The Cancer-Sugar Connection Change your Diet, Change your Life By Eva Johnson, MA, LCPC 

I’d like to share with you a story of a man I know named Gary. Gary was a vibrant man in his 40's who was a carpenter by trade and remained active in sports. He was one of those guys that rarely ever got sick and seemed to be the epitome of health. However, one day he called and said that he couldn't climb up a ladder.

Though he had no outward physical symptoms, after numerous doctor visits to find out what was wrong, Gary was diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and given his death sentence. He was told he only had 2-3 months to live. Though his doctor’s didn’t recommend any nutritional therapy for his cancer, after diligently researching the disease, he immediately changed his diet. He eliminated all bread, pasta and anything with sugar. To support him, even his five year old daughter learned to read labels and shop with him. He ate primarily uncooked or lightly steamed vegetables, organic eggs, and occasionally grass fed beef. Gary also started chiropractic care which turned out to be instrumental in alleviating his symptoms and boosting his immune system. 

Once he decided to have chemotherapy, since his body was filled with healthy nutrients and he was under chiropractic care, he tolerated the treatments incredibly well and maintained his weight much to his doctor's surprise. As a result of his diligence in seeking natural health remedies and his will to live while sharing his days with his wife and two little girls, Gary stretched out his 2-3 month death sentence to over a year. Unfortunately, he recently lost his battle with cancer. His full name is Gary Johnson and he was my beloved husband. 

Like Gary, over four million cancer patients are treated in America today with very little nutritional therapy beyond, “eat good food.” What they don’t know is that research has linked eating too much sugar with the major killers of mankind - high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver damage and cancer. 

It is believed that many cancer patients would have a major improvement in their outcome if they controlled the supply of the cancer’s preferred fuel, glucose (which is made when the body breaks down starches such as carbohydrates). Understanding the cancer-sugar connection and controlling one’s blood glucose levels through diet can be one of the most crucial components to a cancer recovery program. 

This is bad news for all those people who enjoy ice cream, candy and soft drinks. If people want to ward off some forms of cancer and work to starve tumors, they should avoid sugar, sweeteners and products that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar itself is not bad. However, too much sugar, without enough protein, fat, and fiber to balance it out, can cause our bodies to make too much insulin. It is not the sugar, but rather the insulin that may be a problem for spurring cancer cell growth. To prevent this, you should limit the simple sugar in your diet. There is no need to follow a stringent diet and swear off every single dessert. The key is moderation. 

Use the following tips to help yourself find a healthy balance with your food choices: 

Stick with naturally occurring sugar, such as sugar that is found in fruit. This is a much healthier option than processed sugar that is found in candy, cake, desserts, pie, and baked goods. 

Avoid concentrated sources of sugar, such as soda and fruit drinks. It's OK to have 100 percent fruit juice in moderation. Stick to a 6-ounce serving. But avoid fruit drinks that don’t contain any real fruit juice.

Limit your “treats,” such as dessert, to just a couple of times each week. Have a modest serving size. 

Focus on whole, healthy, unprocessed food, including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils, and peas), nuts, and seeds. Remember, the quest is not to eliminate sugars or carbohydrates from the diet but rather to control blood glucose to help keep cancer cell growth at bay. When you understand the science behind the cancer-sugar connection, you can relax and focus on eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that you can enjoy. 

Eva Johnson, MA, LCPC resides in St. Charles, IL and serves on Chiro One Wellness Centers' Business Development Team.