Does the sugar in fruit feed cancer?
A reader asked me the following question, and I wanted to share my response with you, since many of you may be wondering about this.
QUESTION : “We’re told that cancer feeds on sugar. And there’s a lot of sugar in fruit. Should we avoid eating fruit? Or eat only acid fruits? If there’s sugar in fruit, how come we can eat them even when we have cancer? I hope you can answer, even though this is just a small question, because there are lots of fruit in the summer and I don’t know what to tell my Dad, who has prostate cancer.”
The level of glucose in the blood is increased when fruit is eaten, but much less than in the case of refined sugars or white flour. This is partly because fruit contains fiber and many other components along with fructose (which is the form of sugar contained in fruit and in honey), and these additional components modulate the effect of the fructose. So, for example, although fructose can “make you fat”, it doesn’t increase the level of insulin in the blood, or the level of IGF, the growth hormone that accompanies insulin.
There’s even a pilot study that suggests that men suffering from prostate cancer (non-metastasized, in the case of this study), and who drink half a pint of pomegranate juice (which contains fructose) every morning, manage to slow considerably the progression of their tumor. Another study observed a similar effect in mice grafted with prostate cancer, whose diet contained an equivalent quantity of pomegranate juice. I’m attaching the references of these studies.
1. Pantuck AJ. Phase-II Study of Pomegranate Juice for Men with Prostate Cancer and Increasing PSA. In: American Urological Association Annual Meeting. San Antonio, TX 2005. 2. Malik A. Pomegranate fruit juice for chemoprevention and chemotherapy of prostate cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2005.