Does sugar feed cancer? This is one of the most frequently asked questions related to nutrition in cancer prevention, treatment or survivorship.
To date research has not been able to find a strong association between sugar consumption and cancer growth or cancer risk but an indirect link has been found between sugar, obesity and cancer.
Glucose commonly referred as sugar has numerous roles in our bodies. It provides the energy for brain function and is required to synthesize precursors for neurotransmitters. It is responsible for cell function and growth. An assumption was made that if sugar is necessary for cancer cell growth, the elimination thereof would prevent cancer growth. Unfortunately, eliminating glucose would also disrupt physiological processes and normal cell function.
An increased sugar intake is associated with a higher energy intake, which leads to obesity. The increased body fat percentages are associated with an increased cancer risk. In an attempt to decrease obesity the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that “fast foods” and processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars are to be limited.