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Best Sources of Carbohydrates for Cancer Patients

This article discusses the best sources of carbohydrates for cancer patients. Cancer is causing so many deaths around the world today. The number of new cancer cases in 2021 has already exceeded 19 million worldwide. The disease is more common and invasive than any other today. There are many types of treatments in medicine, each with different side effects and limitations and different cancer treatments.

One of the factors affecting recovery from cancer is nutrition. Let’s discuss whether carbohydrates for cancer patients can be a good candidate for nutrition during treatment. If carb should be avoided or incorporated. We will briefly delve into this topic.

Cancer: overview

Cancer is the controlled growth of the cells in any particular part of the body. These cells don’t undergo apoptosis (natural death of cells during the growth and development of any organisms). These cells become immortal in a way. These cancer cells may migrate to nearby body parts too, leading to the spread of cancer to other organs known as metastasis. 

Cancer cells put huge duress on the body in terms of nutrition. The cancer cells rob the healthy cells of nutrients and kill them in this process. The body needs to repair and rebuild, hence the need for nutrition. Your glucose requirement may increase by 40 times. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body and is a kind of carbohydrate.

Even if you are undergoing cancer treatment, you are going to require proper and extra nutrient-packed food. All of these treatments put tremendous pressure on the body. During these processes, not only the cancer cells but the healthy cells are affected too. The best sources of carbohydrates for cancer patients become a necessity. You can lose a lot of healthy cells along with cancerous cells. So, the body needs to repair and build itself again. It has to replace the lost healthy cells with new ones. All of this means you need a carefully designed meal having all the essential nutrients to give energy and strength.

Carbohydrates and cancer

Carbohydrates are like energy packets for our bodies. Our body needs the energy to carry out every single activity. Even if you are lying down, you still need energy. In fact, you require energy just to stay alive. They form around 45 to 60 percent of our daily energy needs in the form of calories.

In our body energy is obtained by burning carbohydrates and other nutrients. But carbohydrates for cancer patients are the most common and important source of energy. It is the fuel our body needs for the proper functioning of the organs and every physical activity ranging from walking to moving your hands.

As said earlier, cancer can alarmingly increase one’s need for energy and nutrients. In wake of that, carbohydrates can be a good source of energy for any individual to meet daily energy requirements.

Should you choose a no-carb diet?

If you are choosing to exclude carbohydrates from your diet, then you would be missing out on this rich source of energy. In short, you would be depriving yourself of this excellent fuel for your body. You might think of replacing carbs with protein as it is the building block of cells. Protein is needed for cell repair and recovery. But a proper amount of carbohydrates can help you with your energy requirements. It can also help you with managing a healthy weight if taken in the proper amount.

Cutting on carbohydrates for cancer patients won’t help in the long run and ultimately they may have to include some carbs on the plate. The best way to nourish your body is a healthy diet rather than dieting with no carbs.

Sources of carbohydrates for cancer patients

There are many rich sources of carbs that are easily available. Carbs are naturally occurring nutrients. There are three types of carbs found in nature, i.e, fibres, starch, and sugars. Fibres are complex carbs that don’t yield energy or can be digested but make roughage needed for proper bowel movements. Starch is also a complex carb but can be broken down into simple sugars. Sugars are simple carbs that can be readily stored or used by our bodies.

Carbohydrates for cancer patients should make up to 50 percent of the meal. You should take healthy carbohydrates which are dense in nutrients and high in fiber content. Try to avoid high sugar products whose nutritional value is low. Don’t opt for processed or ready-to-eat foods even if they are rich in carbohydrates. Put a limit on your added sugar intake. Women shouldn’t take more than 6 teaspoons of sugar while men should not take more than 9 teaspoons of sugar.

Welcome variety: include a variety of carbohydrate products in your diet to get the most out of the carbs. Always go for low-fat dairy products.

Choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, or products like whole wheat bread, etc. Load your meal with fruits and vegetables like apples, squash, carrots, grapes, bananas, potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, peas, pear, beans, nuts, etc. Fruits are the best and most healthy way to incorporate carbs into your diet. They are not only rich in healthy carbs but with tons of vitamins and minerals which help you to fight cancer.

Summing up

Carbs are important nutrients just like protein. These are energy banks or fuels for our bodies. A healthy diet should have 50 percent carbs. Cutting on carbs will not help you in the long run for sure. You should add nutrient-rich carbs to your life. Having a healthy diet full of varieties of food will help your body to get all the nutrients. 


  1. https://ubiqare.in/food-for-cancer-patients-things-to-know/
  2. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/carbs-101.h28Z1590624.html#:~:text=Get%20the%20most%20out%20of%20your%20carbohydrates&text=Incorporate%20a%20variety%20of%20whole,Choose%20low%2Dfat%20dairy%20products.
  3. https://www.dana-farber.org/for-patients-and-families/care-and-treatment/support-services-and-amenities/nutrition-services/faqs/sugar-and-cancer/


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