Does Sugar Cause Cancer?
ChipMonk heard a rumor that excessive sugar consumption causes cancer, so we decided to explore some of the research and find out for ourselves.
HERE’S WHAT WE FOUND:
There is a popular myth that sugar ‘feeds’ cancer cells. While technically true, sugar actually feeds all the cells in your body, and there is no evidence to suggest that eating sugar directly contributes to the spread of cancer. However:
SUGAR LEADS TO OBESITY. OBESITY IS LINKED TO CANCER
There is a clearly established scientific link between eating too much sugar and obesity. And obesity has been linked to cancers of the colon, breast, throat, and kidneys. In fact, Dr. Eugenia Calle from the American Cancer Society says that “overeating may be the largest avoidable cause of cancer in nonsmokers”.
OK, SO OBESITY INCREASES THE RISK FOR CANCER, BUT SUGAR DOESN’T?
Well not exactly. While eating sugar does not directly feed cancer cells, scientists have observed a higher incidence of colon and pancreatic cancers in populations with high sugar diets. Although the exact mechanism isn’t yet fully understood, there is growing evidence that abnormal glucose levels (spiked by excess sugar consumption) play a significant role in the incidence of cancer.
WELL THAT DOESN’T GOOD! SO SHOULD I AVOID SUGAR ALL TOGETHER?
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, probably not. Research Dietician and Behavioral Scientist Erma Levy reminds us that “your body’s cells use sugar to keep your vital organs functioning, but too much daily sugar can cause weight gain. And unhealthy weight gain and lack of exercise can increase your cancer risk.” So the answer isn’t to cut out all sugar, but to eat the right amount of sugar for you.
BUT HOW MUCH SUGAR IS SAFE TO EAT?
Well, that depends. The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than 25 grams, and men no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day. And unfortunately many consumer goods are absolutely jam packed with added sugar. Sweetened beverages, cookies, cakes pies: these are the obvious culprits. But yogurts, cereals, pasta sauce, salad dressing, and even canned vegetables are also typically ‘enhanced’ with added sugar. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: CHECK THE LABEL!
Although we can’t say that sugar causes cancer directly, there is solid evidence that obesity and excess sugar consumption lead to a ton of negative health outcomes, including increased risk of cancer. That’s why ChipMonk Cookies & Brownie Bites have only 1 gram or less of sugar per serving, proof that we don’t need unhealthy, excess sugar to enjoy delicious, mindful desserts.
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