By Trinh Vu, Texas State Nutrition Intern
Does sugar feed cancer? This myth has been going around for some time now. All of our cells in our body use sugar or glucose as a primary source of fuel. We can obtain glucose from many different types of foods, fruits, whole grains, vegetables and unhealthy foods such as sugar sweetened beverages, white breads and sweets. Many seem to think that cutting out carbs and sugar will stop the cancer from growing but we need carbs to keep our body functioning properly.
Limiting carbs will limit the body of good sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Even though it seems like sugar “feeds” the cancer cells, it also feeds our healthy cells as well. Sugar fuels all the cells in the body no matter what type of cell it is. It doesn’t know the difference in the type of cell it is feeding because glucose is essential for all cells to perform its needed functions.
There is an indirect link between sugar and cancer. Eating an excess amount of sugar and sweets can lead to obesity in which obesity will lead to numerous health problems. Developing these health problems such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease can increase the risk for developing cancers such as ovarian, breast or even colorectal cancer.
It is highly suggested to limit the consumption of refined sugars and sweets. Some ways to do that are choosing to eat whole grains rather than refined, eating a balanced plate, making at least 50% your plate fruits and vegetables or all vegetables, and staying well hydrated with water. Following some of these tips allows for blood glucose balance as well as maintaining a healthy weight. All in all, it is important to feed our body with the needed nutrients while trying to limit refined grains, sweets and sugary foods and drinks.