Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

While there is undeniable evidence that glucose (the form of sugar used most in your body) feeds every cell in the body, the idea that sugar could directly fuel the growth of cancer cells leads to anxiety-inducing misinformation and speculation. So, does sugar feed cancer? Let’s dive in.

It would be impossible to avoid consuming all sugar, especially those struggling to maintain their weight during cancer treatments. The anxiety and stress that comes with managing diets can be compounded by this thought. All carbohydrates you eat are broken down into simple sugars where they are absorbed into the blood, increasing blood sugar levels. Your pancreas releases insulin in response which performs several jobs:
– Signaling glucose to enter the cell
– Increasing storage of calories as fat

Eating a lot of simple carbohydrates all at once can increase insulin quickly. Consistently elevated insulin level risk factors include genetic susceptibility (cells that are resistant to the insulin message from the pancreas), inactivity, and obesity. Diabetes and cancer occur together more often than you might expect and researchers haven’t yet figured out the ins and outs of the relationship between the two.

What can you do?
– Reserve sugary drinks for occasional use – instead of reaching for a soft drink or juice, make water your default beverage. Add unsweetened drink mixes for flavor or a sparkling water for bubbles.
– Check your habits and find a limit you can live with – rather than identifying “good” and “bad” foods, thing of them as delicious treats to enjoy occasionally.

When in doubt about your diet, consult your physician or dietitian. Nebraska Cancer Specialists treats the whole person, including your diets!

More articles »

Meet DOT.

Skip to content