Chapter 5: A Weapon of Mass Destruction—Part 4: Immune Function and Cancer

Book by Dr. Bruce Fife

A Brief Review of Part 3: Digestive and Oral Health

The health of trillions of tiny microorganisms in our digestive system has a direct effect on our health. These microorganisms are known as the gut microbiome and consist of tens of thousands of species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

A disruption of this carefully balanced population is implicated as a causal factor with several health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes, reduced immune function, neurological disorders, some forms of cancer, and many other diseases.

Sugar and other additives in ultra-processed foods disrupts a healthy gut biome. Ninety percent of all known human illness can be traced back to an unhealthy gut.

Oral Health: Consuming sugar causes tooth decay. Unfortunately for sugar lovers, the sugar loving bacteria produce acids and toxins which eat away at tooth enamel. It gets worse. These harmful by-products (the bacteria’s waste, if you will) also cause irritation of the gums, which leads to inflammation and bleeding.

The bacteria that cause the greatest harm feed on sugar. The more sugar we eat, the more these bacteria multiply and grow, outnumbering less harmful species. It is the imbalance in the oral microbiome that is the primary cause of poor health.

Poor oral health has been linked to other health issues.

Immune Function and Cancer

Dr. Fife describes how we live in an environment that is surrounded by potentially harmful bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms. These bad guys assault through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink.

He suggests that with this bombardment of nasty things, it’s amazing that we survive. We can attribute our survival to our immune system.

It’s primarily our white blood cells that are patrolling our bodies and spearheading our defense. Ah, but there’s a problem. The ability of our white blood cells to be effective against the invaders is strongly influenced by sugar consumption.

Sugar depresses the white blood cells ability to phagocytize [devour] these harmful substances. Studies have shown that after a single dose of sugar, phagocytosis [the process of eating up the bad guys] drops by nearly 50% and remains depressed for up to five hours.

If a person has something sugary at all three meals along with a donut, soda, or something sweet for a snack, his/her immune function will stay depressed all day long.

Because sugar depresses immune function, it increases the risks of infection, reduces the body’s ability to neutralize and dispose of environmental toxins, and increases the risk of cancer. You become more susceptible to infectious diseases, have a more difficult time overcoming infections, are more vulnerable or sensitive to toxins and chemicals, and more likely to develop cancer.

Everyone has renegade cancer cells, but not everyone develops cancer. The is because our immune system seeks out and destroys these renegade cells before they get too far out of hand.

Cancer cells only develop in those individuals whose immune systems are so stressed or weakened that they are incapable of mounting an effective defense. A healthy immune system, therefore, is a key element in the prevention of all forms of cancer.

Another major cause of stress is bacteria seeping into our bloodstream through our mouths. Oral infections make it worse. Sugar, of course, promotes chronic oral infections and depresses the immune system, making it easier for cancer to take a foothold.

Folks, it gets worse. Not only does sugar depress your immune system, but sugar is a fertilizer that feeds cancer cells. It’s a double whammy. Yes, cancer cells feed on sugar. The more sugar you consume, the more you are feeding cancer cells inside of your body.

The mitochondria in cancer cells are defective and unable to produce their own energy. Thus, the cancer cells rely on another source of energy production which is called glycolysis [the breakdown of glucose by enzymes, releasing energy and pyruvic acid].

Fatty acids, ketones, and most other energy sources are useless to cancer. This makes cancer heavily reliant on glucose for its energy needs. The more sugar you supply them, from a diet filled with sugary foods and refined starch, the more resistant they become to cancer treatments…Without sugar they would starve to death and be far more vulnerable to the immune system and to cancer treatments.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance and high blood pressure are considered to be independent risk factors for cancer. The association between diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, and cancer is well recognized. Studies show that people with diabetes are at substantially higher risk for cancer, especially of the pancreas, liver, lung, endometrium [the mucous membrane lining the uterus], breast, colon, rectum, and bladder.

My Comments: After my father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his Mayo Clinic oncologist had him eating ice cream in order to gain weight. I have also heard of plenty of other stories about these doctors encouraging their patients to consume sugary foods. It makes you really wonder about their training.

Is Smoking the Main Driver of Lung Cancer?

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy. (2) SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.

It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that inhaling smoke from whatever source is not good for your body. Here’s the interesting thing, has there been any Surgeon General’s warning about the deleterious effects of consuming sugar, HFCS, and refined carbs?


Dr. Fife states the following:

Smoking has never been a major problem in any population until sugar and refined flour have been added to the diet. Many primitive societies have used tobacco for generations without suffering any apparent harm.

The Inuits: Early Artic explorers noted that the Inuits were habitual users of tobacco. The children were exposed to heavy doses of second-hand smoke in smoke-filled rooms. However, the explorers noted that there was an absence of lung cancer of any type. The Inuits didn’t have a protective diet of fruits and vegetables.

A doctor Otto Schaefer attended to the medical needs of the Inuits from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s. He reported that cancer was not found among these people until after they began to add sugar and refined carbohydrates into their diets. Lung cancer was completely absent among them.

Dr. Fife points out the absence of lung cancer among the Inuits was not unique to just their society. Other primitive people were free from lung cancer even though they smoked.

To be clear, Dr. Fife is not letting smoking off the hook.

Smoking is not benign by any means; it is a risk factor for a multitude of diseases. However, it appears that smoking itself is not enough to cause lung cancer until it is combined with a diet high in sugar. It appears to be the tobacco-sugar one-two punch that is the real culprit in causing lung cancer. Sugar is likely the catalyst for other cancers as well.

Dr. Fife tells the story of George Burns, a cigar smoker who started smoking at age 14. He reportedly smoked 10-15 cigars per day for over 70 years. That’s over 300,000 cigars! Burns lived to the age of 100. He exercised regularly, wasn’t overweight, and didn’t have any blood sugar problems.

Concluding remarks:

Dr. Fife wraps up this chapter with the following statement:

Glucose is so important to the growth of cancer that it can’t survive without it. Removing sugar and other carbohydrates from the diet essentially starves cancer to death. Dietary therapies that restrict calories or carbohydrates has proven highly successful in the treatment of cancer both in combination with conventional therapies or on their own.

Being obese increases the risk of cancer, but it’s not the weight. It’s because obese people tend to have elevated glucose levels. High blood sugar is a risk factor for cancer even when a person’s weight or body mass index is normal.

Dr. Fife’s final admonition for anyone that is concerned about getting a cancer diagnosis is to prevent it by cutting out the sugar.

My Comments: I know of a man and a woman (both non-smokers) that died in their fifties from lung cancer. One was a distant cousin on my wife’s side of the family. I asked her, “Was he a smoker?” She said “No.” The story is virtually the same with one of my daughter’s mother-in-law.

I now realize that I asked the wrong question. I should have asked, “Was that person living with elevated blood-glucose levels? Was that person’s diet high in refined carbs?”

What’s also worthy of note is that William Dufty in his book, Sugar Blues, pointed out that lung cancer rates started to rise when tobacco was cured with sugar.

Maybe the Surgeon General should crack down on the sugar industry! End