Excess sugar consumption has been linked to breast cancer, in a recent study featured on January 1 in the journal Cancer Research.
Four randomized controlled studies involving laboratory mice were conducted by a team of experts led by Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, at the Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
During the experiments, funded by the National Institutes of Health, four groups of animals were assigned to different types of daily diets, providing them with various amounts of fructose and sucrose, two different types of sugars.
It was determined that by the time they had turned 6 months, between 50 and 58% of all the rodents that had consumed high quantities of sucrose (up to 37 teaspoons per day) had eventually been diagnosed with malignant tumors affecting their mammary glands.
In contrast, less than a third of those which had eaten other carbohydrates such as starches instead had developed this type of carcinoma.
Another aspect revealed by the trials was that mice with an overly high intake of fructose or sucrose had a much higher likelihood of their cancer spreading to the lungs as well, thus causing a disease which is usually curable if detected early to become much more aggressive and harder to counter.
As explained by Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, refined sucrose (commonly known as table sugar) as well as sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are associated with an excessive release of 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (12-HETE) and arachidonate 12-lipxygenase (12-LOX).
The overexpression of these 2 compounds encourages uncontrollable cellular division, leading to the emergence of cancerous tissues, and increasing the risk of metastasis.
According to study co-author Peiyang Yang, assistant professor of Integrative Medicine Research, the danger is especially high for those who consume excessive amounts of sugar, as part of a Western dietary pattern, which also favors fatty foods, red meat and processed grains.
The findings aren’t entirely unexpected, sine prior studies had also suggested that diets rich in sugar make inflammation more likely throughout the body, thus elevating the possibility that cells will mutate and become cancerous.
For instance, as revealed by the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, unregulated consumption of meals with high glycemic index has been correlated with a 26% higher likelihood of suffering from prostate cancer, with a 44% greater susceptibility to rectal cancer, and with a 41% more elevated probability of developing pancreatic cancer.
However, since a clear cause and effect relationship hasn’t been identified yet between sugar and malignant neoplasm growth, study authors believe more research should be carried out, before this hypothesis can be proven correct.
This doesn’t mean that sugar consumption should persist unabated: currently, as the United States Department of Agriculture has revealed, the amount of refined sugar consumed by the average American on an annual basis is of a staggering 150 to 170 pounds.
Such propensity for sugary treats has been proven to be one of the factors leading to ubiquitous, lifestyle-related diseases, such as obesity and cardiovascular problems.
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