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Aug 4, 2010 03:09 PM

One more reason to avoid HFCS

Researchers have found that pancreatic cancer cells proliferate more rapidly when fed fructose as opposed to glucose.

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  1. fructose -- isn't that *the* predominant sugar in fruits? yes!

    """Honey, tree fruits, berries, melons, and some root vegetables contain significant amounts of molecular fructose, usually in combination with glucose, stored in the form of sucrose."" (wiki)

    1. No compute here.

      How does the study imply, much less suggest, that one more reason to avoid HFCS is the increased growth of pancreatic cancer cells?

      The study seems to say that such cancer cells metablish fructose differently than sucrose.

      Ok, no big shock there I suppose.

      But one must remember that both HFCS and refined sugar has fructose -- just in different ratios. HFCS is a 55/45 split of fructose and sucrose while sugar is a 50/50 split.

      Not having read the actual study, I'm guessing the authors did not conclude that the extra 5% of fructose in HFCS was the difference, esp. when sugar also contains a signficant amount of fructose.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        "HFCS is a 55/45 split of fructose and sucrose while sugar is a 50/50 split."

        Ipsedixit, I think you meant to say that HFCS is a 55/45 split of fructose and GLUCOSE. (And the body breaks down table sugar, which is sucrose, into 50% fructose and 50% glucose.)

        In any case, I think that the OP is drawing the wrong conclusion from the cited article. The outcome of the study suggests that patients with pancreatic cancer may need to regulate their intake of fructose or other sugars that the body will turn into fructose. It doesn't say that other people (those who do not have pancreatic cancer) are at risk.

        1. re: cheesemaestro


          Yes, I got my ratios mixed up.

          As to the article, the reuters article jumps to the conclusion that the study vilifies HFCS with respect to pancreatic cancer cells. The study apparently does no such thing. It simply suggests that those cancer cells metabolize fructose in a different manner than it does sucrose. HFCS is neither fructose nor sucrose -- it is a combination of both.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            You still have it wrong. Sucrose (table sugar) is a combination of fructose and glucose.

            Fructose and glucose are monosaccharides. Sucrose is a disaccharide.

            Sucrose's Glycemic index is 50 because exactly half of it (molecularly) is glucose. Glucose's glycemic index is 100 (the standard for GI).

            Here is the wiki article on disaccharides - it explains the bond that makes a dissacharide what it is - something different from two monosaccharides, regardless of ratio. The bond between the components of the disaccharide is weak, nevertheless, it is something that makes it differ from physical mixtures. So saying that there is no difference between HFCS and SUCROSE is not true.


      2. FrankD,

        Interesting article. Although fructose and glucose are monosaccharides, the journal article suggests that fructose undergoes a different metabolic pathway. Fructose actually metabolized into nucleic acids and uric acid. This, in turn, facilitates cancer cell growth. The article then suggests that pancreatic cancer patients should reduce fructose intake. Conversely, a drug which can inhibit this fructose mediate pathway able to inhibit cancer growth.

        1. here is the link to the abstract of the article published by the study's author's in the cancer journal:

          an excerpt:
          >>>""""here, we report that fructose provides an alternative substrate to induce pancreatic cancer cell proliferation. Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different; in comparison with glucose, fructose induces thiamine-dependent transketolase flux and is preferentially metabolized via the nonoxidative pentose phosphate pathway to synthesize nucleic acids and increase uric acid production. These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation. They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth."""<<<<<

          1. FrankD,

            A very interseting article. I went back and skimmed at the research article some more. Very exciting and I learnt much. However, the article does not suggest what Reuters implies. It shows fructose can be used to proliferate pancreactic cancer cells, but so can glucose.

            The in vitro profileration rates of several cancer cell lines are measured by the CTG assay and "proliferative rates were similar in fructose- or glucose-treated cells".

            BrdUrd uptake is measured and "similar BrdUrd uptake was observed in glucose-treated in comparison with fructose-treated pancreatic cancer cells "

            Finally, "FACS showed a similar percentage of cells in S phase in Panc-1 pancreatic cancer cells cultured in 5.5 mmol/L glucose in comparison with cells cultured in 5.5 mmol/L fructose"

            Summarizing the results from the three assays, the authors wrote:
            "pancreatic cancer cells exhibited similar proliferative rates when cultured in equivalent fructose and glucose concentrations."

            Quotes are cited from Liu et. al. on Cancer Research

            Thanks for bringing this article out. It is a nicely controlled study.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Thanks for reporting back on the actual study.

              I am curious (and maybe the study looked at this ... and maybe I should read the study) but did the authors look at whether different ratios of both sucrose and fructose had any effect on the proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells? Or was the study limited to just isolating the effects of sucrose versus fructose?

              Amazing how lay reporters and editors can (un)intentionally gin up headlines to garner eyeballs.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Hi ipsedixit,

                No, the authors only looked at glucose at a range of concentration and fructose at a range of concetration, but not together. I believe the focus of this study is pathyway, so the focus is very much on "only fructose" vs "only glucose".

                Yeah, I definitely got different conclusions when I read the Reuter report vs the original journal article.