Ever heard that sugar feeds cancer? Well Johan posed a great question on this episode of the LCHF Podcast; he wanted to know if there’s any link between sugar consumption and cancer? There are plenty of indicators, and more and more research is being developed. Hear the dangers that glucose presents when it comes to cancer, as Dr Gary Fettke answers the question.

Transcript

Welcome onto this edition of the LCHF podcast, my name is Brad Brown and we’ve got Dr Gary Fettke back on the podcast today. Doc, you’ve done lots of research and reading with regards to the effects of sugar and we’ve got a question straight down that alley today. It comes from Johan and he wanted to know if there’s any link between sugar consumption and cancer?

Gary Fettke: A pet topic of mine Brad, as you know. I think there is a huge link and we’re still working out exactly the complexity of that link. The majority of cancer that we have affecting people nowadays is very much glucose dependent on its metabolism.

The pathway which was described originally in 1924 by a fellow by the name of Otto Warburg, who went on to win a Nobel Prize. That Warburg effect is that a cancer cell will use glucose as its primary fuel. Glucose in a normal cell is primarily turned into energy, a thing called Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP and that’s common across all living organisms, that ATP is the primary fuel.

What happens to glucose in a cancer cell

What happens in a cancer cell, the glucose is diverted away from ATP production to the formation of more structural material to make DNA and more cell membranes and that diversion away is called The Warburg effect. That metabolism of glucose in a cell is under the influence of insulin and to a lesser degree insulin growth factor one.

They are two compounds which most people, well most people would have heard of insulin, so when we take glucose into our body under the effect of insulin, it’s moved into the cells. If you’ve got cancer, you actually stimulate a cancer by giving it insulin and you feed it by giving it glucose.

In my mind, if you have cancer or are trying to prevent from getting cancer, I would encourage people to decrease their sugar consumption, particularly their glucose consumption. The benefit of that is two-fold. One is it will decrease the amount of fuel available for cancer.

However, cancer will get glucose from other sources like protein, so you can never completely starve it of glucose. What you can, however, starve it of, is the insulin spikes and the insulin growth factor one spike that are accommodated by eating too much glucose, carbohydrate and arguably even too much protein.

Can the LCHF diet prolong a cancer sufferer’s life?

There’s certainly a lot of work that is being done in the past on animal experiments and there’s work being done on human studies right at this moment. Where a ketogenic diet which most of the listeners will know is a very low carbohydrate diet, is associated with some benefit in lengthening the lives of particularly animals, which have got cancer and some human studies, by prolonging their life.

Cutting out sugar will not prevent people from dying from cancer. I stress that, but I think cutting back on sugar is a really good first option as an adjunctive to the normal treatments of surgery/chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It will also benefit by protecting the cells around a cancer.

There’s certainly some work on that, giving rats lethal doses of chemotherapy and if the rats were in a ketogenic state, that starvation or very low carbohydrate state, their survival is about 97% versus 30% if they are not in starvation.

We need to be looking at the nutritional side of cancer

On that whole note, I find it frustrating that a lot of cancer research funding, particularly here in Australia and I’ve seen it elsewhere around the world, they have morning teas where they encourage people to go and have cakes and sweets and deserts. In Australia we’re encouraged to have pink icing on buns, all to try and raise money for cancer. That’s a huge sugar load.

It doesn’t help diabetes and there’s a higher rate of cancer in patients with diabetes. We really need to be looking at the nutritional side of cancer a lot more. I have a statement where I say, if you think you need sugar, well, cancer needs it even more and I’ll probably leave it on that note.

I think if you’ve got cancer, it’s well worth considering going on a ketogenic diet, decreasing the amount of sugar consumption. Certainly decreasing the amount of insulin which is a stimulatory effect on the cancers and keep watching this space. Because there’s going to be a lot of information coming out on this in the next couple of years.

BB: Interesting indeed. Johan, I hope that helps, thank you for being in touch with us here on the LCHF podcast. Fantastic answer there doc, thank you for your time today. We’re back again in just a couple of days’ time. Keep those questions coming in, lchfpodcast.com, that’s the website to get to and we look forward to catching up again soon. Until then, cheers.

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Transcript

Welcome onto this edition of the LCHF podcast, my name is Brad Brown and we’ve got Dr Gary Fettke back on the podcast today. Doc, you’ve done lots of research and reading with regards to the effects of sugar and we’ve got a question straight down that alley today. It comes from Johan and he wanted to know if there’s any link between sugar consumption and cancer?

Gary Fettke: A pet topic of mine Brad, as you know. I think there is a huge link and we’re still working out exactly the complexity of that link. The majority of cancer that we have affecting people nowadays is very much glucose dependent on its metabolism.

The pathway which was described originally in 1924 by a fellow by the name of Otto Warburg, who went on to win a Nobel Prize. That Warburg effect is that a cancer cell will use glucose as its primary fuel. Glucose in a normal cell is primarily turned into energy, a thing called Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP and that’s common across all living organisms, that ATP is the primary fuel.

What happens to glucose in a cancer cell

What happens in a cancer cell, the glucose is diverted away from ATP production to the formation of more structural material to make DNA and more cell membranes and that diversion away is called The Warburg effect. That metabolism of glucose in a cell is under the influence of insulin and to a lesser degree insulin growth factor one.

They are two compounds which most people, well most people would have heard of insulin, so when we take glucose into our body under the effect of insulin, it’s moved into the cells. If you’ve got cancer, you actually stimulate a cancer by giving it insulin and you feed it by giving it glucose.

In my mind, if you have cancer or are trying to prevent from getting cancer, I would encourage people to decrease their sugar consumption, particularly their glucose consumption. The benefit of that is two-fold. One is it will decrease the amount of fuel available for cancer.

However, cancer will get glucose from other sources like protein, so you can never completely starve it of glucose. What you can, however, starve it of, is the insulin spikes and the insulin growth factor one spike that are accommodated by eating too much glucose, carbohydrate and arguably even too much protein.

Can the LCHF diet prolong a cancer sufferer’s life?

There’s certainly a lot of work that is being done in the past on animal experiments and there’s work being done on human studies right at this moment. Where a ketogenic diet which most of the listeners will know is a very low carbohydrate diet, is associated with some benefit in lengthening the lives of particularly animals, which have got cancer and some human studies, by prolonging their life.

Cutting out sugar will not prevent people from dying from cancer. I stress that, but I think cutting back on sugar is a really good first option as an adjunctive to the normal treatments of surgery/chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It will also benefit by protecting the cells around a cancer.

There’s certainly some work on that, giving rats lethal doses of chemotherapy and if the rats were in a ketogenic state, that starvation or very low carbohydrate state, their survival is about 97% versus 30% if they are not in starvation.

We need to be looking at the nutritional side of cancer

On that whole note, I find it frustrating that a lot of cancer research funding, particularly here in Australia and I’ve seen it elsewhere around the world, they have morning teas where they encourage people to go and have cakes and sweets and deserts. In Australia we’re encouraged to have pink icing on buns, all to try and raise money for cancer. That’s a huge sugar load.

It doesn’t help diabetes and there’s a higher rate of cancer in patients with diabetes. We really need to be looking at the nutritional side of cancer a lot more. I have a statement where I say, if you think you need sugar, well, cancer needs it even more and I’ll probably leave it on that note.

I think if you’ve got cancer, it’s well worth considering going on a ketogenic diet, decreasing the amount of sugar consumption. Certainly decreasing the amount of insulin which is a stimulatory effect on the cancers and keep watching this space. Because there’s going to be a lot of information coming out on this in the next couple of years.

BB: Interesting indeed. Johan, I hope that helps, thank you for being in touch with us here on the LCHF podcast. Fantastic answer there doc, thank you for your time today. We’re back again in just a couple of days’ time. Keep those questions coming in, lchfpodcast.com, that’s the website to get to and we look forward to catching up again soon. Until then, cheers.
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