Twice recently I have heard mention of the fact that “sugar feeds cancer cells.” Both times I briefly contemplated just ending it all (kidding) because I am not sure I want to live in a world without sugar.
In reality, here’s what the experts say:
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.
This misconception may be based in part on a misunderstanding of positron emission tomography (PET) scans, which use a small amount of radioactive tracer — typically a form of glucose. All tissues in your body absorb some of this tracer, but tissues that are using more energy — including cancer cells — absorb greater amounts. For this reason, some people have concluded that cancer cells grow faster on sugar. But this isn’t true.
However, there is some evidence that consuming large amounts of sugar is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, including esophageal cancer. It can also lead to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity and diabetes, which may increase the risk of cancer.
So, in short: blood sugar causes all cells to grow faster. Cancer cells use more energy than regular cells, so therefore use more blood sugar. That said, sugar is not good for you. Don’t eat too much sugar, it could contribute to the risk of certain cancers, will make you fat, and could give you diabetes. Don’t believe everything you hear and/or read. If you get diagnosed with cancer it’s okay to soothe yourself in a reasonable way with chocolate and cupcakes. I added that last part myself but have found it to be true.
Now back to waiting.