Blood sugar and cellular degeneration, can diet help reduce the risk of breast cancer?
In our articles, we often talk about how important it is to avoid dangerous blood sugar spikes and keep your blood sugar under control. In fact, when blood sugar tends to remain high for long periods of time, the risk of diseases, such as cancers, also increases. This becomes even clearer when reading a very recent article published a few days ago in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by an American team from Stanford and Harvard universities (Kang et al, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct 2020).
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas with the aim of regulating blood glucose levels. In particular, insulin promotes the passage of sugars from the blood to the cell that will use glucose as an energy source. Over the years, however, especially when you follow an unbalanced diet rich in sugars, red and processed meats and refined cereals and do not do physical activity, it can happen that the cells become less sensitive to insulin, as an effect an increase in sugars in the blood is observed. To compensate this situation, the pancreas also reacts by increasing insulin production. In the long run, however, even this compensatory mechanism no longer works and you have a condition of type 2 diabetes. The problem is that the increase in blood sugar, which is linked to an increase in insulin and in another substance that acts together with the insulin to reduce sugars, the insulin-like growth factor, is linked to an increase in cellular degeneration. In particular, an increased risk of developing breast cancer in women has been observed. The researchers analyzed the habits and health status of nearly 180,000 women. In particular, the scientists tried to understand how well the study participants were able to follow a protective diet against the risk of developing diabetes, therefore reduced quantities of foods with trans fats, of sugary drinks and juices, of red and processed meats and at the same time high amount of whole grains and fiber, fruits and vegetables, nuts and dried fruits. What emerged was that those who followed a low-risk diabetes diet also had a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. This was especially true in the case of women with a BMI below 25.
Therefore, following a diet that helps to keep blood sugar under control can help prevent cellular degeneration and can be a protective factor against breast cancer with a mechanism that, it is believed, in addition to reducing insulin production, also helps to keep body weight under control.