If you are a bubble tea lover, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that despite some misconception that excessive intake of sugar can cause cancer, or result in cancers growing faster, there has been no established direct link between sugar and cancer. The bad news on the other hand, is that bubble tea can contain shockingly large quantities of sugar. Excessive intake of sugars may lead to factors that increase the risk of cancer, and is also bad for our health in other ways.
How Much Sugar (and Calories) Does a Cup of Bubble Tea Have?
Imaging going to your favourite kopi-tiam and asking for your kopi “gah dai” with 8 teaspoons of sugar. Not extreme enough? How about asking for 20 teaspoons of sugar? Such quantities may sound ludicrous in this context, but that is the amount of sugar that you might be getting in a 500ml cup of bubble tea (see Channel News Asia report).
20 teaspoons of sugar (approx. 100g) provide 387 calories (empty with no nutritional content). Depending on your gender, age and lifestyle, this can be as much as a quarter of your daily calorie requirements. A lifestyle high in sugar intake can thus lead to excessive weight gain, obesity and diabetes.
The Link Between Sugar and Cancer
The Singapore Cancer Society explains that while cancer cells absorb more sugar than normal cells, there is no scientific evidence that sugar itself worsens cancer. They caution however, that too much sugar intake can cause weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes. These 2 factors in turn, contribute to a higher risk of developing some cancers, such as breast cancer.
Cancer Patients and Nutrition
While the fact that excessive sugar intake can lead to increased risk of cancer might still worry some people, it is important that cancer patients do not get overly worried and cut off intake of carbohydrates from their diet. Excessive weight loss can have serious consequences for cancer patients. It is vital that they maintain sufficient caloric intake to maintain their weight and muscle mass. In earlier articles, we have covered a number of nutritional supplements that cancer patients can consider to help ensure adequate intake of vital nutrients and minerals.
For most of us, we need to be mindful of the amount of sugar we ingest. There is no need to cut ourselves off from the bubble tea that we love, but we will do well to request for (way) less sugar. Once in a while, why not totally switch over to a nice hot cup of green tea instead?
End-Note: Cost of Cancer Treatment in Singapore
1 in 4 people in Singapore could be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. The cost of cancer treatment in Singapore is thus an issue that we ought to be aware and mindful of. We take a look at the expected cancer treatment costs in Singapore in our article here.
Further Reading That May Interest You
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.