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My wife has ovarian cancer. A nutritionist advised not eating fresh fruits since they contain sugar and sugar is considered a “cancer feeder”. Fruit supplements were recommended as a substitute. My wife loves fruit. Are there any fruits that have sugar content low enough to not be problematic for her?

I am not aware of any recommendation to reduce fruit intake for patients with cancer. While fruits do contain sugar, they also contain a whole array of nutrients that may be tremendously beneficial, and whole foods are a much better choice than supplements. (All our cells use sugar as a source of energy, and our body makes sugar from many foods we eat.) I suggest that your wife enjoy her fruits and vegetables. Click here to see how many servings are recommended each day. You might find it helpful to visit the websites of the American Institute of Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society for current recommendations, nutrition information and support groups.

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  1. My sister had ovarian cancer and her doctor also told her stay away from RAW fruits and vegetables. This was not because of sugar. It was because as a cancer patient her immune system was compromised during her chemo treatment.

    Because raw fruits and vegetables can still contain bacteria even after washing, many oncologists recommend their patients not eat them because of the possibility they could develop an infection that the average person not in chemo could easily fight off but could end up being life threatening for a chemo patient.

    My sister’s solution was to eat frozen fruit.

    To the individual that answered this question – you might want to do a bit more research before you make suggests for patients with cancer – while the nutritionist who spoke to this man was incorrect – you need to know the bigger picture.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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