Updated June 18, 2014
One of the questions I am very frequently asked is whether it is safe to eat fruit sugar – fructose – when you have breast cancer, particularly when you are juicing or making smoothies.
First, some interesting facts about sugar.
The journal Nature contained a rather in-your-face article in 2012 stating that refined sugar is a toxic substance that should be regulated like tobacco and alcohol, that it has even been thought to have the same serious health-disrupting effects as cocaine. I’ve heard that before, only coffee and caffeine were lumped into the equation as well.
Most natural therapists feel that the single most important thing you could do from a dietary standpoint is to eliminate refined sugar from your diet, and especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) because they are toxic to our bodies. HFCS is a man-made substance which is mainly derived from corn. Also be aware that nearly all HFCS is made from genetically modified corn, which has risk factors all of its own.
HFCS was invented in Japan in 1966. It was introduced to America in 1975. When it was discovered that HFCS was 3 times cheaper to make than sucrose, food and beverage manufacturers began switching their sweeteners from sucrose to HFCS.
Fructose vs Glucose
According to Dr J E Williams in RenegadeHealth.com, “The way your body digests, absorbs, and metabolizes fructose is different from how it processes glucose. Liver metabolism of fructose favors ‘lipogenesis,’ the production of fat in the liver. Unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production. The hormones insulin and leptin act as key signals in the regulation of appetite. Disrupted hormone signaling leads to weight gain because you don’t know when to stop eating.”
Fructose is metabolized mainly in the liver. Contrast that with glucose, which is metabolized by every cell in the body. If you are consuming fructose, that means more work for your liver than if you consumed the same number of calories from starchy foods.
So Is It Safe To Eat Fruit When You Have Breast Cancer?
This is a great question and deserves careful consideration. I am a huge proponent of juicing to help cancer patients regain their health, but I’m also careful to teach people that sugar should be studiously avoided if a person has active cancer because sugar feeds cancer. If a person is well, my advice is that sugar should only be taken infrequently and in moderation.
So yes, it’s true that all of the cells of our body need glucose, or simple sugar, for energy. Even if you were to delete every smidgen of sugar from your diet, your body would still make sugar from other sources such as protein and fat. Research indicates that tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose use these two sugars in very different ways. Cancer cells love both forms of sugar but readily metabolize fructose to increase cell proliferation (growth by rapid production).
Even natural therapists disagree about this subject. Many will advise that we do need to be careful about juicing fruit because sweet juices can elevate your blood sugar levels, while others argue that fruits also contain plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and anti-cancer nutrients that should be included in your wellness regime. It’s true that the fiber and nutrients in fruit act to counter the toxic effects of the sugar.
Here’s my best advice on the matter.
If you have active cancer in your body, go easy on the fruit. Blending might be better for you than juicing (and I discuss the difference in my article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer or Blender to Use? ) because the fiber derived from blending helps you to absorb the sugar more slowly and you won’t get the sugar spike that you might from drinking a juice with no fiber in it. Some fruits are better than others – I would definitely include blueberries, strawberries and cherries (just make sure they’re organic). Although carrots and beets do contain fructose, they also contain plenty of cancer-fighting nutrients that we are only beginning to understand. There are plenty of testimonials from people who say they cured their cancer with carrot juice alone. Beet is an important detoxifier for the blood and liver and so incredibly good for you, it should be part of any anti-cancer regime.
Once your cancer is gone, you could then move from blending to juicing and you could include more fruits. Juicing gives your health an enormous boost and helps you to cleanse and detoxify your body’s tissues. Juicing is something I definitely recommend to assist with the elimination of the toxic chemicals you may have received from chemotherapy and radiation, and to bring your body into a more alkaline state. Cancer loves acidity, so being nice and alkaline is well worth achieving.
If you are, for all intents and purposes, cancer free, juice or blend to your heart’s delight, just ensure that you go easy on the fruit sugar, a much better option is to juice or blend organic raw vegetables and plenty of greens like kale and spinach.
For a list of the best things to juice or blend (as well as why), see my page Diet and Cancer.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/26/sugar-may-be-bad-but-this-sweetener-is-far-more-deadly-part-2.aspx (an excellent article)
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