You are probably aware that consuming too much sugar can cause weight gain, but did you know both refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup can be detrimental to your health, and even lead to cancer?

Scientist Lewis Cantley from Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital in U.S. has been researching the possibility that obesity and diabetes due to high sugar intake may be linked closely to cancer, particularly breast and colon cancer.

In people who are obese, particularly those who have or are close to having type 2 diabetes, the body produces high levels of insulin and elevated levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). Both insulin and IGF-1 activate an enzyme called PI3K, a molecule that is central to both diabetes and cancer and plays an important role in facilitating cancer growth. Dr. Cantley says that up to 80 percent of all human cancers are propelled by the enhancement or mimicking of the effect of insulin on tumor cells, whether through mutation or environmental factors.

Dr. Cantley and his team, along with many other scientists around the world, are working on developing drugs to target and specifically inhibit PI3K in cancer cells to stop cancer growth.

This possible link reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as the primary means of preventing cancer. Limiting sugar and fat intake as well as eating nutritious foods and getting plenty of exercise are crucial factors to keeping your risk of getting cancer low.

So before you dive into your favorite cookies this year, be sure to keep in mind the potential risk factors, and try to resist going for that second treat!