The IndUS Network e-magazine

Frightening Fructose

Does Fructose Promotes Cancer?

Image credit: Skin Cancer Foundation

A recent paper in the Journal of Cancer Research has claimed that pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to proliferate. What does this mean to us? This means that the soft drinks (Coke, Pepsi etc), fruit drinks, candy, cookies, ketchup, salad dressings, cereal bars, frozen dinners and countless other processed foods like sweetened bread has the potential to promote cancer growth. The validity of this research is already questioned by Beverage associations and Fructose associations. When the debate is going on, we want to provide you with awareness on this topic.

Fructose / High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Fructose or fruit sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is 55% fructose and 42% glucose have been aggressively promoted as natural sugars. Up until 20 years ago, they were not commercial sweeteners as they are now.

HFCS is routinely added to processed foods and beverages, bread and a range of other foods.

Corn syrup is a food syrup, which is made from the starch of maize and composed mainly of glucose. Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor. High-fructose corn syrup is created when corn syrup undergoes enzymatic processing that produces a sweeter compound containing higher levels of fructose

Researchers reported in 2004 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that the U.S. consumption of high fructose corn syrup went up 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990,

Even 25 years back fructose did not have a very good reputation. High fructose consumption has been figured as a causative factor in heart disease. It raises blood levels of cholesterol and triglyceride - another type of fat. It makes blood cells more prone to clotting, and accelerate the aging process.

With a high intake of high-fructose corn syrup, people might show signs of a copper deficiency and may need to enhance their copper intake.

Fructose is exclusively metabolized into fat by the liver

Recent work also suggests that fructose influences appetite hormones. A high intake of fructose may blunt satiety and trick you into overeating.

Fructose and Cancer:

It is a widely known that cancer cells use glucose to fuel their growth, recent findings are the first to link fructose to cancer growth.

In this study, the researchers grew pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and fed them both glucose and fructose. Tumor cells thrived on sugar, but they used the fructose to proliferate. Not only did cancer cells prefer fructose, the sugar also triggered cellular activities that enabled malignant cells to use both glucose and fructose more rapidly.

Although, this study was done in pancreatic cancer, the researchers noted that the results may not be unique to that type of cancer.

Fructose in natural foods:

If you eat predominantly natural foods, and avoid large quantities of processed foods, you have little to worry about.

Fructose accounts for only 5 to 7.7 percent of the wet weight of cherries, pears, bananas, grapes, and apples. That's about 5.5 to 8 teaspoons per pound of fresh fruit. There's even less fructose, 2 to 3 percent or roughly 2 to 3 teaspoons per pound in strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, oranges, and grapefruit. Honey, refined by bees, contains 40 percent fructose, but its extreme sweetness deters most people from consuming it in large amounts.

So, beware of processed foods and do examine the labels on food.

Read the Article's abstract in Cancer Research (by clicking on the Journal Cover picture):
"Fructose Induces Transketolase Flux to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Growth"

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Disclaimer: The above content is provided for information and awareness purpose only. It is not prescriptive or suggestive or meant to replaces your qualified physician's advice or consultation.