* Study shows fructose used differently from glucose
* Findings challenge common wisdom about sugars
WASHINGTON Aug 2 Pancreatic tumor cells use
fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said on
Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all
sugars are the same.
Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two
sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of
California Los Angeles found.
They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer
Research, may help explain other studies that have linked
fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest
"These findings show that cancer cells can readily
metabolize fructose to increase proliferation," Dr. Anthony
Heaney of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.
"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."
Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high
fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used
in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.
Politicians, regulators, health experts and the industry
have debated whether high fructose corn syrup and other
ingredients have been helping make Americans fatter and less
Too much sugar of any kind not only adds pounds, but is
also a key culprit in diabetes, heart disease and stroke,
according to the American Heart Association.
Several states, including New York and California, have
weighed a tax on sweetened soft drinks to defray the cost of
treating obesity-related diseases such as heart disease,
diabetes and cancer.
The American Beverage Association, whose members include
Coca-Cola (KO.N) and Kraft Foods KFT.N have strongly, and
successfully, opposed efforts to tax soda. [ID:nN12233126]
The industry has also argued that sugar is sugar.
Heaney said his team found otherwise. They grew pancreatic
cancer cells in lab dishes and fed them both glucose and
Tumor cells thrive on sugar but they used the fructose to
proliferate. "Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are
quite different," Heaney's team wrote.
"I think this paper has a lot of public health
implications. Hopefully, at the federal level there will be
some effort to step back on the amount of high fructose corn
syrup in our diets," Heaney said in a statement.
Now the team hopes to develop a drug that might stop tumor
cells from making use of fructose.
U.S. consumption of high fructose corn syrup went up 1,000
percent between 1970 and 1990, researchers reported in 2004 in
the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)