Cancer Loves Sugar

If you are not 100% convinced that consuming sweet, sugary (simple carbohydrate) foods is a bad idea for anyone with cancer* take one look at this. As far as I’m concerned there is absolutely no better image to really drive this point home and make it stick in your mind.

*FYI-We ALL have cancer in our body.

What you are looking at is a PET/CT scan, the best radiology imaging tool available for helping us find cancer hiding in the body. I order these almost every day in my practice.

Cancer Loves Sugar PET Scan

This PET/CT scan is of a man with cancer that has spread to almost all of the bones in his body (metastatic cancer).

**The reason I show this to you is that PET/CT’s use sugar (“18F-fluorodeoxyglucose” or “18F-FDG”, a radiolabelled glucose molecule) to highlight the location of cancer in the body.**

If there was anything better than sugar to help us identify hidden cancer in the body we would be using it. 

How PET/CT’s Work:

The PET/CT study involves having the patient fast before their scan and then get an injection of this radioactive sugar. They are then asked to sit in the waiting room for about an hour, giving time for the sugar to circulate around the body and be gobbled up by hungry cancer cells. Sugar is the #1 food cancer cells prefer to eat, so they load up on this 18-FDG like a kid in a candy store. Then the patient is brought back to the PET/CT scanner and are scanned from head to toe. Anywhere the sugar accumulates (i.e. cancerous tumors) shows up like a lightbulb on the scan. This is what you are looking at in the rotating image above.

If You Didn’t Know How Bad Sugar Was Before You Aren’t Alone:

Unfortunately, most conventionally trained medical doctors receive very little if any nutritional education in medical school or in resident training. As a result, it is hardly a surprise that the only snacks and drinks available to patients in most oncology offices are chips, crackers, surgery drinks and juices. To make matters worse, the ‘nutritional’ supplement drink recommended most often for cancer patients is loaded with sugar.

cola or drink supplement

Dr. Lawenda’s Bottom Line:

Although our body relies on sugar as its favorite energy source it is important that the foods we consume do not contain large amounts of sugar in the form of “simple sugars” or “simple carbohydrates” as these cause blood sugar and insulin levels to rise quickly after we eat or drink them. Sugar is the #1 food for cancer and insulin is a potent cancer growth factor.

GI graphFoods that spike your blood sugar and insulin levels are called “high-glycemic index” foods, whereas “low-glycemic index” foods lead to much lower blood sugar and insulin levels.

Be smart about what you put into your body.

We have written a number of articles on sugar and cancer (start with this one). If you need more guidance on starting your anticancer diet buy the AntiCancerize Me ProgramTM today.

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About Brian D. Lawenda, M.D.

I am an integrative oncologist. I trained at Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School) in radiation oncology and through Stanford-UCLA (Helms Medical Institute) in medical acupuncture. I am the founder of IntegrativeOncology-Essentials.

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