Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Can you cure cancer by cutting sugar?

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After a conversation with a reader about ludicrous nutrition advice he was given after receiving a cancer diagnosis I felt the need to address the issue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by people that cancer cells feed on sugar so people with cancer shouldn’t eat sugar. There are so many things wrong with this.

Sure, cancer cells use sugar in the same way that ALL cells in your body do. Sugar, in the form of glucose, is the energy source for all of your cells. If you have cancer and eat sugar you are not “feeding” the cancer. Conversely, if you stop eating sugar, you’re not going to be able to starve your cancer to death. You get glucose from more sources than table sugar and sugary snacks and if you’re not consuming enough glucose to fuel your body it will start making it for you.

I’m sure that most people who believe that consuming sugar helps cancer grow are simply well-meaning misguided individuals. Unfortunately, there’s a whole industry built on preying on people’s desperation. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, in many cases they’ll turn to whatever cure or treatment they can. As food is “natural” it’s not surprising that people would want to look for dietary treatments. That’s where the predatory wellness warriors come in telling people to cut all sugar from their diets amongst other nutritional “cures’ with absolutely no scientific basis.

A google search for “food cure for cancer” yielded the following results:

Vegetables Juices. The RAW vegetables you should focus on are carrots, cabbage, green asparagus, broccoli, red beets (i.e. beetroot), beet tops, cauliflower and related vegetables. Peppers also have cancer-fighting substances. The spice turmeric can be added as well.

Brussels sprouts, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower all contain sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinols (I3Cs), two potent anticancer molecules. These molecules help the body detoxify certain carcinogenic substances and can help prevent precancerous cells from developing into malignant tumors.

6 Cancer-Fighting Superfoods

A change of diet cured my cancer

How I used the raw vegan diet to beat cancer naturally

Heal all cancer with this diet

It’s all bullshit. If cancer could be miraculously cured by eating “superfoods” or “raw food” or having intravenous mega-doses of vitamins no one would be dying of cancer anymore. Scientists would have stopped researching cancer cures years ago.

Nutrition and your overall diet certainly play a role in cancer risk but it’s not the only risk factor. If you have cancer, I recommend working with a dietitian who specializes in nutrition for cancer patients to optimize your nutrition while you undergo appropriate treatment overseen by an oncologist.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

5 thoughts on “Can you cure cancer by cutting sugar?

  1. Good read. I read a few other posts, also, and I appreciate the focus on making sense of industry-recommendations that don’t hold up under scrutiny.

    I’m also of the mind that information is purposely vague and deceptive from a lot of sources available to people. A lot of people don’t know what to look for in their research, or why. No one person can possibly address every one, as new ones are springing up every day. I’m glad you’re on the right side.

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  2. As a cancer patient I get all kinds of different advice from people. The no sugar is a big one. I do admit I try to limit my sugar intake (meaning junk food, not whole fruit) a lot because I find sugar very addicting and I think it gives me headaches and makes my cancerous bones ache. However, I am a sample size of one. Also, I was on a whole foods, plant based died when I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have eaten any healthier to avoid getting cancer but I still got it. I don’t believe there is a one-size fits all food cure and I get sick of the advice. Thank you for writing about these issues.

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