What's the link between sugar and cancer?

Sugar being poured from a teaspoon

The claim

Sugar feeds cancer – and it makes cancer grow faster.

Sugar being poured from a teaspoon

The truth

Your body’s cells consume sugar as they grow and divide, but eating sugar does not make cancer cells grow faster.

All cells require sugar (glucose) for energy. Your body can also store sugar to use as energy later. Your body needs this sugar to function normally. Canadians consume thousands of dietary components every day, so it’s hard to pinpoint precise links between diet and cancer.

When sugar can increase your risk of cancer

Eating lots of foods that contain sugar means you’re more likely to gain weight. Research shows that obesity increases your cancer risk. Obesity may cause changes in hormone levels which may also put you at a greater risk of developing cancer. A healthy body weight will be different for everyone, so talk to your doctor about yours.

The Canadian Cancer Society is committed to sharing important information about cancer risk to Canadians and will continue to monitor research in this area.

Learn more about the health costs of a sweet tooth.

Get tips on having a healthy body weight.