Grace Gawler - Helping You Navigate the Cancer Maze

Sugar feeds Cancer Myth

Did you know most patients seeking help from us, the Grace Gawler Institute, have been negatively influenced by common cancer myths? Did you know many have harmed their recovery (or died prematurely) by embracing such heavily promoted myths?

MYTH-INFORMATION can be harmful or deadly to patients.

NOTE: This page is just one of many myth-buster pages on our site. Be informed – See Cancer Fact Checker

MYTH: People with cancer shouldn’t eat sugar, since it can cause cancer to grow faster.

FACT: Sugar doesn’t make cancer grow faster.

All cells, including cancer cells, depend on blood sugar (glucose) for energy.

But giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn’t speed their growth.

Likewise, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn’t slow their growth. Read More from Mayo Clinic 

MYTH: Eating sugar makes my cancer worse?

FACT: Although research has shown that cancer cells consume more sugar (glucose) than normal cells, no studies have shown that eating sugar will make your cancer worse or that, if you stop eating sugar, your cancer will shrink or disappear.

However, a high-sugar diet may contribute to excess weight gain, and obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing several types of cancer.

For more information, see the NCI fact sheet on Obesity and Cancer. Read More from National Cancer Institute

Renowned colorectal surgeon and colleague, Prof Francis Seow Choen, discusses how the sugar myth impacts patients with colorectal cancers.

Click here for Singapore Straits Times PODCAST 


QUESTION: Does sugar cause cancer? Does sugar feed cancer cells, making them grow more aggressively? And how does the sugar we consume through food and drink affect our health, and what can be done about this?

ANSWER: There’s no evidence that following a “sugar-free” diet lowers the risk of getting cancer, or boosts the chances of surviving if you are diagnosed.

AND: following severely restricted diets with very low amounts of carbohydrate could damage health in the long term by eliminating foods that are good sources of fibre and vitamins.

This is particularly important for cancer patients, because some treatments can result in weight loss and put the body under a lot of stress. So poor nutrition from restrictive diets could also hamper recovery, or even be life-threatening.

Read More – Cancer Research UK

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