Cancer Covered Blog

Does Sugar Cause Cancer Cells to Grow?

FACT:  Sugar does not make cancer cells grow faster! 

The truth is that all cells in our body use a form of simple sugar, called glucose, for energy.  We get sugar from foods that contain carbohydrates, protein and fat. Even though sugar does not “feed” cancer cells it is a good idea to limit the amount of simple sugars you eat.

Too much sugar can lead to high insulin levels.  Insulin can tell “healthy cells” to grow which is good.  Our bodies need insulin to function, but it is unhealthy if we make too much insulin or if our body develops resistance to it.  It is in this way that cancer risk is increased in diabetics, not from sugar itself.

Does this mean we need to stop eating all sugar?  NO!  Remember, the normal cells in our body still need some sugar for energy.  If we eat less sugar, our bodies will compensate by making sugar from other sources.

Like the other cells in our body, cancer cells need fuel.   Our bodies are carefully tuned to maintain blood sugar levels at a constant level.  In the complete absence of sugar, body cells use other fuels like ketones.  There is no evidence that cancer cells prefer one form of fuel over the other.  So, there is no way to “starve” a tumor by eating less sugar.

It is important to eat a well-balanced diet including good carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and fiber, and yes, sugar.  This helps maintain your energy level and avoid other health issues while dealing with your cancer diagnosis.

Green Bay Oncology

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