Sugar and Cancer

“Sugar is to Cancer what Gas is to a Fire!”  Dr Charles Majors

How Sugar Feeds cancer

Cancer cells are obligate glucose metabolizers, and as they metabolize that glucose, they excrete a lactic acid by-product which further increases the acidity of the body and this creates an ideal environment for cancer to grow and spread.

With that in mind, one way to seriously weaken a cancerous cell is by cutting off its supply of simple sugars and the other foods that the body can easily convert into glucose such as white flour, refined grains, white potatoes, and white rice.

One example of how modern medicine knowingly exploits a cancerous cells weakness to glucose is with the use of the radioactive glucose dye that is injected into the body to perform a PET (Positron Emission Tomography). The dye is called fluroxydiglucose or FDG, and it has radioisotopes that are attached to sugar molecules.  Cancer cells have 10 to 20 times more insulin receptors than healthy cells and this allows the cancerous cells to gobble up the radioactive dye mixture to reveal any cancerous growths or changes in tumor size.

In his book ‘Anticancer: A New Way of Life,’  David Servan-Schreiber MD, PhD, writes in regards to sugar, “when we eat sugar, or white flour, or foods with a high ‘glycemic index’, the blood levels of glucose rise rapidly.  The body immediately releases a dose of insulin to enable the glucose to enter the cells.  The secretion of insulin is accompanied by the release of another molecule, called IGF (insulin-like growth factor), whose role it is to stimulate cell growth. He writes that “insulin and IGF not only stimulate the growth of cancer cells, but also their capacity to invade neighboring tissues.”  Furthermore, insulin and IGF have another effect: “They promote the factors of inflammation, which also stimulates cell growth, and acts in turn as fertilizer for tumors.”

Increased spikes in blood glucose levels leads to death in study 

A mouse model of human breast cancer demonstrates how sensitive tumors can be to spikes in blood glucose levels. For the study, sixty-eight mice were injected with an aggressive strain of breast cancer and then fed diets that would induce high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), or steady blood sugar (normoglycemia), or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). There was a dose-dependent response noted, with those with the lowest blood glucose levels having the highest survival rates.   After two months, only 8 of the 24 mice whose blood sugar levels had spiked frequently had survived. Compare that with 16 survivors out of 24 that had a steady glycemic index, and 19 out of 20 survivors in the low glycemic group.  This study suggests that regulating sugar intake may be key to slowing down breast tumor growth.   Link to this study.

soda is the number one source of sugar in the dietCutting sugar intake reduces breast cancer recurrence in women.

Women who had a genetic predisposition for breast cancer can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by cutting down on sugar and carbohydrates in their diet.  When you cut these our of your diet, you can dramatically reduce the risk of cancer because it affects the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which has the ability to speed up the growth of cancer.   In a study done by researchers at Dartmouth College, women who had more IGF-1 receptors who cut down on their sugar intakes were far less likely to see their cancer return than those who did not make changes to their diets. Link to the study.

The Nature Works Best Cancer Clinic, a naturopathic clinic in Tempe, AZ, did a survey among 300 of their patients and discovered that, regardless of the cancer or the stage, the patients who avoided added sugars in their diets had more than twice the rates of survival over those who continued to eat sugar. According to their calculations, only 36% of the people who continued to include some sugars in their diet went into remission, while 90% of the people who avoided all added sugars were able to achieve remission.

Sugary beverages significantly increase rates of cancer recurrence –  Soda and other sugary beverages are the number one source of excess sugar in the diet, with the average American drinking 45 gallons of sugar-sweetened beverages per year (or about 480 cans).  A study that was released in 2014 found that consumption of sugary beverages significantly increased the risk of cancer recurrence and death by 67% in stage 3 colon cancer patients.  For the study, researchers defined “sugar-sweetened beverages” as a 12-ounce serving of  sugar-sweetened soda, or other beverages such as fruit punch, lemonade, and fruit drinks.

The patients in the study all had colon resection surgery to remove their tumors as well as any cancerous lymph nodes.  They were given dietary questionnaires  during their treatment and for the 6 months following the completion of their treatments.   Their responses to the questionnaires revealed that patients who consumed two or more 12 oz servings per day of a sugary beverage had an 67% increased risk of cancer recurrence or death compared with those consuming less than two servings per month.  Link to this study.

Unfortunately, sugary snacks and sweetened beverages are often served at Cancer Centers throughout the U.S. while patients are receiving their chemotherapy treatments, and those same patients are being sent home being told that they can eat whatever they want and that diet doesn’t matter.  The diet plans they are taking home often encourage the cancer patients to increase their caloric intakes with sugar sweetened items like puddings, Jello’s, and unhealthy meal replacement shakes such as Boost or Ensure.  All of these should be considered toxic to those with cancer.  Take a look at the ingredients list on meal replacement shakes and you will see that there are several different types of sugar listed foremost in the ingredients lists along with unhealthy polyunsaturated fats…. do not use them if you have cancer.  Read how to make a healthier substitution.

Video on David Servan-Schreiber’s cancer research and the connection with sugar

Sugar and its link to heart disease and inflammation

Most Americans are consuming way too much sugar, and if you drink soda, you could be consuming up to 40 grams of sugar in just one 8 ounce serving.   Statistics suggest that Americans are eating a whopping 150 lbs of refined sugar/high fructose corn syrup every year and our bodies just aren’t designed to deal with the constant barrage of sugar.

Sugars as listed in processed foods can include:

  • White or brown sugars
  • Gigh fructose corn syrup
  • Glucose
  • Polydextrose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sucrose
  • Maltose
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Sugar cane
  • Beet sugar
  • Lactose (dairy sugar)

Ways to reduce your consumption-  There are other ways to sweeten your foods which will not cause the spike in the glycemic index that refined sugar will, but the overall goal is to limit your use of all sweeteners and break the sugar habit.

  • Use raw fruit as a natural sweetener.  It can be blended or mashed up and then added into foods.  Some fruits to include: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, pomegranates, cantaloupe, watermelon, and oranges.
  • Organic Stevia is made from an herb from the sunflower family that has been used for dietary purposes since the1800s. It is actually sweeter than sugar, but has little effect on blood sugar, making it a suitable option for diabetics and those concerned with spikes in blood sugar.  By replacing refined dietary sugar with Stevia you will eliminate the very ingredient that cancer cells thrive upon.  Look for pure stevia, not the processed substitutes that often contain additional sweeteners.   Stevioside is the diterpene glycoside found in the leaf of Stevia rebaudiana, which has been shown to have various biological and ethno-medicinal activities including antitumor activity.   In the following study, they showed that stevioside was a potent inducer of apoptosis and it conveyed the apoptotic signal via intracellular ROS generation; thereby inducing change in MTP and induction of mitochondrial mediated apoptotic pathway. Link to the study on the antitumor benefits of stevia.
  • Luo Han Guo is a sweet fruit found in China whose extract is used as a sugar substitute. Momordica grosvenori, the fruit yielding Luo han guo extract is a type of cucumber squash. The sweetening agents are called mogrosides and are available in powder form, and are about 250% sweeter than sugar. The product is stable and can be used in cooking and baking. One half teaspoon of Luo han guo has the equivalent sweetness of 25 teaspoons of sugar and less than 1 calorie. It has been used medicinally in China for hundreds of years to ease gastrointestinal ailments and respiratory conditions. It helps stabilize blood sugar and it has no known side effects.
  • Xylitol:  is a carbohydrate found in fibrous fruits and vegetables and is also made in our bodies during healthy metabolism. It has fewer calories than sugar, is slowly absorbed in the body and does not require insulin to process in the body. Commercially, xylitol is derived from birch trees, hardwood trees and other vegetation.  Xylitol can have a laxative effect when taken and even small amounts can cause liver failure, seizures and death in dogs.
  • Erythritol:  is a sugar alcohol that is found in fruit and fermented food. It doesn’t taste quite as sweet as sugar, but has few calories (0.2 calories/gram) and doesn’t affect blood sugar. High intakes of foods containing sugar alcohols can lead to adverse physical symptoms like abdominal gas and diarrhea, as are noted when reading the comments on this product on

The following options will still cause the blood sugar to rise, the only difference is they are less refined than white sugar and still contain some nutritional value. But please remember the goal when you have cancer is to restrict your consumption of all sugars as a general rule.

  • Sucanat
  • Real maple syrup
  • Black strap molasses
  • Raw honey
  • Date sugar
  • Rice syrup
  • Barley malt
  • Coconut sugar

Watch 60 Minutes report with Sanjay Gupta… Is Sugar Toxic

High Fructose Chigh fructose corn syrup and cancerorn Syrup-  Our bodies were already struggling to tolerate the huge amounts of refined sugars that we are loading up on,  but now they are being totally overwhelmed by this toxic syrup that is found in most processed foods.   HFCS has been removed from its natural matrix (as there is fructose in all fruits) and then mixed with glucose (more sugar), so it can no longer be handled by the insulin that our bodies produce, at least not without collateral damage.

Current consumption of high fructose corn syrup is 63 lbs per person/ year, and it is found in almost every processed food on the market. HFCS is much cheaper than sugar so it is an economically-friendly choice for manufactures to use to sweeten their products, however the health risks related to it’s consumption far outweigh any cost benefits.

According to Dr Robert Lustig, MD, UCSF professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, the liver cannot process high fructose corn syrup so it immediately gets stored as fat in the body.   More troubling, your brain doesn’t get the message that the body has received energy from the HFCS, so it sends the message to keep consuming even as the fat cells are accumulating. This confusion leads to metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease.  Excess uric acid also puts one at risk for gout and high blood pressure.  Lustig says that although HFCS is considered  a carbohydrate it is processed by the body as a fat. Other names for HFCS are: Inulin, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Iso Glucose, Chicory and Fruit Fructose.

Study  on fructose and cancer-  fructose intake is associated with increased risk of pancreatic and small intestinal cancers, and possibly others. Fructose promotes flux through the pentose phosphate, which enhances protein synthesis and may indirectly increase tumor growth. Fructose treatment is associated with more aggressive cancer behavior and may promote metastasis. Link to study.

Dr Robert Lustig’s lecture on high fructose corn syrup

Additional Resources

Cancer cannot survive in a oxygenated alkaline environment

Read two testimonials of healing cancer with a ketogenic diet

Read an article on the harmful effects of using artificial sweeteners

Dr Mercola on sugar feeding cancer

Read more more diet related therapies

Anticancer: A New Way of Life

  Blood Sugar Solution: How To Use The Blood Sugar Solution To Prevent Disease and Lose Weight

Related Articles
Cancer is a wake up call which needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.  It is the result of an overly toxic body with an overwhelmed and collapsed immune system due to eating nutritionally depleted diets, exposure to toxins, and having poor lifestyle habits. Research an anticancer diet, adding supplements, detoxing the body, and making lifestyle changes so you can address a cancerous situation with a multifaceted approach.


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