Every sweet-tooth has their favorite fix when it comes to sugar, but it turns out we aren’t the only ones who favor one kind of sweetener over another: recent research reveals that cancer cells thrive most off of fructose.
Scientists at the University of California Los Angeles found that fructose-fed pancreatic cancer cells divided and proliferated with much greater intensity than their glucose-fed counterparts. This discovery, published in the journal Cancer Research, offers and explanation to the link other studies have found between pancreatic cancer and fructose intake.
While science has long recognized the connection between sugar consumption and cancer growth, this new finding reveals that not all sweeteners are made equal. Unfortunately, cancer’s favorite sweetener is also our own.
Fructose makes the majority of its appearances as high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener used in candy, soft drinks, breads, cereals, and a variety of other foods. Health experts have warned consumers against high fructose corn syrup for quite some time, and even politicians and health regulators have expressed concern over the sweetener’s role Americans’ increasing health and obesity issues.
While sugar of all types has been linked to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, U.S. high fructose corn syrup consumption increased 1,000% between 1970 and 1990—and has only continued to escalate—making it the most common sweetener in food products today.
In order to help pay for programs addressing the obesity-related diseases resultant from high fructose-rich soft drinks, states such as New York and California have levied a tax on sweetened soda. Attempts were made to establish a Federal soda tax, but opposition from the American Beverage association (whose members include Coca-Cola and Kraft Food) squelched the initiative.
Nonetheless, the researchers at University of California Los Angeles hope their findings will encourage governmental action towards diminishing high fructose corn syrup use, paving the way for a healthier future for our nation.
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