Scientists Find Link Between Sugar and Cancer

A diet high in sugar has long been implicated in a range of serious health ailments, from diabetes and obesity to heart disease. Now there’s more bad news for dessert lovers: A positive correlation has been found between sugar and cancer.

Molecular biologists in Belgium just published in Nature Communications the results of a nine-year study that showed that the way in which cancer cells process sugar can stimulate tumor growth.


Although all cells use sugar as fuel, cancer cells not only require more sugar than normal cells, they break down sugar faster. This increased sugar consumption is known as the Warburg effect, named after German biochemist Otto Warburg, who discovered the phenomenon in the 1920s.

The Warburg effect is thought to occur in up to 80 percent of cancers. It’s so common, in fact, that one of the most effective cancer diagnostic tools in existence, a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, works just by sensing where in the body cells are breaking down extra glucose.

However, until now, scientists weren’t sure if the Warburg effect was a cancer symptom or whether its presence was actually affecting tumor growth. The Belgian study shows it’s the latter.

“The hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth” lead study author Johan Thevelein, a professor at Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, wrote in a press release.

In conducting their research, the molecular biologists used yeast, which breaks down sugar in a fashion similar to cancer cells. Yeast also contains what are called “Ras” proteins, which are found in cancer cells. Ras proteins’ function is to control cell growth. If they become permanently active, they can send cell growth into overdrive, creating tumors.

"The main advantage of using yeast was that our research was not affected by the additional regulatory mechanisms of mammalian cells, which conceal crucial underlying processes. We were thus able to target this process in yeast cells and confirm its presence in mammalian cells,” wrote Thevelein.

Upon observing the yeast cells, they found the cells’ method of fermentation did in fact cause the Ras proteins to become too active.

Whether tumor and cancer cell growth is directly affected by the amount of sugar in an individual’s diet has yet to be proven, as clinical trials with oncologists are still under development.

“Some people are interpreting that we have found a mechanism for how sugar causes cancer, but that is certainly not the case,” Thevelein told Newsweek in October.

However, there are studies that show a link between low-sugar diets and lower rates of cancer recurrence, especially in obese patients, according to Dr. Juan Manuel Schvartzman, a medical oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Thevelein and his colleagues hold out hope the current information could possibly influence custom diets for cancer patients — such as meals low in sugar.

“This link between sugar and cancer has sweeping consequences,” wrote Thevelein. “Our results provide a foundation for future research in this domain, which can now be performed with a much more precise and relevant focus.”

Fox News

As Democratic House impeachment managers make their case against President Donald Trump, one of President Donald Trump's favorite news networks is going to lengths to keep the bevy of evidence against him from reaching their viewers' ears.

At first, Fox News tried scrolling Trump's so-called accomplishments alongside video of the historic proceedings. Now, the network's latest attempt to distract from the Democrats' arguments is raising eyebrows.

Keep reading...
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images // Alex Wong/Getty Images

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was one of the first witnesses in the House of Representatives' initial impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Vindman testified before the House's select committee on impeachment late last year after hearing Trump's infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Keep reading...
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The administration of President Donald Trump relies on its white Evangelical base to keep its support consistently hovering around 40 percent.

In keeping with this, President Donald Trump often invokes anti-abortion values he claims to hold dear. He's falsely claimed that Democrats are determined to rip babies from their mothers' wombs and that parents often discuss with their doctors whether or not to keep the baby...after the baby is born.

These claims are patently false, but they rile up the base.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seems to be playing right along in promoting abortion hysteria, if a recent speech is any indication.

Keep reading...
Fox News

After hours of evidence presented by the House Impeachment managers in the Senate trial against President Donald Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) strayed even further into the abyss of fanaticism as he defended the President to reporters.

Graham, a Trump critic turned ally, didn't attempt to refute any of the myriad evidence laid out by Democrats, but instead dismissed the claims that Trump did anything wrong when he withheld congressionally approved aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.

Keep reading...
ABC News

Earlier this month, Iran launched retaliatory air strikes against Iraqi military bases where U.S. soldiers were stationed after President Donald Trump made the choice to kill top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani.

After initial alarm, Americans breathed a sigh of relief upon learning that there were no reported casualties resulting from the attack.

Keep reading...
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images // Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Donald Trump seems determined to use the Presidency to turn a profit while in office.

Just weeks after national outcry forced him to withdraw his efforts to hold the massive 2020 G7 Summit of world leaders at his own Trump Doral Resort in Miami, Trump will soon address the Republican National Committee there for its winter meeting.

And the prices just went up.

Keep reading...