• Categories

  • Syndicate

  • Archives


Posted by bmagnus On August - 6 - 2010

There are two schools of thought on sugar. One says that sugar is sugar, period, the end, and it’s only a problem if you consume too much of it. Many people in this camp think that the concerns over high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are overblown (and that much of the research stating otherwise is flawed). There another school of thought that feels that all sugars are not created equal, and many in this camp think that HFCS is particularly dangerous. Science just gave a point to the latter point of view.

From the abstract of the research paper (emphasis added):

Traditionally, glucose and fructose have been considered as interchangeable monosaccharide substrates that are similarly metabolized, and little attention has been given to sugars other than glucose. However, fructose intake has increased dramatically in recent decades and cellular uptake of glucose and fructose uses distinct transporters. Here, we report that fructose provides an alternative substrate to induce pancreatic cancer cell proliferation. Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different; in comparison with glucose, fructose induces thiamine-dependent transketolase flux and is preferentially metabolized via the nonoxidative pentose phosphate pathway to synthesize nucleic acids and increase uric acid production. These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation.

In short, the human body does absolutely treat glucose and fructose differently, and cancer cells — at least pancreatic cancer cells — like fructose better than glucose. Fructose makes cancers grow faster. This is such big news that even some political sites are picking it up, some suggesting that those with cancer or a cancer risk should probably avoid HFCS. In truth, based on the research, cancer patients might be well advised to avoid added sugars in general and perhaps even limit fruit intake in favor of vegetables.

It is true that HFCS is not pure fructose. It’s also true that table sugar, honey, and even fruit contain fructose in addition to glucose — just less fructose that HFCS. However, it is also true that for the typical American on an average “western diet,” the overwhelming majority of the fructose likely to be consumed is in the form of HFCS. It’s in your soft drinks, in your cheap plastic wrapped pastries, in your afternoon pick-me-up candy bar. Corn syrup is even in places you wouldn’t expect it, like pre-made pasta sauce.

Her take: While the study points out that “fructose intake has increased dramatically in recent decades” in the United States, it does not go the one step further to ponder whether this increase might have something to do with the obesity epidemic that has risen at the same time.

Comments are closed.