Sugar and cancer treatment: 4 things patients should know

There are many myths surrounding sugar and cancer treatment. But what do cancer patients really need to know about sugar to make sure they’re getting the best diet during treatment? We spoke with Randi Nicholson, a clinical dietitian at MD Anderson, to find out.   Eating dessert won’t make your cancer spread “Many people think that sugar will make your cancer spread, but that’s not technically true,” Nicholson says. Every cell in your body uses sugar, and that includes cancer cells. But that doesn’t mean sugar will make your cancer spread. “The danger in sugar is that it’s basically empty calories. It would be better to consume vitamins and nutrients that help your body stay strong during cancer treatment,” Nicholson says. You don’t need to cut all sugar from your diet   Eliminating all sugar from your diet is difficult and unnecessary. “You don’t need to take an all or nothing approach,” Nicholson says. “It’s best to consume no more than the recommended amount of sugar each day and to try to take in less sugar if you need to.” The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and nine teaspoons per day for men. Nicholson says it’s more important to focus on consuming less added sugar than natural sugars, like those found in fruits and grains. That’s because added sugar – which is found in drinks and processed or prepared foods — can lead to unwanted weight gain, which can cause other health problems. Artificial sweeteners aren’t necessarily healthy Artificial sweeteners should be limited, Nicholson says. These synthetic sugar substitutes...