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Fructose, Refined Sugars Alter The Brain, Pose Various Health Risks Including Cancer

Apr 25, 2016 12:18 PM EDT
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High fructose corn syrup can be a cause of cancer, study suggests.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

There's a rise in cancer cases, according to studies. Now, various groups link this with the consumption of refined sugar or high-fructose ingredients such as corn syrup.

In an article by Mercola, it is said the rise in the number of cancer cases is linked to obesity and the overconsumption of refined sugars or fructose found in everyday food. They cited a study conducted by the Credit Suisse Research Institute in 2013 which suggested that 40 percent of US healthcare expenditure is "for diseases directly related to the overconsumption of sugar."

Science Daily recently published a study from the University of California, the study says that the consumption of fructose can alter the brain and can cause diseases. Fructose can be found in our day to day food. It is an inexpensive sweetener and sugar alternative made from corn starch. It is a common ingredient in sweetened drinks, corn syrup, honey and in a wide array of desserts.

Based on the study conducted by the University of California, they found that fructose has the capacity to alter genes in the human brain. When it does, it leads to different diseases and conditions, from cardiovascular diseases to Alzheimer's. Other studies even suggest a link to a variety of cancers: colon, rectal, ovarian, and breast cancer.

According to a report by NBC News, consumption of fructose in sugar can increase the growth of cancer cells, especially in breast cancer patients. They published the findings of Cancer Research and quoted Lorenzo Cohen of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, who said, "A lot of patients are told it doesn't matter what you eat after you are diagnosed with cancer. This preliminary animal research suggests that it does matter."

The study highly advised cancer patients to stay away from fructose as it might have properties that nurture cancer cells. They also found out that "fructose affects a metabolic process called 12-LOX. It helps cells metastasize or spread."

It is however undeniable that fructose is found in most sweets and food. It is even found in naturally sweet food. Experts argue however, that the intake of too much fructose, especially in its refined form, poses more risks to a person's health. WHO said a person should not get more than five percent of calories from sugar every day, for both natural and refined sugars including fructose.

Although it is proven that fructose might affect the brain and the health of an individual, researchers from the University of California also found a healthier alternative to fight the fructose effect on the brain genes.

In the same report by Science Daily mentioned above, they said the UCLA researchers said that omega-3 fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, seems to have the capacity to reverse the harmful effect of fructose to the body. "DHA changes not just one or two genes; it seems to push the entire gene pattern back to normal, which is remarkable," said Xia Yang, a senior author of the study and a UCLA assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology.

The brain naturally produces DHA in our brain cells, but not enough to protect us from diseases. The experts said that although DHA can reverse the effect of fructose, it has to be further studied and analyzed. In the meantime, eating less fructose and refined sugar is the better option if you want to stay away from various forms of diseases including cancer.

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