Study Shows How Sugar Causes Cancer

According to the New Hampshire Depart of Health and Human Services, the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar annually, which equates to three pounds weekly [1]. Ironically, although sugar is generally known to be harmful to human health in general, hospitals consistently offer their patients this cancer-causing substance, along with a high-carbohydrate diet.

The relationship between sugar and cancer is not new information – Otto Warburg first noted it in the 1920s [2]. Warburg’s research showed that cancerous tumors prefer to utilize sugar fermentation to produce energy rather than the much more efficient oxygen-based phosphorylation. Researchers dubbed this the Warburg Effect [2].

Further, hospitals have invited and build fast-food restaurants into their cafeterias, which offers an ambiguous view on whether hospitals truly promote healthy dietary lifestyles [3]. Hospitals claim they do this to enhance their patients’ taste experience, which helps to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort that comes from a hospital visit, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy treatment.

However, as more researchers investigate the field of nutrition and note the adverse effects of refined sugar, hospitals will be compelled to change their dietary offerings to conform to an evidence-based approach to health, as so they often claim.

Study Shows Sugar Causes Cancer

In a study published by The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers noted that sugar is not only a fuel source for cancer, but sugar is a primary diver in oncogenesis – i.e., the initiation of cancerous characteristics within previously healthy cells [4]. *

In the study, researchers addressed the cancer industry’s common misperception of sugar’s relationship to cancer: most notably, “increased glycolysis [sugar-based metabolism] is frequently viewed as a consequence of oncogenic [cancer-causing] events that drive malignant cell growth and survival,” [4] meaning cells use sugar as fuel because of cancerous events.

Contrary to this traditional view, these scientists state their study’s information “provide[s] evidence that increased glycolytic activation itself can be an oncogenic event,” [4] meaning the activation of sugar-based metabolism in a cell is driven by large quantities of glucose [sugar], can initiate cancer proliferation.

Additionally, the study further noted, “Conversely, forced reduction of glucose uptake by breast cancer cells led to phenotypic reversion” [4]. Put differently, interfering with the cell’s sugar supply and uptake to the cell causes the cancerous cell to regress to its pre-cancer structure-function.  

New Implications

As previously noted, Americans eat a lot of sugar: 152 pounds annually. Further, since sugar is one of the significant causes of metabolic cells changes that is firmly associated with the initiation and promotion of cancer, this large sugar consumption is not beneficial for cancer rates in the United States.

More, this research indicated that removing it from one’s diet and depriving the cells of sugar could reverse cancer. This is not an extreme concept. However, Americans have been traditionally taught early detection is the most effective means of prevention, which has caused individuals not to focus on their diet, lifestyle, environment. Instead, the importance of spending time, energy, and money on cause-marketing campaigns is heavily marketed, even though research starkly points towards diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

Other Forms of Sugar

Refined sugar is not the only type of sugar people commonly consume since many other foods raise blood glucose levels equal to or greater than sugar.

According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, an average American consumes more than 200 pounds of grain annually, up from 138 pounds in the 1970s [5]. These refined carbohydrates, such as crackers, bread, pasta, and cereal, are types of sugar.

For example, puffed rice will cause an individual’s blood sugar to become sweeter than white sugar since it has a higher glycemic index. Therefore, it may contribute to the promotion of cancerous manifestations more so than pure, refined sugar itself.

Totaling an average American’s sugar consumption and grain consumption, Americans consume an alarming number amount of 352 pounds of sugar annually, since both of these substances can contribute to promoting the ideal metabolic situation of cancer cells.

The Addictive Truth

The primary reason why people eat so much sugar and carbohydrates is that they are highly addictive. Several studies have found that sugar is more addictive than cocaine, so coming off of a high-sugar diet can be challenging [6] [7] [8]. Within minutes of eating sugar or carbs, the body does through a neuroendocrine roller coaster. Because the brain does not want to go more than a couple of minutes without a steady stream of glucose, it will begin to freak out if it is deprived.

The endocrine system, however, does not like a high glucose level in the body because of how sugary-syrup-blood damages protein and lipid structures within the cells. Therefore, the system will release hormones, such as insulin, adrenaline, and cortisol, to bring elevated sugar levels back to normal.

Insulin forces glucose into storage within cells, which promotes fat creation, but sometimes this mechanism is too efficient and brings the glucose level in the brain down too much, which causes the brain to crave additional sugar through the release of cortisol and adrenaline.

Thus, we have a vicious cycle.

This cycle is responsible for the addictiveness of sugar and the insatiable cravings a high-carb and -sugar diet generates. Moreover, this cycle promotes hedonic effects in the brain that modulate dopamine and opioid receptors, as noted by a 2010 study [9]. Several studies have investigated the association between the high-sugar, Western diet and increased cancer rates and observed a positive correlation [10] [11].


Although cancer is a complex, multi-faced phenomenon, with some variables that are out of individual control, there is one thing that can be controlled: what the individual chooses to put into their mouth. Sugar, for example, does not belong in one’s diet if they want to defeat the cancer battle, and it especially does not belong in hospitals. Further, carbohydrates play a vital role in this scenario too because they affect the body just as much as sugar.

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* This article is for informational purposes only. By providing the information herein, Healthmasters and its associates are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any disease or medical condition. Before beginning any natural, integrative, or conventional treatment or regime, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.