For years, the food industry has tried to tell us that all sugars are the same...and that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) isn't any worse for you than "real" sugar.
And in a way, they're right.
High-fructose corn syrup and table sugar (or sucrose) are both bad news. They both contain roughly 50 percent fructose. And a new study conducted by researchers from the University of California proves that cancer cells feed off this type of sugar. In fact, according to the new research, cancer cells use fructose to grow, divide, and even metastasize.
And that's a serious concern for most Americans. You see, fructose is everywhere. You'll find it in most sodas, breads, baked goods, and processed foods. You'll even find it in ketchup.
Sugar is far more dangerous than once thought
Dr. Anthony Heaney and his team of scientists fed glucose and fructose to pancreatic cancer cells to see what would happen. (They chose to work with pancreatic cancer cells because it's a notoriously aggressive cancer linked to high intake of high-fructose corn syrup.)
First, the scientists removed pancreatic cancer tumors from patients. Then, they cultured and grew the malignant cells in Petri dishes. Next, they added glucose and fructose to the cells.
They immediately noticed something disturbing about how the cells metabolized fructose. The cancer cells used it to infiltrate the building blocks of healthy DNA. Then the cells began to grow, divide, and spread frantically. In fact, in one interview with BBC, Dr. Heaney stated that the fructose "energized" the cancer cells.
Now, back in the 1920s, scientists proved that glucose promotes the spread of cancer. But this is the first time fructose has been shown to do the same. That makes high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar -- which contain fructose and glucose – twice as bad in my book.
And although the study used pancreatic cancer cells, Heaney believes fructose can cause other types of cancer to grow and spread too. Heaney even worries that fructose may actually cause new cancer to form. He plans to examine that concern in upcoming research.
Make healthy, safe choices
Therefore, my advice is; stay away from processed food that contains any type of sugar. Yes, this week I'm targeting high-fructose corn syrup, but you know I'm wary of any type of sugar, even "regular" sugar. Just visit the NorthStar Nutritionals health blog and search on "sugar" in the search box. You'll find many articles explaining why you should ban all types of sugar from your house. And based on this latest study, avoiding sugar is especially important if you have a history of cancer.
My last word of advice is to take your health into your own hands. Avoid the center aisles of the grocery store. And if you do buy ketchup or bread...just make sure it doesn't contain sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. If you're looking for something sweet to sprinkle in your coffee, try Stevia. It's all-natural and far sweeter than sugar, so you only need a pinch.