Since I got sick early this year, I’ve been deliberately losing weight. It’s going really well, and I’m feeling better and better all the time. I reckon the more weight I can get off these metastatic bone tumours the better I’ll be. An added benefit will be that my oncologist won’t be trying to medicate a big lump of fat as well as my vital organs.
I’m eating very healthily, and really enjoying it, but the thing that gets me into a complete melt-down is the question of sugar.
Firstly, there’s a school of thought that believes that cancer cells are destroyed by being in an alkaline environment, and to achieve that means eating a diet virtually devoid of any pleasure at all, and especially sugar. Now, I have two points against this. Firstly, research shows however hard you try with diet, you can only make your body alkaline for short periods of time (too short to do any good). ‘Unlike the pH level in the urine, a selectively alkaline diet has not been shown to elicit a sustained change in blood pH levels, nor to provide the clinical benefits claimed by its proponents. Because of the body’s natural regulatory mechanisms, which do not require a special diet to work, eating an alkaline diet can, at most, change the blood pH minimally and transiently.’ Secondly, these same theorists – having banned caffeine being taken orally – somehow see benefits in sticking it up your bum in the form of coffee enemas.
This all smacks of the Victorian approach to medicine. If it’s really awful and makes you miserable, it must be doing you good. Following this to a natural conclusion, operations should be done without anaesthetic, because the more suffering involved, the better the outcome.
I don’t buy it.
Then there’s the type of sugar. According to some very convincing research shown in a BBC programme ‘The men who made us fat’, fructose is bad news. It sneakily goes straight to fat, and, worse still, stops your liver producing an enzyme that tells your brain you have had enough to eat. That explains why fruit never quite hits the spot when you’re really hungry!
This starts to get me in a fix. If I choose sweet fruits that don’t need any added sugar, then I’m taking in more fructose, which seems to be the bad guy. So, would I be better choosing tart fruits and adding ‘the deadly white’ i.e. sucrose to them?
Because fruit is such a conundrum, should I be avoiding it altogether? Then how the hell am I going to follow the ‘plant-based diet’ that is advocated for cancer? It’s just vegetables then, is it?
OK, let’s side step the whole issue and look at artificial sweeteners. They’ve got the advantage of making food palatable without any of the problems outlined above, surely? No added calories, too – it’s all good. Except that rumours are rife that such products as aspartame give you cancer. Well, I’ve already got cancer, so does that count? You know, ‘stable door… horse… bolted’ etc?
This also smacks of those same Victorian fears mentioned above: if it tastes good, and it’s got no calories, it’s too good to be true and therefore MUST be bad for you. Some very quick research shows ‘Reviews have found no association between aspartame and cancer’ .
It all boils down to ‘fructose is bad’, ‘sucrose is bad’ and ‘aspartame is bad’, mainly based on the reasoning that they make food taste good, so therefore must be bad for you.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that I don’t need MUCH sugar to continue my weight loss down to a healthy Body Mass Index of 25, but, if I haven’t got long to live, I’m not eating cardboard for the rest of my days.
On the other hand you don’t need MUCH sugar to make healthy foods palatable. My ‘Vegan King’s breakfast’ only has less than a teaspoonful of honey (HONEY! There’s another thing! Is it fructose or sucrose? It’s a great antiseptic, but does my cancer benefit from anything antiseptic?!! I don’t know!). The ice creams and sorbets have about a teaspoon of white sugar per portion. My ‘Cucumber smoothie’ REALLY needs a couple of teaspoons of sugar to balance out the sharpness of the lime, but surely the benefits of the Vitamin C in the lime outweigh the badness of the sugar? All told, my white sugar consumption will be very low, at probably only one kilo bag every couple of months.
The ‘coffee up the bum’ brigade would say that adding any sugar at all completely negates any benefits that the anti-cancer alkaline diet can have. But I don’t care. I’m enjoying life and feeling good, so they can stuff their puritanical ideas (up the same place they stick the coffee…)