Sugar vs. Cancer

Has anyone ever heard that sugar feeds cancer cells? I just finished a lot of IV Steroids from being in the hospital, and came home with a RX of prednisone, of which I too just finished. Seems like all I want to do is eat-- and eat something sweet?? I read somewhere that sugar feeds cancer cells. I sure hope that is not the case! Does anyone know? Another thing, how long will it take for this swelling to go away in my face? It looks like a water balloon!

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If the swelling in your face is due to the prednisone – and it very well may be – it should start going down a month or two after you finish the prednisone.

Yes cancer feeds on glucose, which is the form of sugar circulating in your blood, but so do all other cells of the body. It's part of your body's metabolism. Some people claim eating sugar feeds the cancer directly. Others have eaten all the sweets they want and remained cancer free. I haven't seen clinical studies that demonstrate people who eat more sweets have more cancer. However, there is a direct link between consuming large quantities of sweets and developing adult onset diabetes.

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I read somewhere but can not remember where that sugar does feed cancer. After I had all my treatments my sugar got way out of whack but I was on predisone which is a steriod, and all I wanted to eat was sweets also and they finally weaned me off the steriods and my sugar went back to normal and the swelling left my face and now I do not crave sweets at all. Hope this helps Verlie

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Every cell feeds off sugar. Cancer just uses it faster, which is what makes the cells "light up" on a PET scan.

That's far from saying there's anything practical you can do about it, though, apart from due diligence and not loading up on sugar.

FYI, Prednisone also raises your blood sugar, which is another argument for moderating your sugar intake, despite the fact that your appetite for it has increased.

Incidentally, I'm pretty bad at that moderation thing myself.

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I have also heard this. It is hard to eliminate sugar as it is in everything, but I try to keep it at a minimum for my husband. Ensure has 22 g of sugar, but he needs it. When I asked his dr about this his reply was don't go eating candy bars and such. I am using an app. Myfittnesspal to keep track of his calories everyday. I have him on 2500......hard to do some days.....but the app gives a breakdown of what his intake should be for that. Sugar indicates 56g a day. I don't know if that is a lot, but he always goes over. Especially when he drinks a milk shake!!! But we are trying to keep weight on and anything that taste good to him and he will eat (besides candy, etc)......he gets.

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As mentioned above, prednisone does increase your appetite. It did increase my craving for sweets; I gained a lot of weight while on prednisone. I imagine that once the prednisone is out of your system, which takes at least a month, your appetite will go back to normal. Mine did.

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Thank you all so much for your input! Well, the IV Steroids explain the sugar cravings! Plus, the predisone they sent me home with! Think I will buy some honey and at least use that instead of refined sugar when I just have to have it! I am already counting down the next 30 days to get this and the sugar out of my system. I just hope I don't have another 'bout of pneumonia or anything respiratory until I get well again. I don't think I can take anymore steroids no time soon! This moonface has got to go!!

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It is hard to keep the sugar monster away when on prednisone. Try using Stevia when you can (I think it is the best sugar replacement and no empty calories) Try not to let the empty calories squeeze out some good nutrients.
As Squanch said your appetite will go back to normal when off, but, for good or bad, the extra weight will hang around, for a good while.

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"It's OK to eat some natural sugars on a daily basis. Sugar in your diet does not cause cancer to develop. Starving all of your cells of sugar won't kill or prevent cancer, but it will deprive your healthy cells of a necessary source of energy. Keeping a balance of nutritious foods and a regular exercise routine can give you a healthy body weight and normal insulin levels. That's the sweet way to reduce your cancer risk.'
Take care, Judy m

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This is the best information I have found on the topic.

Sugar and Cancer. Is There a Connection? The concept that sugar feeds cancer is not useful. Sugar feeds every cell in our bodies. Our bodies need glucose, or simple sugar, for energy. Even if you cut every bit of sugar out of your diet, your body will make sugar from other sources, such as protein and fat. So cancer cells need sugar to grow, just like healthy cells. It helps to remember that there is nothing particular about sugar that “feeds” cancer cells any more than sugar feeds all cells in our body.

The most important point is that sugar itself is not bad. However, too much sugar, without enough protein, fat, and fiber to balance it out, can cause our bodies to make too much insulin. It is not the sugar, but rather the insulin that may be a problem for spurring cancer cell growth.

Source: r-is-there-a-connection.htm

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There was a thread on Inspire recently in which a contributor pointed to studies that dismissed the idea that eating sugar makes cancer grow more quickly as a myth. Can't find it with a quick search, though maybe someone will recall where it was.

However, here's a link to the Mayo clinic site, which also says that it's a myth.

The MD Anderson Cancer center, which I would also regard as very credible, is a bit more circumspect, recommending that people limit high GI foods (like table sugar, candy, white flour products etc) and eat more low GI foods. The key word here is "limit", which is not the same as "eliminate". Basically they are saying to eat a balanced, sensible diet. Here's their hand out on the subject:

Branching away from the sugar theme slightly, but still on nutrition, there was also an interesting discussion on Inspire recently about whether people changed their diet and whether it made a difference. You can find it here: -big-changes-to-your-diet-has-it-helped-or-not/?reply_sort=asc&page=2#repli es

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Hi cards up,

I agree with your statement which coincides with my Oncologist info.

Take care,


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If I have to give up my sweets, I would rather croak. So I just try to have some point of moderation. I try to balance my sweets with some Stevea, honey and even some real live sugar (In my cookies and chocolates) I do agree with the concept of balance and add lots of proteins and veggies to help balance that out.

Steroids are too fun!!! Uggg. I hate the round face but they do serve their purpose. Enjoy the extra energy and the treats that you crave. Once you are off them get back to balance.

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Its balony - sugar does not cause cancer - if it did all of north america would be full of cancer - a far greater number of people than today.

Just eat a good balanced diet - lots of water. Good sources of protein, fruit/veg, dairy and complex carbs and avoid processed food.

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I am a diabetic and have to count carbs, they turn to sugar. I wear an insulin pump and when I eat I have to enter the amount of carbs then the pump calculates how much insulin is needed to cover the carbs and keep sugars in normal range, so keep an eye on carbs too....
xoxoxoxoxo, NDM

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One way to help curb the sugar cravings is to eat protein with each meal. Cancer patients need more protein than the average person; protein helps to protect and repair healthy cells that might be damaged by cancer treatment. Also, protein helps to stabilize blood sugar, preventing the wide swings in blood sugar levels that occur when one eats lots of sugar or unrefined carbs. It's the swings in blood sugar levels that cause the sugar cravings, and prednisone tends to make this worse because it elevates blood sugar levels. (Large, repeated swings in blood sugar also stress the body and can induce diabetes over time).

I suggest you work harder than usual at eating healthy while on prednisone--not because of cancer issues, but because excessive weight gain is not good for anyone. Speaking from my personal experience, it is really tough to lose the 45 pounds I gained during my year on prednisone (especially now that I'm post-menopausal).

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Thank you for that advice. I know I have put on 25lbs. since I've been sick. I am really hoping most of that weight is swelling! Since I'm done with the steroids, I hope the swelling will soon go away. I see my doctor tomorrow and I believe he will put me on Lasix for CHF. That too, should help with the swelling. I will be glad to feel better soon. If I don't get a handle on these cravings for sweets, it won't be just swelling weight gain! It is very difficult for me to exercise due to respiratory issues. At this point, calorie control is what I need to be doing. Any ideas about weight loss w/o being able to exercise much. I'm hoping eventually, my lungs will get stronger and then I can really diet.

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I find I have to keep my daily calories around 1200 in order to lose any weight if I'm not exercising. Aside from exercising (even gentle walking helps), journaling everything that passed my lips was what helps me the most in losing weight. If you have a smartphone, there are several apps that help with food journaling. I like "Lose It!" because it has nutrition data for many individual foods, premade items, and restaurant meals already in its database. It also allows you to scan food labels, then enters the nutrition data for you.

You might ask your oncologist if he/she can recommend a cancer-savvy nutritionist you can talk to. I learned a lot from the nutritionist at my cancer center.

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I gained a lot, almost 40 pounds during treatment. I feel gross and have no clothes. But, I also think I have this mind thing going on where I am scared to lose weight because to me losing weight = dying from cancer. I guess I feel protected by my new "fluffy" figure even though it's not comfortable. Isn't that ridiculous?

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No, it is not ridiculous. Weight loss is part of cancer. Weight gain does allow your body something to pull from when you are sick. Somewhere deep inside of me, I too can relate to how you feel. I too am "fluffy" but I think I'd rather look like that than a dead man walking. So no, your thinking is not ridiculous.

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I'm trying really hard right now not to go up another waist size. I already increased by an inch. Beats the alternative.

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