Scientists in Belgium have revealed that there is a direct connection between sugar and cancer.
They have found that yeast with high levels glucose can overstimulate (read: feed) the same proteins found inside tumours and make the cancer cells grow faster.
The researchers have been working to better understand the Warburg effect for a decade.
The Warburg effect is a process where tumour cells create energy to grow through a fast breakdown of glucose – something that doesn’t occur in normal cells.
Now, this study has shown that the Warburg effect could be a cause of cancer.
This new research was published in Nature Communications and was conducted at VIB – a life sciences research institute in Flanders, Belgium.
Johan Thevelein, head of the VIB department of molecular biology said: “Our research reveals how the hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth.”
He added: “This link between sugar and cancer has sweeping consequences.
“Our results provide a foundation for future research in this domain, which can now be performed with a much more precise and relevant focus.”
While more research still needs to be done in this area, a separate study found food and drink high in sugar could trigger cellular changes that cause cancer of the oesophagus.
Cases of this type of cancer have soared across the world over the past four decades and researchers now think a high sugar intake could be to blame.
Before these studies, sugar’s only link to cancer was through obesity – something that can cause tumour growth.