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“Obesity is a cause of cancer” – Really???

Cancer UK Obesity campaign - crossed out

When the posters and the advertising campaign “Obesity is a cause of cancer” from Cancer UK came out back in April 2018, I was deep in finishing up writing my 3rd book. And so this ‘blog post stayed firmly in my head, there wasn’t the space to let it out into the world…

However, I’ve recently seen the campaign start up again, and this time, I’m very ready to talk about it!  I want to dig into how very wrong their statement is…

Whilst the science and physiology about fat cells that Cancer UK talk about is true (body fat is a very active substance indeed!), the science does not support the observation that obesity causes cancer. What it does support is a strong correlation between cancer and obesity.

You can be thin as a rail and get cancer or fat as a house and not. However, what the stats do show that you have a much higher chance of getting cancer if you are also obese. This is called correlation. And, as any science geek will tell you, correlation is not causation.

Correlation implies that there is an underlying factor for both issues, not that one causes the other. Meaning that “Obesity is a cause of cancer” is a totally false statement.

For the “big 6”, Obesity usually appears first, then (in alphabetical order) Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Chronic Heart Disease, Diabetes and Dyslipidemia (high LDL cholesterol) follow along later.

So, I can see how the science can be twisted/simplified to say that obesity causes cancer. However, the real question is:

What causes obesity?

The campaign states that Obesity is the number two preventable cause of cancer after smoking. This implies that if you got fat eating on “healthy eating advice” and then get cancer it’s your own fault for getting fat. Which is one reason why this campaign really pissed me off!

Why? Because I know that getting fat is not our fault, it’s the fault of what we are told is healthy for us to eat. The huge amounts of starch that we are told to eat because fat is the enemy. Which has a knock on into how much added sugar we eat, because removing fat makes our food tasteless.

That, and generally not eating at all, makes us constantly hungry. This then fills us with low-level anger, sadness and hate (all to often leading to depression) at our bodies for not being skinny when it should be because we are starving it all the time.

Obesity is a cause of cancer? No, Sugar is the cause of both obesity and cancer.

If you are here and have had a read of my website already, you already know that I’m a huge advocate of a low carb way of life to regain both health and an optimal body. (And if you haven’t yet, the name of my site is a dead give away eh?)

I agree with Cancer UK, obesity is totally preventable, and dropping the fat from our bodies will massively lower our cancer risk – However, both of these things are achieved by not eating sugar and also refined white carbohydrates, which turn to sugar in our bodies.

Our bodies form fat from glucose and fructose, not from consumed fat.

The current “healthy eating philosophy” based around carbohydrate wants to blame obesity and thus the fat person for their other health problems, but obesity is merely the first symptom in the chain.

That obesity is the first symptom and not the cause is I feel proof of just how broken the system around how we get our information about food and the current dietary advice is.

So, I say, look at the poster, and in your head re-write it:

“S_G_R is the cause of cancer”

Obesity is a cause of cancer - campaign graphic fixed!

There, campaign all fixed! 


  1. billcoton says:

    I would think that Cancer UK is an authority figure when it comes to cancer, but the authority figures sometimes get it wrong, take the government recommendations on what we should eat, for years we have been told to stay away from fat and eat more grains.

    And because of that we have a worldwide epidemic of people over weight, there have been a lot of programmes on television relating to weight and health (in the UK I can’t speak for other countries), but has it made a difference I would say NO.

    Now if this campaign scares people into taking action then would that not be a good thing?

    Five people I have known who have died of cancer only one of them was over weight and she was a smoker, all the others were thin and out of them one never smoked in his life, he was a runner and always looked after himself.

  2. Nikki says:

    It will scare them into action yes – but only into doing more of the things (cut fat, eat more starch, feel hungry, eat sugar to feel better, feel guilt, repeat ad nauseum) that make us sick and miserable rather than actually taking the action to cut the sugar and refined carbs that will make solving the problem easier.

    Apart from anything, Cancer cells feed exclusively on Glucose and Fructose, they cannot use Ketones. So, by drastically reducing the input of Sugar, Fruit, Fruit juices and Refined Carbs, the body simply starves out the cancer. No drugs, no (or much less) life endangering chemo, and no suffering required.

    Your last point also touches on the next blog post I want to write, on how the upswing in consumption of Omega 6 rich oils suppresses the immune system, allowing cancer to take hold, so that sugar can then feed it and it grows…

    Professor Noakes was a top flight distance runner, he was considered the authority on the “High Carb athletic diet”, until he actually looked at it closer, and recanted his previous thinking. Mark Sisson was also a top athlete, who came to that same conclusion – the carbs were killing him.

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