Researchers acknowledge that obesity increases the risk of cancer, and some studies even consider the existence of a causal relationship between this metabolic condition and cancer. One important factor that can lead to obesity is the high intake of sugar through the frequent consumption of processed foods and sugary beverages.

Sugar is a simple, edible, crystalline carbohydrate that comes in many different forms. The main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose, and fructose. Common table sugar is typically sucrose, which is extracted from cane or beets. Sucrose, or table sugar, is made from glucose and fructose. Glucose is found in many different types of carbohydrates like grains, fruit, and vegetables. Fruit, vegetables, and honey contain fructose, while milk has lactose.

When people talk about “sugar,” they often mean table sugar, or sucrose, whereas “sugars” refers to the whole group of saccharides.

White Sugar

White sugar consists of 99.95 % sucrose, and its varying types are often due to crystal size. There are different types of specialty white sugars:

  • Superfine or bar sugar: the crystals are very small and dissolve easily.
  • Confectioner’s or powdered sugar: extremely fine, dust-like crystals.
  • Sugar cubes: lumps of sugar crystals stuck together with sugar syrup.
  • Coarse sugar: the crystals are especially large and resistant to breakdown at cooking temperature.

Brown Sugar

Unlike white sugar, brown sugar contains molasses. Molasses is the raw juice from the extraction process which draws the sugar from the cane or beet. As a result of the naturally occurring minerals from the molasses, it contains slightly more nutritional value than white sugar.

Among the many types and styles of brown sugar, the main two are:

  • Sticky brown sugar contains a heavier concentration of molasses that make it denser and sticker.
  • Free-flowing brown sugar consists of finely granulated sugars that do not stick together and therefore “flow” like white sugar.

Sugars in the Diet

Brown sugar is an alternative to white sugar and contains natural molasses.

Dietary sugar, or the sugar that we eat, can be naturally occurring, such as fructose in fruit or lactose in milk.

Added sugars are those we put on our food or in our drinks before eating, as well as sugars and syrups that have been added to foods in processing and preparation.

Foods with added sugars include sodas, candy, cakes, cookies, pies, fruit drinks, desserts, dairy products, breakfast cereals, and processed foods.

Research

A team of specialists from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, NY has collaborated with colleagues from other research institutions to identify a clear link between sugary drinks and the accelerated growth of tumours in colorectal cancer.

In the new study, the results of which appeared recently in the journal Science, the research team studied the effects of high-fructose corn syrup in mouse models of colorectal cancer.

The team opted for a solution of 25% high-fructose corn syrup because this is the type of sweetener that manufacturers most commonly use as an ingredient in popular soft drinks.

“An increasing number of observational studies have raised awareness of the association between consuming sugary drinks, obesity, and the risk of colorectal cancer,” explains co-author Jihye Yun, who is an assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine.

The current thought is that sugar is harmful to our health mainly because consuming too much can lead to obesity,” she continues. “We know that obesity increases the risk of many types of cancer, including colorectal cancer; however, we were uncertain whether a direct and causal link existed between sugar consumption and cancer.”

The study also found that cancer tumours were able to collect and use these through different routes.

Most previous studies used either glucose or fructose alone to study the effect of sugar in animals or cell lines,” notes Yun.

However, she continues, “We thought that this approach did not reflect how people actually consume sugary drinks because neither drinks nor foods have only glucose or fructose. They have both glucose and fructose together in similar amounts.”

“Our findings suggest that the role of fructose in tumours is to enhance glucose’s role of directing fatty acids synthesis,” says Yun. “The resulting abundance of fatty acids can be potentially used by cancer cells to form cellular membranes and signalling molecules, to grow or to influence inflammation.

According to Yun, “[these] findings also open new possibilities for treatment. Unlike glucose, fructose is not essential for the survival and growth of normal cells, which suggests that therapies targeting fructose metabolism are worth exploring.”

“Alternatively, avoiding consuming sugary drinks as much as possible instead of relying on drugs would significantly reduce the availability of sugar in the colon.”

Alternative Healthy Drink Recipes

                   Healthy Nutritious Smoothies

Smoothies

Chocolate Almond Smoothie
  • 1 1/2 C kefir
  • 10 frozen banana chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1 T honey (or 3 pitted dates)
  • 1/2 C spinach (or swiss chard) **Omit if ANC (measure of the number of neutrophils in the blood) is below 500

Blend until smooth. This can be used right away or frozen in jars or smoothie pop moulds.


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
  • 1 1/2 C kefir
  • 1/4 C organic canned pumpkin
  • 5-10 frozen banana chunks
  • A small squirt of honey (or 2 pitted dates)
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 C spinach (or swiss chard) **Omit if ANC (measure of the number of neutrophils in the blood) is below 500

Blend until smooth. This can be used right away or frozen in jars or smoothie pop moulds.


Liquid Nutrition

Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

Almond milk prepared from almonds is low in fat, but high in energy, proteins, lipids and fibre. It contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Other nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate and vitamin E. All these nutrients have various benefits which are essential for a healthy body.

Yield: 1 litre

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups raw almonds
  • 5 cups water plus more for soaking
  • desired flavorings and sweeteners (vanilla extract, cinnamon, maple syrup, honey or agave syrup)

Directions:

  1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with 1-inch cold water. Soak them, uncovered, overnight or up to two days.
  2. Drain the almonds from the soaking water and rinse them under cool running water.
  3. Place 2 cups of almonds in the blender and cover with 2 cups of water.
  4. Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. At this point the water should be white and opaque.
  5. Strain the mixture thru a cheese cloth, kitchen towel or sprout bag.
  6. Rinse the blender and pour the milk back in. Add the desired flavorings and sweeteners and blend to combine.
  7. Repeat steps 3 to 6 with the rest of the almonds.
  8. Pour the milk into a glass jar or pitcher and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  9. Serve almond milk on its own or enjoy it with cookies, cereal or smoothies.

Booster Beet Juice Recipe

One of the anti-tumor effects of beetroot juice is explained by its high iron content, designed to regenerate red blood corpuscles that supply cancer cells with more oxygen. This higher oxygen content improves cellular respiration – which helps to kill cancer cells.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 carrots (regular size)
  • 3 sprigs of Italian parsley
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Empire Apple
  • 1 beet (leaf greens included)
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • Cayenne pepper, sprinkled on top (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to vegetable juicer.
  2. Gently mix juice and consume immediately.

We hope that you have enjoyed these recipes – visit us every Friday for more healthy, nutritious recipes for children with cancer.

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