Diet

How Sugar Affects Your Prostate

Sugar, it’s a modern-day addiction. Implemented within our diets on a regular basis, we can’t live with it, and we can’t live without it. It gets worse, to endorse ‘low fat’ products, naturally occurring fats are being substituted with high amounts of sugar.

However, recent research suggests that fat may not be a problem.

Sugar consumption may be a much bigger threat to our overall health, including heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory disorders, and prostate problems, such as prostate enlargement (BPH).

For men over the age of 50, at risk of developing prostate disease, this is worrying news. You need to understand why a low sugar diet instead of a low-fat one is a much better strategy for overall improved health and inflammation status.

In this post, I will be discussing how sugar can deteriorate your prostate and what steps you can start taking to keep sugar at bay.

How sugar affects your prostate

Studies have suggested that men with high blood sugar levels and those who are obese are at an increased risk of an enlarged prostate. Researchers studied 422 men and found that those with high blood sugar were three times more at risk of developing an enlarged prostate.

Although this was a small study, which may need to be expanded on with an increased number of participants, it does provide a worrying insight.

Furthermore, processed sugars tend to have inflammatory effects on body tissues in general, thereby contributing to prostate inflammation and enlargement over time.

I frequently see many people struggling to maintain proper blood sugar/blood glucose levels and insulin levels nowadays because of these dietary imbalances.

Good Fat Vs. Bad Fat

While the word ‘fat’ has many of us shrinking away from the scales, it should be noted that not all fat is bad.  While it is true that certain types of fats are best to avoid like trans fats, other types of fats are nutritious.

Because of media hype, lack of nutritional education amongst many healthcare professionals and the public, many people in recent decades have become fat phobic.

This trend is not without significant consequence, because we need adequate amounts of many types of fats in the diet to optimally function. Nutritional and healthy fats include omega-3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids.

Good sources of fat include:

  • Nuts and seeds– a handful of macadamia nuts contain high amounts of vitamin B1, magnesium and manganese. Just one serving (30g), provides 58% of manganese. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios are also good sources of fat.

  • Grass-fed animals– According to a study, grass-fed meat contains significantly more omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid than grain fed. So rather than consuming grain-fed meat, try to opt for grass fed.

  • Cold water wild caught fish– Sadly, this doesn’t mean a greasy fish and chips from your local chippy, but fresh cold water fish. The habitat that your fish is sourced can drastically affect its nutritional value. Some studies have shown that Farm-raised fish may contain higher levels of contaminants than wild, or wild-caught fish.

  • Coconut oil– Coconut oil is another good source of fat, filled with medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). MCFA blocks not only the conversion of testosterone into DHT but also stops its toxic effect. A study in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology showed results that coconut oil significantly reduced the size of the prostate gland.

  • Avocados– Good news for all you avocado lovers out there! Avocados contain healthy fats and nutrients which benefit your health and can help to reduce the painful symptoms associated with BPH. They have beta-sitosterol, which helps urinary flow, decreases inflammation of the prostate.

Fat plays an important role when it comes to our health, helping to keep our brain healthy, insulating organs, and providing energy. Diets such as the ketogenic diet (a high-fat diet) have been shown to have many health benefits.

The worst type of fat that should be avoided is trans fat. It is a byproduct of hydrogenation, which is used to turn oil solid to prevent it from becoming rancid. However, as a result of this process when the oil is heated, its goodness is depleted, and it becomes unhealthy.

Fat Vs. Sugar

When a high-fat diet became  ‘low fat’ diet become the hype, many foods began to substitute fat for sugar. However, the problem is that unlike fat, our bodies have a very minimal capacity to store sugar.

As a result of a modern lifestyle corrupted with excess sugar, our glycogen stores is quickly overwhelmed and the excess sugars consumed is typically converted into excessive fat stores. This is one of the main contributors to our obesity epidemic, with an estimated 40% of American adults being obese.

Furthermore, processed sugars tend to have inflammatory effects on body tissues in general, thereby contributing to prostate inflammation and enlargement over time.

How to reduce sugar

Reducing your sugar intake is not easy, especially when you have a hectic schedule. However, taking the time to cut back on sugar could have a massive impact on your prostate health as well as your health in general.

Choose dark chocolate

For many of us, giving up chocolate is a scary thought. If you struggle sacrificing your daily candy bar, try swapping it for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate (85%) contains antioxidants and boasts many health benefits. It is high in fat and low in sugar but even so should be eaten in moderation.

Avoid fruit juice

Although it contains the word ‘fruit’ in, many fruit juices are low in fruit and high in sugar. Shockingly some fruit juices contain as much sugar as a can of coca cola. Instead of drinking juice, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables.

A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition provides evidence for a positive association between sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages and increased risk of prostate cancer. Their findings highlight the potential significance of high consumption of added, concentrated sugars from beverages in prostate cancer etiology.

Read labels

When shopping, always read the labels. You will be amazed to discover how much sugar a takeaway sandwich, a tin of beans or a can of soup can have. Although many processed foods are considered savory, they could have as much sugar as a bar of chocolate! Taking the time to read and compare labels could help your waistline.

Avoid eating out

Unless you go to a restaurant where you know that the food is of high quality and fresh ingredients, it could be best to avoid eating out.

Takeaways can be jam-packed with sugar and high in carbohydrates, with popular Chinese takeaways such as orange chicken and sweet and sour chicken containing three times the WHO recommended daily limit, and even more sugar than a regular-sized Chocolate Triple Thick Shake from McDonald’s (63.09 g).

Although avoiding sugar may be difficult, it is not impossible, and there are several ways of reducing your sugar intake.

Remember that not all types of fats are bad, and many types are needed for your body to function properly. By partaking in physical activity and having a healthy diet, you can improve your prostate health and prevent weight gain significantly. The power is in your hands.


For more information on how diet impacts an enlarged prostate, click here.


Sources

  1. Arruzazabala, M, Molina, V, Más, R, Carbajal, D, et al. (2007). Effects of coconut oil on testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia in Sprague-Dawley rats.. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology . 59 (7), p995-999.
  2. Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010;9:10. Published 2010 Mar 10. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-10
  3. Kellogg Parsons, J, Ballentine Carter, H, Partin, A , Windham, B, et al. (2006). Metabolic Factors Associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 91 (7), p2562–2568.
  4. Megdal PA, Craft NA, Handelman GJ. A simplified method to distinguish farmed (Salmo salar) from wild salmon: fatty acid ratios versus astaxanthin chiral isomers. Lipids. 2009;44(6):569–576. doi:10.1007/s11745-009-3294-6
  5. Miles FL, Neuhouser ML, Zhang ZF. Concentrated sugars and incidence of prostate cancer in a prospective cohort. Br J Nutr. 2018;120(6):703–710. doi:10.1017/S0007114518001812
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

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Our team is made up of doctors, nutritionists and certified experts with deep knowledge of metabolic health conditions, as well as writers and editors with extensive experience in medical writing.

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