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Does cancer loves sugar?

Love sugar, don't eat it

One of the biggest offenders in our diets is an abundance of added sugars. According to the American Cancer Society's website: "No, sugar intake has not been shown to directly increase the risk of getting cancer or having it get worse (progress). Still, sugars and sugar-sweetened drinks add large amounts of calories to the diet and can cause weight gain, which we know can affect cancer outcomes."

It makes sense to eat a healthy, whole food based diet with cancer which would naturally be low in added sugars but no one can say for sure if it feeds cancer. But until an "added sugars" category makes its debut on the Nutrition Facts Panel (the FDA has started to explore the possibility with a consumer study), it’s challenging to know just how much added sugar is lurking in your favorite packaged foods. And although more and more food companies are ditching high-fructose corn syrup, their products aren't necessarily sugar-free. In fact, they may contain just as much sugar as before, just in a different form.

Here are 3 tips to sleuth out how much added sugar is in your food:

  • Read the Nutrition Facts Panel: Under a food label’s "sugars" designation, both natural and added sugars are included. Natural sugars (such as lactose in milk and fructose in fruit) are not usually a problem because they come in small doses and are packed with other nutrients, which helps slow absorption.

Check the ingredient list:

  • All of the following are aliases for added sugar. The higher up on the list they appear, the more sugar is in the product. Dextrose, fructose, honey, invert sugar, raw sugar, malt syrup, rice syrup, sucrose, xylose, molasses, corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, corn syrup, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, barley malt, beet sugar, caramel.

Compare products:

  • Determine how much unhealthful added sugar your product contains by comparing it to a comparable sugar-free product, such as strawberry yogurt to plain yogurt or canned peaches in syrup to canned peaches in juice.

“Unfortunately, there is no single food that will cure cancer. Still, what you eat is very important,” says Veronica McLymont, PhD, RD, director of food and nutrition services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

While you’re treated for cancer, eat a variety of healthy foods to give your body all the nutrients it needs. Evidence isn't conclusive, but experts believe that a healthy diet may improve your chance of recovery. - more information

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