It’s no secret that Americans eat a lot of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Since the 1970's the sweetener has been used in practically every known food product in the Western diet because it is cheaper to produce than table sugar, easy to transport and keeps food moist. But until now there has been little scientific evidence to suggest if it was a “safe” alternative sweetener or some sort of “Franken food” that could adversely impact your health.
But, just how much of this refined sugar do we consume? I mean, really, is it enough to be concerned? Yes. Between 1970 and 1990, the consumption of HFCS in the U.S. has increased more than 1,000 percent, according to an article in the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In 2008, the average American consumed 38 pounds of HFCS according to data published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service. HFCS, primarily made from genetically modified corn, accounts for more than 40 percent of the caloric sweeteners added to our foods and beverages.
Earlier this year, researchers from Princeton University showed that HFCS is largely to blame for the obesity crisis in Western cultures, and a Duke University Medical Center study found that HFCS consumption was associated with liver scarring or fibrosis among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Now, a new study from UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that HFCS drives cell division in cancerous tumors and accelerates the cancer growth. While it's widely known that cancers use glucose, a simple sugar, to fuel their growth, this is the first time a link has been shown between fructose and cancer proliferation.
“The bottom line is the modern diet contains a lot of refined sugar including fructose and it’s a hidden danger implicated in many modern diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver," said Dr. Anthony Heaney, an associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery, and the study's lead researcher.
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