CANCER FOOD MYTHS …DEBUNKED!
There’s no shortage of cancer miracle diets and ‘superfoods’ spruiking a cure — but how does the science stack up? One of the most common myths is that sugar ‘feeds’ cancer cells
There’s no shortage of cancer miracle diets and ‘superfoods’, but what does the science say?
Google the word ‘cancer’ and you’ll come across millions of web pages, each offering a different diet that causes, prevents and even cures cancer. With so many myths surrounding the relationship between food and cancer, it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction. And while many of these claims are inaccurate, some of them are downright dangerous.
All of this ‘noise’ can leave patients, friends and family confused and vulnerable to dodgy information. From sugar detoxes and juice cleanses, to vitamin C infusions, HFG sorts through some of the most persistent, controversial myths. We then look at the scientific evidence to ensure you receive the best nutrition possible throughout and beyond your treatment.
There’s a widespread belief that sugar ‘feeds’ cancer cells. This myth is very often harmful as it leads people to avoid all foods containing carbohydrates, which can prove to be counterproductive for anyone who is struggling to maintain their weight during cancer treatment.
Carbohydrates — whether from cake or a carrot — are broken down into sugars, and are one of our body’s main sources of energy. The sugar theory suggests that if cancer cells need sugar to thrive, then you should cut out carbohydrates as a strategy to starve the cancer cells.
THE SCIENCE Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. All our cells need glucose (sugar) for energy, and when your body has no fuel from carbohydrates it will break down its fat and protein stores. So, cutting out sugar will not ‘starve’ the cancer cells — your body will just make sure it gets fuel from other sources.
Eliminating carbs can cause weight loss, fatigue and muscle weakness, all of which you want to minimise during treatment. It’s good for overall health to limit foods with processed or added sugar — but eliminating sugar won’t cure cancer.