• Marcio Alvarez-Silva, PhD

Sugar and cancer

I have observed many discussions about the use of sugar. Some people believe that it causes or stimulates the growth of malignant tumors.


O crescimento de tumores é um evento complexo e não depende apenas um um único indutor / Tumor growth is a complex process and depends not only on a single inducer.

Initially, it is important to note that the sugar, or sucrose, that we commonly use to sweeten food is not an element defined as a carcinogenic compound (a chemical capable of inducing the formation of malignant tumors). No relationship has ever been proven in this regard. It is, therefore, an irresponsible statement to admit that sucrose does somehow induce the formation or the growth of tumors.

Therefore, in the light of science, sucrose does not cause the onset of cancer.

When the cancer sets in the patient, could the sucrose induce the tumor progression? No, this is not possible.

Tumors are complex systems. Their growth depends on new blood vessels with the increase of an aberrant cell mass. The energy used for tumor development does not derive directly from the consumption of sugar, but from various metabolic processes in the patient, since its homeostasis is wholly altered. The energy for the growth of malignant cells come primarily from the catabolism of carbohydrates, the lipid reserves or muscle tissue of the patient. This condition is observed mainly in patients with advanced malignancy and is known as cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome (CACS), which to significant weight loss also results in anemia, asthenia, metabolic changes, and low immunity. The fact that the patient uses sugar will not influence the development of CACS since it is a condition resulting from tumor growth in the patient.

Consequently, there is no correlation between the use of sugar in the development or progression of tumors. It should be noted that a more caloric diet and the use of nutrients, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, glutamine, and arginine, together with the drugs are used to / reduce CACS. This should always be conducted along with the clinical staff who will assess the appropriate nutritional balance for the patient.

Therefore sugar (sucrose) has no relation to the formation or growth of tumors. This statement is part of a myth about cancer. Cancer has much misleading information.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions.

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