October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and with it comes not only pink ribbons and reminders about self-checks and mammograms, but also other means of prevention. One method to help prevent cancer is through diet.
A healthy, balanced diet is low in sugar, especially added sugar and fat and oils. Sugar in the form of blood sugar (glucose) fuels all cells of the body, healthy or not. Furthermore, sugar is the only thing that fuels cells. By cutting out all sugar, you inhibit healthy cells from doing their job. So while excess sugar may indirectly lead to cancer, you can’t completely cut out all sugar and maintain your health.
Excess sugar consumption is linked to obesity and diabetes and related conditions. People with obesity and diabetes have been shown to have a higher risk of cancer. For this reason, people who have cancer as well as other health conditions are often told to limit sugar intake and eat the right kinds of sugar.
The right amount of sugar differs for men and women. According to the American Heart Association, women should have six teaspoons or less per day (25 grams), and men should have no more than nine teaspoons per day (37 grams). This is the equivalent of about 100 calories for women and 150 for men. For many Americans, sugar consumption is actually around 500 calories a day or even more. Some sources of sugar, including fruits, whole grains, and natural sweeteners, contain substances that actually fight against cancer. If you have a sugar intolerance or allergy, you need to consult your physician to determine the best healthy diet.
To safely enjoy sugar and prevent the occurrences of obesity, diabetes, and other health conditions that may lead to breast cancer and other cancers, it is important to limit your sugar intake. Stick with natural sweeteners, such as maple syrup and molasses, enjoy fruits and whole grains within limits, and read labels carefully to avoid hidden sugar that is added to many processed foods. Hidden sugar may be labeled as fructose, lactose, sucrose, maltose, glucose, or dextrose, but it is all sugar.