Does sugar feed cancer?

Does sugar feed cancer?

Does cancer love sugar?

There is a bizarre argument going on at the moment which defends sugar and particularly glucose over its links to cancer.

Take the mighty MD Anderson who argue (as do many), under a title of Does Sugar Love cancer? that ’sugar feeds all the cells of the body’. Yes, it does, but that wasn’t the title of the article. 

Does cancer LOVE sugar? Yes, it does, is the answer. Talk to your oncologist about a PET scan. That takes a radioactive dye into the body. If all cells LOVED sugar equally then a PET scan would be a complete waste of time. However, a PET scan shows up cancers (and only cancers) because cancer cells devour glucose, at a rate way beyond any normal healthy cell does. And that is because they have far greater numbers of insulin receptor sites on their surface. Why would they have those? Because they want to grow faster than normal cells, and to do so means devouring more sugar with an avarice way beyond normal, healthy cells.

MD Anderson next say. "Let’s look at the evidence to find out whether sugar causes cancer to spread and grow more quickly". Except they then present no evidence at all one way or the other on this topic. Indeed, they start talking about ’how much sugar is safe?’ and quote the American Heart Foundation!  It’s an awful, inaccurate article without one drop of research presented. And it is bizarre that a cancer centre has to quote a heart foundation as its sole piece of science.

Report: ’20 links between sugar and cancer’

One of the top articles on Google Search is from Oncology Nutrition. It puts out the same ’glucose feeds eery cell’ story. Again, the article contains not one jot of scientific evidence. But they do actually state that "Much research shows that it’s sugar’s relationship to higher insulin levels and related growth factors that may influence cancer cell growth the most and increase risk of other chronic diseases".

From that, I take it that they agree sugar is the underlying issue. Without sugar or glucose there would be no insulin problem.

Take dear old Macmillan in the UK. They chose to fundraise for cancer by holding cake and coffee mornings, and you send your monies raised by SMS to … SUGAR.

The UK skeptics attacked Chris Woollams and about 6 others for their views on sugar and its dangers in 2012. The Times in 2015, showed that the Skeptic Charity ’Sense about Science’ had received a major donation from … Coca Cola. Of course it must be a coincidence. 

So where might you get your empty calorie glucose from?

According to an American study, Americans get their empty calories (glucose and High fructose corn syrup from:

Fizzy soft drinks, Ribena (37%),
Supermarket fruit juices, smoothies (8.9%)
Ice cream, dairy deserts (6.1%), grain deserts (13.7%)
Biscuits, cakes, chocolate bars (5.8%)
Prepared foods, processed foods, ‘health foods’
Refined pasta, rice, bread, grains
Honey, jams

Cancer cells are inflexible

There is a massive difference between cancer cells and healthy cells. When healthy cells run out of glucose they can burn fats (ketosis) and protein. But cancer cells cannot - they are inflexible. Sometimes they can turn to an adjacent cell and rob it of glutamate which is a reserve energy store, the vast majority of which comes from … glucose.

The University of California talk about sugar being a major Health risk in their report on the subject saying it causes more than 35 million deaths a year globally.

REPORT: A Ketogenic Diet to fight cancer

In 2012, in Molecular Systems Biology, scientists lead by Dr. Thomas Graeber showed that starving cancer cells of glucose leads to cell death. Dr. Thomas Seyfried of Boston College has found much the same thing. He is an advocate of the Ketogenic diet, which is basically low or no sugar, moderate protein and high good fat content.

Elsewhere on this website you will find our report on 20 links between sugar and cancer - that’s actual research, actual references, actual evidence.

2015 Research
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