by J.D. Heyes
November 23, 2012
Not only is sugar the
primary source of excess calories in the United States, but the
latest research also shows that cancer cells lap up
corn syrup, adding yet another reason to avoid it.
A couple of years ago, researchers from the University of
California-Los Angeles found that pancreatic tumor cells use
fructose to divide and reproduce, debunking earlier assumptions that
all sugars were the same.
Tumor cells that were fed glucose and fructose used those sugars in
two different ways, the research team said.
significance for cancer patients'
Their findings, which were published in the journal Cancer Research,
could help explain earlier studies that have linked ingestion of
fructose with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the
"These findings show
that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase
proliferation," Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA's Johnson Cancer
Center and colleagues wrote in 2010.
"They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary
refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to
reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated
actions may disrupt cancer growth," he said.
Americans, much more
than people in most other industrialized nations, consume an
incredible amount of fructose, mainly high fructose corn syrup,
which is a mix of fructose and glucose used largely in sodas, bread
and a host of other processed foods.
Incredibly, there is still no consensus among politicians, industry
experts and some healthcare specialists over whether high fructose
corn syrup and other sugary ingredients increase the nation's
collective belt line (though readers and most
reasonable people who don't grow corn for a living already know the
answer to that "debate").
That's likely why there
hasn't been more public education about the consequences of
consuming fructose-heavy, processed foods.
thrive on all sugars
That said, some groups know the truth and have tried to speak it
The American Heart Association, for example, says too much
sugar of any kind will not only bust your belt but increase your
risk of heart disease and stroke.
And a number of states, including New York and California, have
considered levying a tax on sugary sodas to help pay for patients
suffering from obesity-related diseases and who are covered under
government health insurance programs. But these taxes have been
successfully opposed, for the most part, with the help of millions
of dollars in lobbying money from interest groups who say sugar is
Heaney's team found otherwise, Reuters reported. During trials, they
grew pancreatic cancer cells and fed them both glucose and fructose.
The tumor cells thrived on both kinds of sugars but proliferated
fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different," the team
"I think this paper has a lot of public health implications.
Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to
step back on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our
diets," Heaney said in a statement.
Consumption of high
fructose grew rapidly in the U.S. - by 1,000 percent - between 1970
and 1990, about the time the obesity epidemic began in earnest.
disease linked to sugary diets
High fructose corn syrup has also been linked to other medical
conditions and diseases:
A diet high in
corn syrup causes the body to produce excess uric acid,
which worsens gout - a condition caused by high levels of
uric acid - according to a study published in the March 2012
Journal of Nutrition.
the Duke University in North Carolina said high fructose
consumption can worsen non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by
"depleting their store of critically important molecules
called ATP, which provide liver cells (and other body cells)
energy for important cellular processes, including
metabolism," Science Daily reported.
published in the Journal of Nephrology found that ingestion
of "dietary fructose" worsens kidney disease by inhibiting
intestinal calcium absorption and inducing vitamin D