Virtually all cancers show metabolic changes that result in upregulation of glycolysis and glucose consumption. Although discovered in the 1920s, how this glycolytic switch happens, and whether it is a cause or a consequence of the malignant process, has remained a matter of debate. The p53 tumor suppressor gene, discovered some 30 years ago, has a key role in preventing cancer development. Recent discoveries revealing new functions for p53 in the regulation of glucose metabolism and oxidative stress have brought together these two venerable fields of cancer biology. These activities of p53 appear to be key in tumor suppression, and shed some light on the pathways that underlie the metabolic changes in cancer cells.