It is no secret that sugar is bad for you, but things are really getting scary with this latest study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas which concluded a diet high in sugar increases risks of breast tumors, as well as the chance of those tumors spreading to the lungs.
Sugar has already been associated with a number of medical problems, usually concerning people’s weight and chances of developing diabetes, but according to this latest study, increased sugar intake which we are seeing in the Western diet is potentially much more harmful. Namely, it can directly increase the chances of developing certain types of cancer, most noticeable breast cancer, as well as chances of those cancers spreading to other tissues, such as lung tissues for example.
The National Institutes for Health funded the study that was conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. This was the first study of its kind – identifying and categorizing the direct effects of sugar consumption on breast cancer development.
The study was conducted using lab rats which had been genetically modified for breast cancer research and then separated into 4 different groups. Depending on the group they ended up in, the mice were fed four different types of diet, each involving different amounts of sugar.
After six months, the researchers looked at the mice and they discovered something truly terrifying. Namely, the group that ate a diet with relative amounts of sugar that would correspond to the typical Western diet showed an increased number of tumors and their spread to the lungs than mice which were fed a diet lower in sugar content.
They did not leave it at that, as they looked at mechanisms which would explain this. They concluded that eating higher levels of sugar caused an increase in the enzyme 12-LOX and its metabolite 12-HETE, believed to contribute to cancer growth and spread. They also concluded that fructose, commonly found in food products in the U.S. is particularly “effective” at increasing 12-HETE levels.
The research team has for a long time been adamant that breast cancer risk factors are a public health priority and this study is definitely something that should be seriously considered by law makers and public service professionals as one of the reasons for recommending a diet much lower in sugars than the one U.S. public eats. This is especially important since the U.S. general public is eating more and more sugar.