Fact or Myth: Sugar Fuels Cancer Growth

One of the most popular rumors about cancer is that sugar causes cancer. It can be hard to escape hearing this, but is it true? 

Sugar does not directly cause cancer. Cancer is a disease where cells in our bodies grow out of control. Scientists began to look at whether these cancer cells use sugar to grow faster. Our bodies need some sugar for energy, but too much of it can cause problems. All cells use sugar to grow, this includes cancer cells, but also cells that have harmless—or even helpful—roles in the body. Too much sugar is linked to obesity which is shown to put someone at risk for cancer.

Now, does this mean sugar causes cancer? Not exactly. Eating sugary snacks now and then is okay, but having too much might not be healthy. It’s essential to balance our diets with lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

A trick to help you see which foods have a lot of sugar in them is to find “Added sugar” on the label. This number is listed in grams. If you divide the number of grams by 4, this gives you teaspoons, which can be easier to picture. This means if a granola bar says “16 grams of sugar” it has 4 teaspoons of sugar in it.

Being active and eating well helps keep our bodies strong and healthy. Scientists are still learning about how sugar and cancer are linked. But for now, remember to enjoy treats in moderation and fill your plate with lots of colorful, nutritious foods. 

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