Avoiding Diabetes Also Helps Avoid Cancer

It has long been understood diabetes is often a function of lifestyle.

Lifestyle, Insulin-Resistance and Diabetes

A lifestyle of inactivity and a high sugar-high carbohydrate diet is known to cause “insulinresistance” in which the tissues of the body become less sensitive to the regulation of sugar through insulin. This condition over time, is thought to lead to chronic injury to the insulin producing cells and ultimately an inability of those cells to produce enough insulin, resulting in diabetes.

The opposite: high amounts of activity/exercise and a more balanced diet (less sugar and simple carbohydrates) has been thought to have opposite effect — avoiding insulin resistance and lowering the chances of an individual developing diabetes.

Lowering Pancreas Cancer Risk

A recent Canadian study suggests that avoiding “insulin resistance” may also be a key factor to lower risks of pancreas cancer. (See “Sources” below). The University of British Columbia (UBC) conducted groundbreaking research published in Cell Metabolism, shedding light on this connection. The study reveals that excess insulin can overstimulate pancreas cells responsible for producing digestive juices, triggering inflammation and pushing cells into a precancerous state. This inflammation is a critical step in the transformation from normal cells to cancerous ones.

Implications in Preventing Other Cancers

Beyond pancreatic cancer, high insulin levels are associated with several other types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, endometrial, liver, ovarian, and gastric cancers. This association underscores the importance of understanding insulin’s role in cancer progression and the potential benefits of controlling insulin levels.

Can You Avoid Insulin Resistance?

Avoiding insulin resistance produces enormous health benefits. This raises the question of how we can do that. The current state of medicine seems to focus on three basic approaches:

1. Lower Sugar/Lower Starch Diet: Avoiding excessive amounts of sugar and simple carbohydrates (simple starches) and greater portion of diet on food that digests more slowly, avoids the blood sugar spikes (and rapid insulin spikes in response) that promote insulin resistance. As such, most nutritionists now emphasize whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which all digest more slowly over time. High-fiber foods are particularly beneficial as they are digested slowly and help prevent blood sugar spikes. And, the nutritional value of such foods (over simple sugars and starches) has many other benefits as well.
2. Mindful Eating and Portion Control: Even healthy foods can lead to increased blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, it is thought that mindful eating (eating only when hungry, stopping when reasonably full) can help even out insulin levels and avoid the insulin “spikes” leading to insulin resistance (pre-diabetes).
3. Regular Physical Activity: Exercise is known to improve insulin sensitivity and helps in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Even light physical activity after meals can be beneficial — such as taking a walk after dinner instead of spending the rest of the evening on the couch.


We hope our medical culture will heed the data and promote preventive medicine with as much enthusiasm as after-the-fact treatments for disease — especially when the means to prevent many diseases seem clearly demonstrated. That is a larger social question. But as individuals, it appears we also have a good deal of control. Ultimately, the daily choices we make can have as much effect on our health as what happens in the doctor’s office.

–Laurence M. Deutsch (12/6/23)

Epoch Times (11/18/23).