If you have cancer, should you avoid sugar?

It’s a common misconception that people with cancer should avoid all sugar.

In reality, sugar is naturally found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy foods. These foods break down into glucose and offer beneficial nutrients to everyone.

Added sugars are what you should avoid. These sweeteners are added to food during processing. They don’t contain nutrients with essential vitamins and minerals, only empty calories. A diet high in added sugar can lead to excessive weight gain, obesity and ultimately an increased risk for many types of cancer.

So, how much added sugar is okay to eat?

Women should aim to consume around six teaspoons of added sugar per day, and men should aim for no more than nine teaspoons of added sugar per day.

Wondering how to limit your intake of added sugars? You can start by:

  • Drinking water or unsweetened coffee/tea instead of sodas.
  • Choosing beverages like low-fat milk or 100 percent fruit juice that help you meet your dairy and fruit group daily intake recommendations.
  • Choosing fruit as a naturally sweet snack instead of foods with added sugars.
  • Making sweet desserts a “once-in-a-while” treat and eating smaller portions.
  • Sticking with packaged foods with little to no added sugars like plain yogurt, unsweetened applesauce and frozen fruit with no added sugar or syrups.

Check out this recipe — there is no added sugar, but it’s sure to satisfy the strongest sweet tooth.

Homemade Strawberry Creamsicle


  • 12 medium (1-1/4″ diameter) – strawberries.
  • 1 cup – Greek yogurt, plain.


  1. Blend strawberries into a puree.
  2. Layer yogurt and strawberry puree into popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze until hard.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe from Super Healthy Kids.

Next Steps:

Join us for a cooking demonstration with Wild Thyme!

Join us for a free cooking demonstration Allison Davis of Wild Thyme! Participants will learn how to cook with different flavors and spices from all over the world.

Patients, families and the public are all welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Siddhi Shroff by calling 859-323-4769 or via email at siddhi.shroff@uky.edu.

When: Monday, August 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Where: Markey Cancer Center, Whitney Hendrickson Building, 1st Floor Lobby, 800 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40536

Parking: Parking available in the Markey Cancer Center visitor lot.