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glucose and cancer

tonyb's picture
tonyb
Posts: 69
Joined: Mar 2011

I have read and heard many people remark on Cancers use of glucose.
Basically, what i keep hearing is that cancer feeds on glucose (sugars) so avoid glucose.
But i am thinking that your body also runs on glucose, so i don't know if they are correct in their assumption to "avoid all sugars and as many carbs as practical."
I do understand that the cancer will eat more glucose than normal tissue , but does that nessasarily mean that glucose should be avoided? Whats your take on this?
Tonyb.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

You have unknowingly opened a can of worms :) Many people here are very adamant about NO sugar in their diet. My doctors have never told me to stay away from sugar, naturally you don't want to overdo your sugar consumption.

I'm 21 months post treatment and try to eat a healthy diet but if I want ice cream or other sweets I eat them. Until the day my doctors or nutritionist tell me that sugar feeds cancer I will continue to eat what I like and enjoy it.

Stay well and eat what you like,
Glenna

DominicM's picture
DominicM
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2010

Great question !!! As I'm sure most of us have done, I'm sure that you're doing all the research you can. I did not avoid sugar during my treatment but did certainly consider it after reading several articles relating to holistic treatment of cancers and I found that the best comparison is to that of being on an Atkins-like diet which can "starve" the cancer. Kind of like preparing for a PET scan when your instructed to eat a high protein diet the day before and then you are injected with a radioactive tagged glucose that is supposed to go straight to the cancer because the cancer has been "starved" for a day. My opinion....calories, calories, calories, however you can get them during the treatment. However I did find that sugar did tend to give me thrush more frequently, or perhaps it was just a coincidence.
Dominic

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

Dominic, you have some great answers....

But actually, I believe that the cells that light up during the PET are actually those of high molecular activity...which cancer cells do tend to be. But also infections and other things going on at the time will also light up the PET.

On a side note (and just my belief) I don't totally buy into the sugar feeds cancer idea. If that were definitively the case, the medical society would be putting out a lot more info on the subject. Not saying that it is or isn't fact.

But if you believe everything that you read on what causes cancer, you'd pretty much be limited to just water...oh, and even that in some places might cause cancer....

More than likely it's like Roz mentioned, common sense, and moderation will get you pretty far in living right if it's meant to be...who knows, we are all different.

Best,
John

olybee's picture
olybee
Posts: 82
Joined: Jun 2011

Q - my husband and I have been on a low carb diet - eat only protein in meats and lots of veggies for about three years. Our cholesterol and triglycerides were excellent, and it really help me with my diabetes. When Bob had this tonsilar cancer come up, neck dissection and now radiation, all our diet went out the window. He seems to only be able to eat/consume higher carb, sugary fluids. So, can you tell me, in the future, will be ever get back to being able to eating a couple of salads a day, enjoying cruciferous vegetables again? I just see this as such a change in our lives, and that's fine - I just need to figure out how to feed him the best way I can now

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

We always ate a low-fat high-fiber diet (my kids really do call me the fiber queen, and used to consider it a treat to eat white bread. . . until it started not tasting as good to them as whole grain bread).

When we had to try to put the lbs back on Doug, his oncologist told me to let go of my fear of fats, even the saturated ones.

We spent the winter eating lots of cream of vegetables (mostly carrot, squash, red pepper, but also potato/bean/kale) soups, made with real cream. High vitamin content, high fiber, but high fat. My son immediately said, "what makes this taste so good?"

Most of the food we eat now is still lubricated with some kind of "gravy" - the favorite is medium white sauce, but made with carrot juice as most of the liquid and cream for the rest. Add a bit of red wine to counter the sweetness and bottled browning stuff (mostly carmelized sugar) for color.

The standard milkshake is supplemented with Carbogain (the hated maltodextrin - the advantage is that it doesn't thicken the drink and releases sugar slowly, like a complex carbohydrate; the hated part of it is that it is "synthetic" although you can at least get it made from organic sources if you want) and, of course, cream.

He also eats, each morning, 3 eggs (local, grass-fed) scrambled with cream (local, organic) and velveeta (OK, I can't get that local or organic, but it sure makes them slippery).

He's put 25 lbs of mostly muscle (plus enough fat to keep his nerves from being sensitive) back on and his last blood work was great. I've been eating the same diet (in smaller quantities) and my cholesterol and triglycerides are still excellent. I'm just finding it hard to lose weight this way, even with vigorous exercise daily.

However, yes, he will eat salads again. Doug has been, and he also enjoys substituting Romaine lettuce for wraps to eat egg salad or chicken salad. He does long for the day that he can eat home-made whole-grain bread again (or even stuff off the shelf).

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

As HONDO says, he's a work in progress....

At this point and for several months, it's going to be dynamic and always seeming to change. Right now he needs to eat what he can and not worry some much as for nutitional or the healthest choices,(at least in my opinion).

When he starts improving taste wise, he'll try what works, and doesn't...even that will change over time.

It's funny because I'm two years out and my wife and I were just talking over dinner. Some things that I use to like, at first I didn't, then several months after, they still didn't. Some of those things now do taste better again, so even after two years, I believe my taste is still evolving.

Best,
John

palmyrafan's picture
palmyrafan
Posts: 398
Joined: Mar 2011

I too have heard of sugar feeding tumors from my cancer docs and I have also read it in many cancer books by well-respected doctors.

That said however, I also agree that our bodies naturally make sugar that will in turn feed the tumors.

So what I do is try to strike a happy medium. I drink juice in the morning and have a small bowl of fresh fruit as my afternoon snack. I will occasionally have 2 oreos (or similar size cookies) after lunch (don't need the sugar to interrupt my sleep). But that is it. No sodas or anything heavier in sugar.

I have a sweet tooth and it was very hard for me to give up chocolate (Godiva!) but I realized that I was probably feeding my tumors exactly what they wanted and I had to do it.

I'm hoping someone will come out soon and tell us we're all wrong about the sugar feeding the tumors because I would love to be able to indulge my sweet tooth again.

Peace.

Teresa

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

I eat mostly fruits and veggies and whole grains. I eat what ever I want. I just don't eat a ton of it. Like two cookies for a treat one day. A serving of a small ice cream cone the next day. I feel I have an over all healthy foundation of good nutrient rich foods. I don't believe in cutting out whole food groups. I do believe in responsible healthy eating over all. I don't really buy the sugar feeds cancer thing, or the ban on dairy or meats (even tho I'm mostly meat free cause I cannot swallow it). But that's just me and what I've decided for myself after much reading.

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

With data? Like, daily blood glucose level checks and comparison of mean blood glucose level (or amount of variation) vs tumor shrinkage/growth/remission time, etc.?

As folks have pointed out, our very efficient bodies can put glucose into the bloodstream using any source, including protein. Simple sugars cause the spikes, but you are not getting any more glucose to your tumor (dosewise) getting the glucose from simple sugars than you getting it from protein. Since it takes longer to digest the protein, the time during which the glucose enters your blood is longer (duration) but at a lower level (as opposed to short but high). Kind of like burning calories on the treadmill - 5 minutes fast or 20 minutes slow burn the same number.

Do folks who have lots of blood glucose spikes get cancer more often? Do folks who have very constant blood glucose levels have a better chance of NED? Anyone see any numbers anywhere (actual data on patients, not "we put the tumor cells in glucose and they grew" as we all know that)?

Doug's tumor stopped shinking around the time he stopped eating. His blood glucose never really tanked, but for a month it was at "fasting" levels. Fortunately, that is only anecdotal as well as easily explained as an anomoly, so I wouldn't use it to refute the glucose theory. . .

tonyb's picture
tonyb
Posts: 69
Joined: Mar 2011

thanks to all that have replied,
Glenna, gee i hope i havent opened a big ole ugly can of worms here, Really i don't know enough to make up my own mind on this subject , i sure wouldn't want to get anyone riled up at me !!!
Dominicm, thanks for your input it gives me food for thought.
John, I know what you mean, now a days everything causes cancer , it just depends on who you listen to...
teresa and sweetblood, thankyou, i like your take on things.
Dr. Mary , no i haven't seen any actual studies on this, but i would bet my doctor has.
and that prompted the question. He has never cautioned me on glucose, so i am wondering was it an oversight or does he feel that the gluecose tie in is over rated?
I go back to see him in a couple more weeks, and i intend to ask his opinion also.
Tonyb

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

While I have read dozens of article re Cancer and sugar, the main focus should be on 'what' sugar and how to take it. Processed sugar (the white stuff) appears to be the offender. We get plenty of sugar from healthy foods, Fruit, Vegetables and Complex Carbs. We do not need any additional sugar.

The SAD (Standard Amercian Diet) is pretty much over loaded with sugar and other crap. As people have increased thier intake of sugar and crap, the incidence of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer has gone up dramatically. We are much more unhealthy now than in the past.

There appears to be a strong association in consuming excess sugar, and a host of diseases and general inflamatory conditions in the body. Sugar is an acidizing food source, another negative thing for those that follow the ANti-Cancer diet theory.

Considering Doctors don't buy into the argument, yet pump us full of Poison, while Natural therapist work on getting the body to fuction, I know who I follow now when it come to dietary advice and it's not Doctors.

I avoid all free sugars and go for low GI foods and only complex carbs now (no processed white foods). I know I am better off for it.

Scam

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

What, LOL, no mention of all of the salt and it's ill effects, or bleached flour.....

It's just actually hard work to eat the way that is most healthy...but then again, what studies show what is the most healthest way....

Not debating your concerns and findings Scam, just throwing a few more of those additives or enhanced food items that are jammed into nearly everything we consume.

JG

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

John,

You are right, it's a mine field but only because so many of us are reluctant to give up the lifestyle/Diet to which we are accustomed.

It is only hard to make the change. Once you cross over, you will wonder what the hell you were doing before and why.

You can avoid nearly all the bad stuff very easily. People have lost the art of food preparation and have become too dependent on packet foods, pre-mix and pre-made everything.

If you shop only in the green grocer / Fresh Produce section of the supermarket, then are going to be in good shape, assuming you don't fry and over cook stuff and maintain a good % or raw food in your diet. It is really not that hard.

The more creative you get, the better the variety and enjoyment of your food. I can't say every meal is a 'pleasure' for me, but they are all healthy and due to the mouth damage and Saliva levels, the bad stuff is actually difficult for me to eat.

Giving the Fast Food industry the complete flick is another mandatory step to good health.

It saddens me to see people wait till they get a recurrence before they take this stuff seriously. These days I'm into 'Prevention' as my mantra, rather than throw caution to wind and go back to my old eating habits.

Scam

Greend's picture
Greend
Posts: 679
Joined: Feb 2010

I want it fried in grease, batter made with beer, sweet iced tea and a sweet potato pie for desert....crap guess I'll just pour another Ensure down my tube.

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

A hundred years ago, the cancer rate was lower, right? A hundred years ago, folks cooked with lard and butter - olive oil was unheard of (in 'merica). People who didn't live near the coasts never ate seafood - and many who did have access to seafood thought of it as "po' folks' fare."

Personally, I'd like to believe that animal fat is OK as long as it's from a free-range, grass/insect-fed animal. I offer as evidence the fact that I've been eating breakfast with Doug for the last 6 months - that breakfast has consisted of scrambled free-range eggs made with organic cream and organic butter (he gets 3 eggs and I get 1). At my check-up last month, my cholesterol level was not only quite low, but also lower than it had been several years ago. Sorry, no real studies to back up my claim.

GreenD - when you are eating again, we'd be glad to treat you to some free-range pork ribs, organic beer and an organic sweet potato pie (the crust made with lard, of course). Let us know when you're in Maryland. Oh yeah - all the food will be local as well. We're funny that way.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

Man, I must be old......

I grew up on lard, and my relatives in southern ohio still buy it by the 5 gallon bucket. When cooking eggs, they practically sub-merge the eggs (from the hen house) with lard, then pour it on top of their eggs placed neatly on a deep plate.

But then they always leave room on the plate for side pork (from the pig pen), fried pinto beans with grape jelly mixed in and a few fat scratch biscuits....

On, and wash that down with a big glass of cold fresh loaded with fat and buttermilk (yep, from the barn)....

But I we did eat the free range....groudhog, squirrels and rabbits too...LOL.

JG

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

Fm the Wik:

... By the late 20th century, lard had begun to be considered less healthy than vegetable oils (such as olive and sunflower oil) because of its high saturated fatty acid and cholesterol content. However, despite its reputation, lard has less saturated fat, more unsaturated fat, and less cholesterol than an equal amount of butter by weight.[2] Unlike many margarines and vegetable shortenings, unhydrogenated lard contains no trans fat. It has also been regarded as a "poverty food".[4]"

I Still have no desire to replace the Olive & Coconut Oils I eat. Still stacking the deck.

I also think 100 yrs ago, the consumption of sugar and other refine foods and packet crap was far less.

S

Greend's picture
Greend
Posts: 679
Joined: Feb 2010

I wish I were going to eat again. I'm one of the select and chosen few with the long term (15 years) after effects. This lovely tube and I will be together forever; guess I should give it a name. Could be male or female.

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

forgetful and insensitive - I'm so sorry I didn't remember where you were in the food chain. Still, I'd be glad to make you a BBQ pork mouthwash (we're still fairly comfortable with folks spitting out food here - just aim for the compost heap).

Names for the tube: Tantalus? Umby (short for umbilicial)? Your Partner in Chyme?

Greend's picture
Greend
Posts: 679
Joined: Feb 2010

No apology even thought about, way beyond that....might take you up on the Bar-B-Que and spitoon.

Love the name

:>)

Denny

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

we were dead by the age of 30. Since most cancers arrive much later, that statistic is a little misleading.

Cancer rates (and heart disease) rose with the average age, which rose with the defeat of the main killers of their day. The only relation is that we live longer lives, so are subject to the diseases of our age (as opposed to our time).

Still, I love the fatty end of a piece of BBQ! And sweet tea is a treat every time I'm in the South!

palmyrafan's picture
palmyrafan
Posts: 398
Joined: Mar 2011

I agree Scam. We eat fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fish and lean meats. We don't eat fast food and we keep our canned or boxed goods to a bare minimum (whole grain rice, etc.) We also make our own pasta (had to invest in a Viking Bowl Mixer for that) and we read the labels on anything else (condiments, etc.)

It IS more expensive but it is worth it if you can do it. But I have noticed that my husband and I both have benefitted from the change in our diet over the last 7 months. We both have more energy and we have actually discovered that there are some foods we really like as adults that we hated as kids....lol...

My husband has even gone so far as to cut back on the amount of sweets and sodas that he consumes and I never thought I would see that.

Teresa

buzz99's picture
buzz99
Posts: 404
Joined: Sep 2010

All cells use glucose as their fuel whether they are cancer cells or normal cells. It is a fallacy to think you can fight cancer by eating a low sugar diet. I wish diet could cure cancer. It would be much more benign than that awful mix of chemicals which makes people so sick. Karen

nwsunni's picture
nwsunni
Posts: 16
Joined: Jun 2011

Our oncologist encouraged us to read "Life Over Cancer" by the founder of the Block Center (http://www.blockmd.com/LifeOverCancer.htm ). You might want to take a look at that to answer your question. Also, look at: http://www.blockmd.com/press_hh.htm

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

That is a very good web site and full of info that everyone can use, thank you so much for sharing it with us.

All the best to you
Hondo

tonyb's picture
tonyb
Posts: 69
Joined: Mar 2011

Denny (greend) has a good point. I was born and have lived in Alabama my whole life. All i know how to eat is battered and deep fried, and when you grow up on this stuff its a quality of life versus quantity issue.
LOL , down hear we even fry our fresh veggies. (If you never ate fried green tomatoes, you have really missed out.) One of the main things i missed while i couldn't eat was .. Greasy fried pork chops. the way you know there good ones, is when you hold them with both hands, and raise them up to your mouth, the grease drips off your elbows... mmmmmmmm...

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8052
Joined: Sep 2009

Well, I do know that some of the meats I eat now have changed from what I previously preferred....

As for chicken for instance... I have always been pretty much a white meat man, breasts, and wings... During the periods where I had little saliva, that changed a lot to legs and thighs...but now with regaining a lot of the saliva back. I compromised or adapted I guess, I tend to lean more toward wings and legs, LOL....

Pork still seems to be most dry compared to other meats, even though I have a huge amount of saliva compared to the first several months post rads...

Best,
John

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