Have You Heard What They Say About HFCS? Fructose Promotes Pancreatic Cancer!


Posted on August 10th, 2010. | Posted by Michael Danielson. <!–Michael Danielson–>

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Pancreatic-Cancer-High-Fructose-Intake Some say that the headlines about the fructose in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) causing pancreatic cancer are alarmist and based on poor science. But there’s a deeper story at work here. Not only are there are multiple studies and angles that back up the notion that we should stop eating the corn-based sweetener, but the people supporting the product have a few interesting things in common. // //

The Studies

The article linked above mentions one study that says that cancer cells feed better on fructose than on glucose. The (incorrect) conclusion is that HFCS is more carcinogenic than table sugar. The truth is, it merely feeds cancer more effectively.

Because I know someone will say it: no, high fructose corn syrup is NOT the same as table sugar. Table sugar has almost exactly a 50/50 ratio of fructose to glucose; HFCS is processed to be 55/45 in favor of fructose. Moreover, the fructose in table sugar is attached to a glucose molecule — the fructose in HFCS is unattached, which makes it much more quickly and easily absorbed into the human body. Combine the extra fructose with the fact that it’s digested and used more directly (and via a different chemical mechanism) than the fructose in table sugar, and you get an entirely different beast.

This study by a group at Princeton shows that “male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet.” This study says outright that consumption of HFCS makes you fat, pre-diabetic, and raises your triglyceride and cholesterol counts. “[T]he authors…show nicely that [fat cell creation] in humans is markedly enhanced during chronic exposure to fructose.”

An Important Aside

Before you panic about eating fruit, listen up: fruit’s fructose, like that of table sugar, is bound up in other molecules. It doesn’t digest easily like the fructose in HFCS. But far more importantly, fruit comes with a ton of other nutrients, enzymes, and cofactors — which help your body process the fructose in ways that it can’t do with refined foods like HFCS. Fruit, because it comes with all of the natural ‘packaging’, is fructose in a form your body loves. Processed fructose, whether it’s HFCS, agave syrup, or pure fructose crystals, is in a form your body can’t cope with.

The People

In response to the first article linked above, All247News was blessed with the response of a member of the Corn Refiner’s Association, Shannon McNamara. Ms. McNamara was happy to provide us with several links to groups which denigrated the ‘fear mongers’ who were extolling the sins of high fructose corn syrup, pancreatic-cancer-causing or otherwise. In investigating her links, a striking pattern emerges.

Her first link is to a page published by the American Council on Science and Health. According to SourceWatch.org, “In the latest years for which information is available, some 40 percent of ACSH’s budget was supplied directly by industry, including a long list of food, drug and chemical companies that have a vested interest in supporting [their] message.” She also links to SweetSurprise.com, a website that is known to be paid for entirely by the corn industry.

Her other links, while they might look impressive, all say the same (true) thing: the pancreatic cancer study didn’t target HFCS, it targeted fructose. What they don’t say is that HFCS has more fructose than table sugar and that the fructose in HFCS is more easily absorbed into the body. Maybe they don’t know; maybe they’re paid by the corn industry as well (just less obviously).

In short, the entire debacle about high fructose corn syrup causing pancreatic cancer is a giant smoke-and-mirrors game. The people who get paid by the corn lobby loudly attack those who misstate a study’s result while silently ignoring study after legitimate study that tells everyone what they secretly already know: pancreatic cancer or no, HFCS is bad for you, period.

Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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