What is the truth regarding sugar intake as a myeloma patient? Is it okay? Should it be limited? Or, should it be completely avoided? Myeloma experts Tiffany Richards and Dr. Robert Orlowski from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center discuss what dietary changes are recommended to live well with a myeloma condition and how treatments interact with certain foods, especially sugar.
Just Follow a Good Diet
Myeloma expert Tiffany Richards understand how difficult it can be to completely eliminate sugar, so she doesn't recommend it. In her own words, she said:
"I don’t usually tell patients to totally avoid sugar, because I think that's an impossible task. For me, at least, I would never be able to do that. But everything is in moderation. So just like what type of diet your doctor would've been telling you to follow prior to your diagnosis, to do that. Try to minimize your weight gain as much as you can, eating fresh fruits and vegetables. And just eating a healthy, good diet is really, really important." - Tiffany Richards
Should I Avoid Sugar Altogether?
A common question that Dr. Orlowski faces, is when patients ask "Should I avoid sugar altogether?" He goes on to explain that obviously, cancer relies on sugar for energy. But, that doesn't mean patients need to completely eliminate it from their diet. Even if a myeloma patient were able to completely eliminate sugar, their brain and kidney are still dependent on sugar for energy. Without sugar, our body will start to convert fat and protein into sugar - but intaking low levels of sugar can be good for the body. Dr. Orlowski feels that it's important for patients just to follow a healthy diet.
"One should minimize weight gain and focus on consuming health choices, such as fresh fruit and vegetables." - Dr. Robert Orlowski
Although every patient is different, the overall agreement is to eat in moderation, follow a healthy diet, and if possible, exercise daily. Many studies show how beneficial these tips can be to a myeloma patient.
from Patient Power on Vimeo.
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Myeloma Crowd Editorial Contributor, Nursing student, and cancer advocate.