Bitter Sweet

Cancer cells thrive on sugar and fructose

12/1/2016 7:12:18 PM
written By : Dr Digamber Naik Print

The first thing a child learns to take after mother’s milk is sugar...  either as sweetened, packaged milk, candy, ice-cream or in some other food.  Sugar attracts a child, obviously because sugar is a source of energy. The normal sugar that we eat consists of a combination of a molecule of glucose and fructose in the same proportion. The high-fructose corn syrup that we use as a cheap sweetener is exactly the same. 

Sugarcane was first grown in New Guinea in 6000 BC. From there it came to India in 500 BC. In India, people learned to make crude sugar from sugarcane. Both sugar and sugarcane subsequently appeared in China, Persia, North America and later went to Europe. Sugar in Europe at that time was very costly and labelled as white gold. Eventually, it became a household item all over the world.  

Fructose is twice as sweet as sugar and could be extracted from corn. This made it a cheap sweetener. 

Sugar can be extracted from sugarcane as well as beet. While sugar became famous as table sugar, fructose came to be utilised as corn syrup, which subsequently found itself in liquid medicines. Much has been researched about sugar, especially after diabetes became endemic. Though it is not the only cause of diabetes, it does contribute to it. Excess sugar has been shown to harm our organs and disrupt the body’s usual hormonal cycle. It leads to obesity which subsequently leads to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

In our body, only liver converts fructose into energy by converting it into glucose and lactose. In this process, liver uses a lot of energy leading to a lack of energy. This leads to formation of uric acid which is the forerunner of gout, kidney stones, hypertension and a few more metabolic aberrations. The presence of sugar makes the pancreas secrete insulin, which increases the hormone leptin which alleviates your hunger. Fructose, on the other hand, does not trigger insulin production and increases ghrelin production which increases hunger. Obviously, fructose is one of the molecules which cause obesity. Fructose has been labelled by the nutritional scientists as the fat switch for the liver. It increases fat production by the liver along with the triglycerides which increase the cardiovascular risk. This along with uric acid is enough to increase insulin resistance which subsequently leads to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Low sugar or no sugar is one of the principles in all weight-reducing diets. Fructose has a low glycemic index.

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