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

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - NEWS -

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.

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