Does sugar feed cancer?

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Cancer cells have a voracious appetite for glucose, a form of sugar, and consume it in much greater amounts than normal cells do. The knowledge of cancer cells’ zest for sugar has led some people to wonder if eating less sugar would restrain tumors’ growth.

While cancer cells do rely on a large intake of glucose to fuel their growth and proliferation, reducing sugar in your diet won’t curb tumors. To supply the brain and other organs with vital nutrients, our bodies maintain a proper amount of sugar in the blood. This is accomplished by a complex network of regulatory hormones that keep blood sugar levels steady, regardless of what we eat.

If we eat less sugar, our bodies compensate by making more sugar from other sources. As a result, the amount of sugar reaching a tumor remains constant whether your diet is high or low in sugar. Our bodies simply will not allow blood sugar to get low enough to “starve” a tumor.

Dana-Farber’s nutritionists work daily with patients to create healthy, balanced diets. They answer questions about the connection between sugar and cancer on a regular basis. Read their take on whether sugar feeds cancer cells, as well as whether sugar is a toxin.

 

One Comment:

  1. Is it really that simple? Maybe in a healthy person. However a mildly elevated blood glucose due to insulin resistance, inflammation, stress, elevated cortisol levels could have and effect and that has not been completely studied.

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