If you’re an ordinary soda drinker, or, you enjoy any kind of beverage with a lot of sugar in it, you’re probably not going to like what you’re about to read.
Recent research indicates the consumption of sugary beverages may accelerate tumor growth in those suffering from colorectal cancer.
While the study was conducted with mice as subjects, the researcher’s reason that due to the similarity in tumor makeup, the results should give cause for concern to anyone who may have a normal habit of drinking highly sugary beverages.
The study is available in the journal Science.
How High-Fructose Corn Syrup Ignites Rapid Cancer Growth
In the study, researchers fed mice a solution of 25-percent high-fructose corn syrup, as it’s most similar to the kind of sweetener found in soft drinks.
All the mice who were given the mixture had early stage development of colorectal cancer. In addition to having early-stage colorectal cancer, all the mice had a gene called the Apc gene deleted which helps mimic a mutation that characterizes fast-growing colon cancer in humans.
More than 90% of humans with colorectal cancer have this gene mutation, in which the cells of the intestines don’t stop growing and don’t die.
Head researcher Jihye Yun said this of the mutation:
“APC is a gatekeeper in colorectal cancer,” says Yun. “Deleting this protein is like removing the breaks of a car. Without it, normal intestinal cells neither stop growing nor die, forming early-stage tumors called polyps,”
At the beginning of the study, all the mice were allowed to drink the 25% high-fructose corn syrup mixture whenever they wanted. Because of unfettered access to the drink, many of the mice put on an enormous amount of weight in a few weeks.
There are strong connections between obesity and colorectal cancer as well, so the researchers wanted to see if sugar itself would fuel cancer growth.
“To determine whether or not the corn syrup would boost cancer growth independently of obesity, the team then decided to administer the sugary drink in a way that would allow the mice to ingest it without putting on weight. So, the researchers gave the mice the sugary drink orally through a specially designed syringe once a day for 2 months.
Following this 2-month intervention, the investigators observed that the rodents had not put on too much weight, but they had indeed developed larger, more advanced tumors than the rodents who had only received water.
“These results suggest that when the animals have an early stage of tumors in the intestines — which can occur in many young adult humans by chance and without notice — consuming even modest amounts of high-fructose corn syrup in liquid form can boost tumor growth and progression independently of obesity,” Yun points out.
“Further research is needed to translate these discovery to people,” she admits, though she goes on to add that, “however, our findings in animal models suggest that chronic consumption of sugary drinks can shorten the time it takes cancer to develop.”
“In humans, it usually takes 20 to 30 years for colorectal cancer to grow from early-stage benign tumors to aggressive cancers,” says Yun.