When you open up your fridge to grab a drink, you should think twice about reaching for one that’s sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. A recently released study published in Science indicates a connection in a high rate of colon cancer growth with the consumption of even small amounts of high-fructose corn syrup consumed daily. Although the study was conducted in mice and needs more research on the correlation to humans, the findings are pretty compelling.
How Was The Study Conducted?
The researchers studied a group of mice who had a particular gene deleted that predisposes them to colon cancer, mirroring that in humans, where this particular gene is found in more than 90 percent of colon cancer patients. The mice were then given water, some without sweeteners and others sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. While observing the mice, it was evident that the ones given the sweetened water grew much larger colon cancer tumors at a much higher rate than the mice who were given the unsweetened water. Although colon cancer has already been linked to obesity and diet choices in both mice and humans, these results were shown even in the mice who aren’t overweight.
What Is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
High-fructose corn syrup is an artificial sugar that is made out of corn syrup. The fructose in high-fructose corn syrup can be challenging for your body to handle properly and it is easily converted to fat when you have too much of it. That fat can then lead to increased instances of obesity and diabetes, which also lead to higher cases of serious diseases like cancer. It contains no essential nutrients, meaning that calories consumed from this ingredient are empty.
What Foods Contain High-Fructose Corn Syrup?
High-fructose corn syrup is found in most food and beverage products that contain added sugar. Some of the biggest culprits of this ingredient include soda, candy, sweetened yogurt, salad dressings, some bread, canned fruit, juice, granola bars, some cereal, sauces and condiments, snack foods, energy drinks, jelly, and ice cream. As is evident by this list, high-fructose corn syrup is everywhere and can be difficult to avoid. While it’s not necessarily recommended, or practical, to rid your diet completely of the ingredient, there are a lot easy substitutes you can make for some of your favorite snack foods to reduce your consumption.
Instead of soda, go for naturally-flavored sparkling water, instead of flavored yogurt, try plain yogurt with added whole fruit and vanilla extract, and you can even learn to make your own salad dressings using oil and vinegar. By monitoring your intake of high-fructose corn syrup, you’re likely to see an improvement in digestion as well as seeing the numbers on the scale go down.
If you have any questions about how diet affects your GI system and what sort of precautions you should take when eating or drinking products with high-fructose corn syrup in it, ask Dr. Sameer Islam at your next appointment.