Little-known cancer risk: high fructose content in drinks with corn syrup

Little-known cancer risk: high fructose content in drinks with corn syrup

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How does regular consumption of sugar and corn syrup affect cancer?

The results of a recent study show that the sugar ingested appears to directly promote cancer growth. The daily consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks seems to increase the growth of intestinal tumors.

An investigation by the Baylor College of Medicine found that even small amounts of corn syrup or the consumption of sugary drinks promote the growth of intestinal tumors in mice. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Science".

As little as 0.35 liters of lemonade per day can increase the risk of colon cancer

If mice ingested modest amounts of high fructose corn syrup daily, the equivalent of people who drink about twelve ounces (about 0.35 liters) of a sugar-sweetened drink daily, the study resulted in growth was accelerated by intestinal tumors in mouse models, regardless of existing obesity. The research team also discovered in the study the mechanism by which consumption of sugary drinks can directly promote cancer growth, suggesting potential new therapeutic strategies.

Obesity increases the risk of many types of cancer

A growing number of observational studies have raised awareness of the link between the consumption of sugary drinks, obesity and the risk of colon cancer. The current notion is that sugar is primarily harmful to our health because consuming too much sugar can lead to obesity. Obesity is known to increase the risk of many cancers (including colon cancer). However, it was unclear whether there is a direct and causal relationship.

The APC gene was removed from mice

First, the researchers created a mouse model for early-stage colorectal cancer in which the APC gene was removed. The APC gene is important for the development of colorectal cancer. Removing this protein meant that normal gut cells would not stop growing and would not die. This is how early-stage tumors form, which are referred to as polyps. More than 90 percent of colorectal cancer patients have this type of APC mutation.

Corn syrup is the main sweetener of sugary drinks

The sweetened water consisted of 25 percent fructose in the form of corn syrup, the main sweetener of the sugary drinks that are consumed by humans. Corn syrup with a high fructose content consists of 45:55 glucose and fructose. When the researchers provided the sugar-containing drink in a water bottle so that the mice could drink with a modified APC gene at will, the animals gained weight very quickly within a month. In order to simulate the daily consumption of a can of lemonade without gaining weight in humans, the researchers instead gave the mice moderately sugary water once a day with a special syringe.

Mice developed larger tumors after just two months

After two months, the mice with a modified APC gene that received water containing sugar did not become obese, but developed tumors that were larger and of a higher degree than tumors in mice that only consumed normal water. These results indicate that when the animals are in the early stages of developing tumors in the intestine, moderate amounts of corn syrup with a high level of fructose in liquid form promote tumor growth, whether or not obesity is present.

More research is needed

However, more research is needed to transfer this discovery to humans. However, the results of the animal models suggest that regular consumption of sugary drinks can shorten the development time for cancer. In humans, colon cancer usually takes 20 to 30 years to develop from benign early tumors to aggressive cancers. This observation in animal models could explain why the increased consumption of sweet drinks and other foods with a high sugar content in the past 30 years correlates with an increase in colorectal cancer in the US between 25 and 50 years of age.

Why does sugar increase the risk of cancer?

The team then examined the mechanism by which the sugar promotes tumor growth. They discovered that the mice with a modified APC gene received the corn syrup with a high fructose content and had large amounts of fructose in the large intestine. Sugary drinks increase fructose and glucose levels in the colon and blood. Tumors were able to efficiently absorb fructose and glucose in different ways. First, the fructose ingested was chemically modified. This made it possible to efficiently promote the production of fatty acids, which ultimately contributes to tumor growth, the researchers explain. Most previous studies used either glucose or fructose. However, the researchers were of the opinion that this approach does not reflect the actual consumption of sugary drinks, since neither drinks nor foods contain only glucose or fructose. The results suggest that the role of fructose in tumors is to increase glucose function in the control of fatty acid synthesis. (as)

Author and source information

Video: EX: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Brain Dopamine.. and Binge Eating? (September 2022).


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