How I Did Love Thee.
I loved my “treats” especially desserts. My latest obsession with Tate’s Chocolate Chip cookies became a joke with friends and family, as seen above. If you have ever tasted these cookies, you would understand why. Scrumptious. I was about 7 pounds overweight and eating probably 25 of these cookies a week. That doesn’t even take into account the enormous amount of desserts, carbs (primarily breads), and flavored coffees I was consuming. And even though I ate a lot of salads and walked, there wasn't a day where I didn't consume sugar.
Before this all happened, I vaguely remembered hearing of the connection with sugar and cancer. I have since learned that cancer cells are “addicted” to refined sugar (white, brown and corn syrup).
Once again, this is not new.
In 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that cancer cells are primarily fueled by the burning of sugar anaerobically (meaning without oxygen). Sugar gives these abnormal cells the energy to grow, whereas healthy human cells get their energy from oxygen. Without sugar, most cancer cells simply lack the metabolic flexibility to survive.” Cancer Free with Food. Liana Werner-Gray.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
One of the biggest culprits is high fructose corn syrup. Unlike natural sugar such as fruits, with vitamins, minerals and fibers that the body can absorb, high fructose corn syrup goes straight to the liver. Nothing else can process it. Aside from being a cancer risk, too much fructose can cause problems with the liver, arteries and heart. This is bad sugar. And what it is in? More than you could imagine.
Here is just a brief list of where HFCS could be hiding:
Condiments: ketchup, salad dressings, syrup, barbecue sauce, jelly, to name a few
Crackers and Granola Bars
Processed Packaged Desserts
Bread and Wheat
What do do? READ THE LABELS. Of everything. You would be surprised how many foods are laden with not just HFCS, but sugar. If any type of refined sugar is in the first three ingredients, shelf it. The basic belief is that if your food is boxed, bottled canned, it most likely has sugar. We are blessed to live in a day and age where there are so many healthy alternatives. You have to shop differently.
Sugar is linked to a multitude of diseases, not just cancer.
To be clear, I am not attributing cancer on any one thing. We all have cancer cells in our body and it is the job of the immune system to destroy them. I believe it was a pinball effect of a multitude of factors, over many years, that caused the breakdown in my immune system. I knew that in order to truly heal, I had to look deeper into not simply the symptoms (cancerous tumors), but the root causes of my illness. More to come on that later.
One thing was for sure- refined white sugar was fueling the fire. And on the list, it was the first thing to go.