According to estimates of the American Cancer Society, about 12.5 million people had some kind of cancer in 2009. About 25.8 million people had problems associated with diabetes at that time. Every year, these two very frequently occurring diseases kill several million people. Most people know that the high blood sugar level is detrimental to our body and that, at least partly, we can regulate it through proper diet. However, can cancer be regulated in the same way?

Sugar and Cancer

According to researchers, blood sugar levels and cancer rates are interconnected. The most common risk factors that contribute to diabetes include high blood sugar and obesity. Moreover, diabetics belong among a group of people more likely to be at risk of having colorectal or pancreatic cancer. A group of scientists led by Dr Custodia Garcia-Jimenez conducted a study published in Molecular Cell journal, which points out that sugar may increase the risk of cancer.

During digestive processes, sugar is identified in intestines, and the pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar level. The insulin release can be also initiated by the GIP hormone.

Increased activity of β-catenin is known to be a major factor in the development of many cancers and can make normal cells immortal, and key step in early stages of cancer progression. The study demonstrates that high (but not normal) sugar levels induce nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and leads to cell proliferation. The changes induced on β-catenin, the molecules involved and the diversity of cancer cells susceptible to these changes are identified,” Science Daily reports.

In other words, an increased level of blood sugar could initiate protein production that affects the risk of cancer.

We were surprised to see that changes in our metabolism caused by dietary sugar impact on our cancer risk,” said Dr Garcia-Jimenez. “We are not investigating what other dietary components can influence our cancer risk.”

Dr Garcia-Jimenez believes that “Changing diet is one of the easiest prevention strategies that can potentially save a lot of suffering and money.”

Many experts agree that sugar represents a health risk. The current average daily personal consumption of sugar is higher by approximately 300% than the recommended daily dose. Isn’t it worth considering?