Respectful Insolence

Fructose and pancreatic cancer

ResearchBlogging.orgI hate science press releases.

Well, not exactly. I hate science press releases that hype a study beyond its importance. I hate it even more when the investigators who published the study make statements not justified by the study and use the study as a jumping off point to speculate wildly. True, it’s not always the fault of the investigators, particularly if they don’t have much experience dealing with the press, but all too often scientists fall prey to the tendency to gab glibly and give the reporter what he or she wants: Pithy, juicy quotes that relate the results to what the reporter wants them related to. It’s irritating as hell, not so much because it’s pure self-promotion. (After all, self-promotion is not in and of itself a bad thing) but rather because it’s almost inevitably an excuse for the investigators to say what they want without peer pesky peer reviewers telling them that they should keep their remarks focused on what the evidence will support. Often these press releases lead to credulous news stories that make conclusions that aren’t justified from the actual study. Sometimes an investigators’ comments are taken out of context. Sometimes the investigator says something dumb. Sometimes it’s all three.

There’s a certain Reuters story entitled Cancer cells slurp up fructose, U.S. study finds making the rounds, and it’s being represented as yet more evidence about the evils of high fructose corn syrup. That it might be viewed as a few years in the future, after followup studies have been done, but for right now all it is is an intriguing study being used to serve an agenda that it doesn’t serve well:

WASHINGTON–Pancreatic tumour cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.

Tumour 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 cancer types.

“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.”

Just from this description it actually sounds like a rather interesting study, but right away I don’t like the implications being ascribed to its results. They’re way premature. You’ll see what I mean in a minute. First, let’s see what Dr. Heaney says:

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 fructose.

Tumour 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.

Oh, nooooo! Bad move. Way premature.

Dr. Heany appears to be implying that high fructose corn syrum causes pancreatic cancer or somehow makes it worse and that this paper has major public health implications when it comes to cancer. It does not, at least not yet. It’s possible the findings that spring out of subsequent studies spawned by this paper might have public health implications, but this paper alone is not enough to make such a bold statement. Fortunately, Heany at least has some interesting and potentially important observations to report. Unfortunately, as I guessed when I read just the news story, this study only looks at pancreatic cells in culture. On that basis alone, I would chastise Dr. Heaney for making such policy statements. There may or may not be legitimate science-based reasons to regulate the content of high fructose corn syrup in food and beverages based on their health effects, but this is nothing more than a study in which the effects of fructose were compared to glucose on pancreatic cancer cell metabolism. He didn’t even include animal studies to show something like, for example, that a high fructose diet in mice would accelerate the growth of pancreatic cancer. There’s nothing of the sort in this paper. It’s all cell culture. So while it’s an interesting study, it is not particularly strong evidence that high fructose corn syrup leads to pancreatic cancer.

Because it’s a scientifically intriguing study, even in spite of my annoyance with the way it was reported, I thought I’d go straight to the source and look up the actual article in Cancer Research, entitled Fructose Induces Transketolase Flux to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Growth. Before I get into the discussion of the paper, I thin it’s worth reiterating that common table sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide consisting of one fructose molecule and one glucose molecule bound together, or, to put it more simply, a larger sugar made of two simple sugars linked together by a chemical bond with the following chemical structure:

i-c945e7a84e2c34132cb04b39fb9739a9-Sucrose_CASCC-thumb-450x254-54210.png

The fructose molecule is the one consisting of a ring of four carbons and an oxygen, forming a pentagram. (Appropriate, no, given how it’s been painted as the root of all evil?) Glucose, on the other hand, although it has the same number of carbon atoms has a six-sided ring consisting of five carbons and an oxygen. In any case, any time you eat table sugar, after digestion of the disaccharide by an enzyme known as sucrase secreted by the villi lining the intestines, you’re getting an equal mixture (in terms of moles) of fructose and glucose. In the abstract, the authors point out that traditionally glucose and fructose have been considered interchangeable simple sugars that are metabolized similarly. However, anyone who’s taken basic biochemistry knows that there are differences in how fructose and glucose are metabolized. Here’s a nice simple diagram cribbed from Wikipedia that shows the difference:

i-499bd7f122018e9e4d6a1d637a2d3bce-Glycolysis-thumb-450x234-54213.jpg

I’m having acid flashbacks to graduate level biochemistry class.

Of course, I shouldn’t, at least not due to this simplistic diagram. Back in biochemistry, I had to memorize not just the chemical structure of each intermediary in glycolysis, but its chirality (handedness) and the enzymes and cofactors involved. This is much simpler (simple enough for medical school). This is nothing (or would have been nothing 25 years ago). In any case, as you can see, fructose can be metabolized the same as glucose beginning at the fructose 6-phosphate step. Even so, fructose tends to be metabolized differently than glucose. Perhaps the most important difference is that fructose tends to be metabolized in the liver, while glucose is metabolized in every cell in the body. That’s because in the liver an enzyme known as fructokinase adds a phosphate group to fructose and is then metabolized through a process known as fructolysis. Although glycolysis (the metabolic process by which glucose is metabolized initially) and fructolysis share some intermediate molecules, the metabolic fates are different. Fructose tends to be used in the liver to make glycogen, which is the form in which the liver stores energy for short term use. It can also be used to produce the building blocks of fatty acids.

Perhaps the most important uses of fructose in metabolism, though, are in the synthesis of amino acids for DNA synthesis. The authors note:

The nonoxidative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), which allows six-carbon glucose conversion to five-carbon ribose for DNA or RNA synthesis, is of utmost importance for the proliferation process and produces >85% of the ribose recovered from tumor nucleic acids (2). The nonoxidative PPP, controlled by transketolase (TK) enzyme reactions, is encoded by three human TK genes: TKT, TKTL1, and TKTL2 (3, 4). Clinically, patients with extensive cancer burden have a tendency to develop thiamine depletion, which is a cofactor for TK-mediated reactions, emphasizing the importance of the nonoxidative PPP for tumor growth.

The authors also cite two prospective studies that found an increased relative risk of pancreatic cancer associated with the consumption of fructose, although I must admit that I’m not all that impressed with them. For one thing, one study showed fairly weak associations (relative risk less than 2.0, with one of the trends not being statistically significant and another being barely significant). The second study was only slighly more convincing. In any case, let’s just say that the evidence linking fructose intake to pancreatic cancer, while somewhat suggestive, is by no means bulletproof, and it’s not clear that either of these studies adequately controlled for confounding factors. I’d say it’s probably worth looking into.

So look into it the Heany’s group did. The first finding was one that didn’t particularly surprise me, namely that pancreatic cancer cells could use fructose as a substrate and grow just as fast as they could in glucose. They used multiple assays to measure proliferation and found that fructose and glucose produced the same rate of proliferation. Finally, they tested cells isolated from freshly resected human pancreatic cancer specimens and found…the same thing! Basically, they showed that, although glucose is the preferred fuel for pancreatic tumor growth, fructose could serve just as well.

Next, Heaney’s team did a bunch of metabolomic studies, looking at the products of glucose and fructose metabolism in order to determine. Basically, they incubated cancer cells in medium containing either glucose or fructose labeled with the isotope of carbon, 13C, which allowed them to track the products of metabolism using mass spectroscopy. What they found was that, although glucose and fructose can share the same metabolic pathway after fructose 6-phosphate, in the cell glucose and fructose are metabolized differently. Glucose, not unexpectedly, was used mostly for glycolysis:

The results derived from the Panc-1 pancreatic cancer cells are presented, and as expected, a large proportion of the 13C-labeled glucose administered to the pancreatic cancer cells entered glycolysis and was metabolized to generate lactate (Fig. 2A) and CO2 (Fig. 2B). In contrast, a comparatively small fraction of 13C-labeled fructose was metabolized to generate lactate and CO2, resulting in 800% lower lactate and 350% lower CO2 production for fructose in comparison with glucose. Likewise, a significant proportion of glucose metabolism contributed to fatty acid synthesis as evidenced by glucose-derived 13C-labeled behenic acid (Fig. 2C, light bar) and palmitate (Fig. 2D, light bar), but 150% lower levels of behenic acid (Fig. 2C, dark bar) and palmitate levels (Fig. 2D, dark bar) were derived from 13C-labeled fructose (similar results were seen for all C16 to C26 fatty acids).

So how was fructose metabolized in pancreatic cancer cells? For the most part, it was used to generate nucleic acid synthesis. Compared to glucose, fructose induces is preferentially metabolized via the nonoxidative pentose phosphate pathway to synthesize nucleic acids and increase uric acid production. What this means is that fructose provides the raw materials for cancer cells to make more DNA, which cells must do in order to divide and proliferate. The differences are summarized in the following chart:

i-3b589012f74d747f7d9639578d6fa9be-figure5-thumb-450x225-54218.jpg

Panel A represents glucose metabolism and the relative proportions of each metabolic process glucose is shunted to, while panel B shows fructose. Compared to glucose, fructose enters the nonoxidative pentose phosphate shunt and is used to synthesize nucleic acids.

It’s well known that cancer cells suck up and metabolize glucose far more avidly than normal cells. The reason is that cancer cells, even when there is oxygen present, still tend to use anaerobic metabolism, which produces far less energy per molecule of glcuose and thus requiring a lot mroe glucose. This behavior is known as the Warburg effect and was first described by Otto Warburg in 1928. That’s the basis for a drug that I’ve written about pretty extensively over the last couple of years, namely dichloroacetate, which selectively targets the Warburg effect. Heaney’s results are potentially important in that they suggest that not just aberrant glucose metabolism but aberrant fructose metabolism might be involved in the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer. Whether diet contributes to these changes or not is an open question. Unfortunately, Heaney takes his potentially important results, and yokes them to a policy using far stronger terms than are justified:

“The bottom line is the modern diet contains a lot of refined sugar including fructose and it’s a hidden danger implicated in a lot of modern diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver,” said Heaney, who also serves as director of the Pituitary Tumor and Neuroendocrine Program at UCLA. “In this study, we show that cancers can use fructose just as readily as glucose to fuel their growth.”

And:

As in anti-smoking campaigns, a federal effort should be launched to reduce refined fructose intake, Heaney said.

“I think this paper has a lot of public health implications,” Heaney said. “Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of HFCS in our diets.”

And that, is how you go from cell culture work to sweeping policy recommendations. Pass Go, collect $200. Rock and roll.

As I mentioned before, there very well may be legitimate, science-based reasons to be worried about fructose and high fructose corn syrup. Steve Novella recently wrote a good review of the topic in which he wanted to point out that glucose and fructose are sugars, as is the main component of high fructose corn syrup. It’s a high calorie, highly processed substance that has no other nutritional value other than as pure fuel. What Heaney’s study doesn’t really answer is just how different from the case in normal pancreatic cells is fructose metabolism in pancreatic cells or if it’s even different? In the current study, HPDE6 cells, which are a cell line derived from normal pancreas cells, behaved the same as all the pancreatic cancer cell lines. Fructose supported its growth and was used primarily for ribose and nucleic acid synthesis.

There’s a lot of hard work that needs to be done to validate the cell culture findings reported by Heaney’s group, not the least of which is testing it in animal models. It’s far too early to make any sort of recommendations about high fructose corn syrup and diet based on this study, and Heaney should have known better. Next up, I can see an article on NaturalNews.com touting this study as “proof” that high fructose corn syrup is pure, concentrated evil and that food manufacturers are out to kill us all, and Heaney will have given Mike Adams some choice quotes to use for that article.

REFERENCE:

Liu, H., Huang, D., McArthur, D., Boros, L., Nissen, N., & Heaney, A. (2010). Fructose Induces Transketolase Flux to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Growth Cancer Research, 70 (15), 6368-6376 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-4615

Comments

  1. #1 Shereen
    August 5, 2010

    On dumb, misleading press release titles – I get them all the time. My favorite is this one from The Endocrine Society:

    “Breast-Feeding Moms Who Consume Too Much Fructose Sweetener More Likely to Have Obese Kids”

    The press release was based on a rat study.

    http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/553262/?sc=dwhr;xy=5046009

  2. #2 Pablo
    August 5, 2010

    The fructose molecule is the one consisting of a ring of four carbons and an oxygen, forming a pentagram (appropriate, no?), but that’s not why fructose is a member of the family of sugars known as pentoses. It’s a member of that family because it has five carbons total.

    NO NO NO NO NO

    Fix this now!

    Fructose is not a pentose. The reason it is a 4 membered ring is because it is a ketose, as opposed to an aldose.

    Dude, there are even 6 carbons on your structure that you show (two in the CH2OH units, and the 4 in the ring)

  3. #3 Rene Najera
    August 5, 2010

    You mean we shouldn’t eat our daily recommended intake of fruits, either? I mean, if we’re going after ALL fructose.

    Thanks for the biochem refresher, Doc. I had not heard that rope-tightening sound in my head (right before the big snap) in a long time.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    August 5, 2010

    Hah!!! When a researcher exaggerates ( well, even if he or she *doesn’t*), you can be assured that some woo-tastic “theorist” or “reporter” will jump on it and run: e.g. The Gary Null Show (8/4/10) and NaturalNews, by way of Jonathan Benson (8/5/10). Then remind us (in the former’s case) how he has been *warning* us about the dangers of sugar for “more than 30 years”, about how the “sugar lobby” _OWNS_ the FDA, not to mention PBS in NYC (which has banned him), how our society is corrupt and doomed ( caused by HFCS), how the mainstream media tells you _Nothing_ about the “Truth”, ad nauseum.

  5. #5 Dennis
    August 5, 2010

    What Pablo said.

  6. #6 Mu
    August 5, 2010

    Thanks Pablo, I was just dragging out my Vogler to check on that.

  7. #7 Dennis
    August 5, 2010

    Also:

    “Perhaps the most important uses of fructose in metabolism, though, are in the synthesis of amino acids for DNA synthesis.”

    I assume you mean nucleic acids?

  8. #8 Pablo
    August 5, 2010

    Thanks Pablo, I was just dragging out my Vogler to check on that.

    I used my Streitweiser and Heathcock…:-)

  9. #9 SWT
    August 5, 2010

    Pablo@2 is correct that both fructose and glucose are hexoses.

    5-member ring with 4 carbons + one oxygen = furanose
    6-member ring with 5 carbons + one oxygen = pyranose

  10. #10 Scott
    August 5, 2010

    What’s always annoyed me about HFCS, more so than health concerns, is that one of the principal reasons it’s used so much is because tariffs on cane sugar = buying votes in the Iowa caucuses.

  11. #11 superdave
    August 5, 2010

    I would bet that the quotes attributed to the researchers are not accurate transcriptions of what they said to reporters. They are not justified by the paper at all.

  12. #12 Dennis
    August 5, 2010

    “Basically, they incubated cancer cells in medium containing either glucose or fructose labeled with the radioactive isotope of carbon, 13C, which allowed them to track the products of metabolism.”

    13C is not radioactive. I haven’t read the study, but I’d guess that they either used 14C, which is radioactive, or that they were able to track the 13C labeled substrates through NMR (13C is NMR active, 12C is not) or MS (obviously, 13C weighs one more g/mol than 12C).

    Great post! Sorry for being so picky.

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    August 5, 2010

    As an aside: hilariously,the aforementioned sites both bash “sugar” and glorify “raw honey” – which we all *know* has absolutely _no_ sugar in it!!!!

  14. #14 hazur
    August 5, 2010

    Orac: “Basically, they incubated cancer cells in medium containing either glucose or fructose labeled with the radioactive isotope of carbon, 13C, …”
    NO NO NO NO NO (as Pablo would say), 13C is a stable isotope so most likely they used NMR in the study, not radioactivity (surprisingly my institution didn’t renew the access to this journal and I don’t have access to the article).

  15. #15 Orac
    August 5, 2010

    Uh, read the post again. The errors pointed out have been fixed. Ah, well, the occasional screwup is good for the soul, I guess. Nothing to see here anymore. Move along.

  16. #16 qetzal
    August 5, 2010

    Orac,

    I don’t have full text access to this paper. Can you clear up something for me?

    The 13C-labeling shows that, compared to glucose, a higher fraction of fructose carbons end up in ribose, which is then used to make nucleosides, nucleotides, and ultimately DNA & RNA. Fair enough. But did the authors look at total ribose, nucleoside, & nucleotide pools with fructose vs. glucose?

    Just because glucose is less like to be transformed directly to ribose, doesn’t mean there will be less total ribose made. Couldn’t other synthetic pathways could be compensating? And wouldn’t that pretty much torpedo the authors’ already-tenuous speculations about fructose & cancer?

    In fact, I don’t see how their speculation makes any sense at all. You said that the authors found the same rate of proliferation in fructose as in glucose. Doesn’t that suggest that direct conversion of fructose to nucleic acid precursors is irrelevant to proliferation? Yet the abstract claims:

    These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation.

    Based on your summary, at least, they show no such thing!

  17. #17 Pablo
    August 5, 2010

    In any case, any time you eat table sugar, you’re getting an equal mixture (in terms of moles) of fructose and glucose.

    Sorry to come back again, but we need to be careful with this, too. While not exactly the same***, saying that table sugar is a “mixture” of fructose and glucose (even with your molar caveat) is deceptive. This is basically the same argument that a certain industrial chelator has a benzoate in it, and benzoate is a natural component in papayas, or whatever. Similarly, you wouldn’t get away with saying that sodium chloride is an equal mixture (in terms of moles) of sodium and chlorine.

    A disaccharide is just that: a disaccharide. It is not a mixture of two monosaccharides. It is two monosaccharides combined into a single molecule, just as sodium chloride is two atoms combined into a single molecule (at least in the gas-phase – “molecular” solid sodium chloride is more difficult)

    ***I have to hedge here a bit, because of my lack of biochemistry knowledge, because I can imagine that it is possible that, given the contents of the stomach, that the first thing that happens when you ingest sucrose is that it is hydrolyzed into the monosaccharides, which ultimately gets digested. If that were the case, you could make the argument that sucrose turns into a 50/50 mixture of fructose and glucose in the stomach, but that is not the same as saying it IS a 50/50 mixture. If it is not hydrolyzed to monosaccharides, then you cannot put any significance on the structural similarity. It’s not fructose. It’s not glucose. It’s the disaccharide, until hydrolyzed.

  18. #18 Arabidopsis
    August 5, 2010

    Even if fructose was as horrible as the press release would lead one to believe, this research shouldn’t lead directly to high fructose corn syrup since it isn’t really all that high in fructose. It is only 55% fructose. There is an equivalent amount in honey, and as mentioned above, 50% in table sugar. The trendiest sweetener, agave nectar, is almost entirely fructose. Not to mention the amount of fructose in fruit.

  19. #19 Arabidopsis
    August 5, 2010

    Pablo makes a good point about sucrose being a disaccharide, and they may be utilized differently than their individual components. However, breakdown of disaccharides is an early step in digestion, and I’m pretty sure they are broken into their components before they are absorbed.

  20. #20 DaveH
    August 5, 2010

    @Pablo #17

    Exactly. IIRC, one of the arguments I have heard against HFCS (don’t have the ref handy, and at work with no time to look it up) is that much of the level of regulation of sucrose metabolism is at inversion, the breakdown into the glucose and fructose subunits. HFCS bypasses this level of regulation, leading to a more peak and crash cycle than sucrose.

  21. #21 Pablo
    August 5, 2010

    However, breakdown of disaccharides is an early step in digestion, and I’m pretty sure they are broken into their components before they are absorbed.

    Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that hydrolysis occurs rapidly in 1 M HCl. However, as I said, even if that is the case, we need to be sure to not distort the information. As Orac knows, all it does is open the door for critics.

  22. #22 Rhino
    August 5, 2010

    Orac, must have missed your coffee this morning. Honestly, this is the worst analysis you’ve provided in a long time, you were even wrong on your basic biochemistry which is a little frightening.

    Is it too soon to warn people that we’re consuming too much HFCS (highest source of calories in US) and we’re more obese now than any other time in history?

    It’s not too early to warn, cut down or eliminate HFCS from your diet – there is no doubt you’re better off.

  23. #23 Orac
    August 5, 2010

    @Pablo

    Not a good example. Sucrose is broken down to glucose and fructose by disaccharidases known as sucrase before it is transported into cells for metabolism.

    Quite frankly, now you’re flirting with being annoyingly pedantic, particularly since I did make a point of specifying in the post that sucrose is a fructose molecule and a glucose molecule held together by a chemical bond. In fact, in context, I would argue that you’re not even being fair. But to make you happy, I added a bit about sucrase.

    There, happy now?

  24. #24 titmouse
    August 5, 2010

    HFCS bypasses this level of regulation, leading to a more peak and crash cycle than sucrose.

    Really?

    The sucrase enzyme in the small intestine rapidly breaks sucrose into glucose and fructose. There’s an active transport molecule on the gut wall to facilitate glucose absorption. Fructose is absorbed more slowly by passive diffusion.

    BTW, why “refined” sugar? Does the molecule have a memory as with homeopathic water?

  25. #25 titmouse
    August 5, 2010

    Orac, what must I do to be released from your spam filter?

  26. #26 Karl Withakay
    August 5, 2010

    @Arabidopsis
    Yes. There seems to be the idea out there that you could significantly reduce your fructose intake by replacing HFC w/ sugar, which wouldn’t make much of a dent in fructose intake.

    To those who advocate only buying all juice fruit juices with no HFC added: Consider HFC is usually 50-55% fructose, but all juice fruit juice cocktails usually contain pear juice, essentially added as a sweetener. The ratio of fructose/glucose in pears is 2:1

  27. #27 jenbphillips
    August 5, 2010

    Rhino @ 22:

    Wot? You’re arguing that this is the ‘worst analysis [Orac] has provided in a long time’ because he didn’t concur with the post hoc, science-by-press-release conclusions that HFCS should be stricken from our diets because it’s a cancer causing nasty? Sorry, I vehemently disagree that misrepresenting data to influence public health policy is an acceptable means to a desired end (reduced obesity, etc.).

    Orac, thanks for the informative post. I learned a lot, and care very little about the minor biochemical errors in light of the strength of the main argument. I’ll gladly read through the occasional typo to the important and well-clarified message.

  28. #28 jay.sweet
    August 5, 2010

    What’s always annoyed me about HFCS, more so than health concerns, is that one of the principal reasons it’s used so much is because tariffs on cane sugar = buying votes in the Iowa caucuses.

    Bingo. My reasons for preferring other forms of sugar over HFCS are political, economic, and environmental, rather than flavor- or health-related. (Though there is a small indirect flavor-related reason that I will touch on at the end)

    Political: What Scott said.

    Economic: Again what Scott said, and adding two things. First, with the current subsidies and tariffs in place, HFCS is way cheaper than it ought to be… which has an indirect health-consequence, by making it cheaper to add more sweetener than it would be otherwise. Second, the subsidy system ends up screwing corn farmers in the long run, by depressing the price of corn and getting people stuck in an extremely high-labor low-paying job.

    Environmental: HFCS is not coming from corn farmed in small scale and/or environmentally friendly operations using crop rotation and judicious use of pesticides. It’s coming from massive pesticide-soaked soil-depleting monocultures. Not a good scene. (Not that other sources of sugar are always that much better in this respect, but US corn farming is really crazy that way).

    I did mention there’s one very indirect flavor-related reason: Very generally speaking (there are many, many exceptions) products that shun HFCS tend to be higher quality. I do not think this is anything inherent to HFCS (as I said, there are many exceptions). In fact, I have even found it to be the case in many products than claim to avoid HFCS for somewhat dubious health reasons. My theory is that if you are already spending more money on the sweetener (thereby resulting in an inflated price tag) it’s not as crucial to cut every single corner.

  29. #29 jay.sweet
    August 5, 2010

    To those who advocate only buying all juice fruit juices with no HFC added: Consider HFC is usually 50-55% fructose, but all juice fruit juice cocktails usually contain pear juice, essentially added as a sweetener. The ratio of fructose/glucose in pears is 2:1

    I don’t care particularly for either, though health reasons have nothing to do with it. The HFCS-added juices taste sickly sweet to me, and “cocktails” that are supposed to taste like a different fruit but have high portions of of apple and/or pear juice are too lacking in character for me.

  30. #30 LovleAnjel
    August 5, 2010

    @26 jay.sweet

    There is a taste difference between HFCS and other sweeteners. Try a cane sugar soda (Royal Crown still uses cane sugar, as do kosher Coke products). They are not necessarily more expensive or higher-quality, but the taste is noticeably different. I definitely prefer them over normal sodas.

  31. #31 Pablo
    August 5, 2010

    Not a good example. Sucrose is broken down to glucose and fructose by disaccharidases known as sucrase before it is transported into cells for metabolism.

    True, but it doesn’t have to be in principle, and I think you are (were, as the case may be) asking for trouble by not being explicit. And before accusing me of “concern trolling”, read what I wrote, about how you need to be careful. You ripped Nancy Snyderman for being careless, and deservedly so. This isn’t quite as egregious (your biochem mistakes were, so that’s why I jumped hard there), but still opens doors. As I said, _what you wrote_ isn’t actually any different from the claim that since the chelator has a benzoate in it, and natural product has benzoate in it, then the chelator is a natural product. While in reality, there is of course a world of a difference between them that distinction is not evident in what you wrote.

    Most importantly, it only takes a small change in wording to make it perfectly fine. Saying it turns into a mixture of sucrose and glucose isn’t not all that much harder than saying it IS a mixture, and is technically correct.

    It may be just my old PhD adviser channeling through me, but precise language is important.

  32. #32 Pablo
    August 5, 2010

    There is a taste difference between HFCS and other sweeteners. Try a cane sugar soda (Royal Crown still uses cane sugar, as do kosher Coke products). They are not necessarily more expensive or higher-quality, but the taste is noticeably different.

    I have heard (probably on JREF) that this claim has failed double-blind study. I could be wrong. Anyone know?

  33. #33 Left_Wing_Fox
    August 5, 2010

    28: Could you tell the difference between them in a blind taste test though?

    I’ve heard a few people talk about how soda in Canada is better because they use sugar instead of HFCS, but it’s not true. Canadian food labelling standards are a little different, which means HFCS is listed as “Sugar (glucose/fructose)” while refined sugar is listed as “Sugar (sucrose)”

    I won’t deny that some people may well be able to tell the difference, but I do wonder just how much confirmation bias is present in those claims.

  34. #34 Karl Withakay
    August 5, 2010

    @myself:

    “but all juice fruit juice cocktails usually contain”
    should be
    “but all-juice fruit juice cocktails usually contain ”

  35. #35 MI5
    August 5, 2010

    Nice article. And yes, I know, the whole thing about fructose being a pentose and sucrose being a mixture were probably a little off, but hey, I’m not a biochemist, so I’m not about to have a heart attack over it. The main point you were trying to make – that this study is being badly overhyped – is absolutely bang on. I read the article you’re alluding to in the press just yesterday and I was vaguely annoyed (the way I nearly always am when I read the science section in mainstream media these days).

    And this article is far from being the only instance – as we’re all probably aware already. Most (although not all) press releases routinely exaggerate the significance of the studies they describe. It really drives me nuts. And now that news media organizations have cut their science staff, the science stories are getting covered by reporters fresh from the crime beat, people who’ve never covered science stories before. They don’t know what to make of this kind of thing or what kind of questions to ask, so the press people at the university or research institution can get away with overplaying the significance of the study. The only really flat-out awesome science section in mainstream media that I can think of is the New York Times science section – now THEY are great. Of course, they actually have reporters that are actually dedicated to covering the science beat, so maybe that’s why the quality is so much better.

  36. #36 Karl Withakay
    August 5, 2010

    @Jay-Sweet:
    “HFCS is way cheaper than it ought to be… which has an indirect health-consequence, by making it cheaper to add more sweetener than it would be otherwise.”

    The US subsidies on corn are not solely responsible for this, the price of sugar in the US is also artificially high due to tariffs to help US sugar farmers.

  37. #37 Orac
    August 5, 2010

    @Pablo

    Nancy Snyderman is another bad example, as I castigated her for being factually incorrect.

    I’ll take my lumps for my mistakes in this post, but what you are criticizing me for now was not one of those mistakes. In fact, I’ll point out that you apparently didn’t know that sucrose is broken down by sucrase into its constituent monosaccharides, which are what then transported into cells. That’s very basic physiology, making it factually correct to state that what you get when you eat sucrose is an equimolar mixture of fructose and glucose, because, well, it is what your body absorbs, as any first year medical student would be able to tell you. You don’t absorb sucrose. In fact, there is an inborn error of metabolism (sucrase-isomaltase deficiency) that demonstrates that problem quite well. It is also not my fault that you were apparently unaware of the basic physiology of how the small intestine deals with disaccharides.

    I really don’t see how my statement is like the Haley’s statement about benzoate. Quite frankly, in my estimation you have now crossed the line from maybe making a hint of a reasonable point on this issue to being annoyingly pedantic.

  38. #38 Jud
    August 5, 2010

    Another reason the publicity surrounding this study is annoying is that it’s a distraction (spelled with a capital C for cancer) from the major issue with our too-sweet diets and too-sedentary habits, namely that we are doing a great job of killing ourselves quite directly with calorie overload.

  39. #39 Dangerous Bacon
    August 5, 2010

    Are we supposed to assume from this in vitro research that pancreatic cancer (or at least the kind whose cells were studied) will be stopped in its tracks by drastically curtailing intake of fructose? Based on the clinical aggressiveness of pancreatic carcinoma, it’s hard to believe that it wouldn’t be able to tap into ample energy supplies through alternate metabolic pathways.

    I find it questionable that Dr. Healey is trying to use this very limited study as a springboard for getting the government to curtail use of HFCS.

    Have pancreatic cancer incidence and mortality zoomed since HFCS became popular in foods? I was under the impression that both figures had been relatively stable for several decades.

  40. #40 Pablo
    August 5, 2010

    Nancy Snyderman is another bad example, as I castigated her for being factually incorrect.

    Sigh.

    Saying that sucrose is a “mixture of fructose and glucose” is ALSO factually incorrect. The word “mixture” has a precise technical meaning in chemistry, and it does not involve the formation of a chemical bond. Moreover (and this is pedantic), there is a mass discrepancy (there is a missing water).

    Granted, it is a minor error, and I never said anything else. But don’t try to take the defense that it is better than Snyderman because this is not incorrect.

  41. #41 Jeff Read
    August 5, 2010

    In Europe it is relatively commonplace to implement regulations in anticipation of possible danger, just to be on the safe side, rather than wait for science to prove the danger is clear and present, when it may have already claimed the lives or health of thousands. For example, there are stringent cellphone radiation requirements in place on the off chance that cellphones might cause cancer.

    But then again, Europe doesn’t have the same broken sugar politics that the U.S. has, so HFCS is not an issue for them. HFCS is only used widely in the United States because it’s cheaper for fundamentally retarded reasons.

  42. #42 Orac
    August 5, 2010

    Saying that sucrose is a “mixture of fructose and glucose” is ALSO factually incorrect.

    Uh, I never said that sucrose is a mixture of fructose and glucose, either in my original post or in the modification. Go back and read it. What I said in my original post was, “…any time you eat table sugar, you’re getting an equal mixture (at least in terms of moles) of fructose and glucose.” This is true. Thanks to intestinal sucrase, when you eat sucrose your body is getting an equimolar mixture of fructose and glucose because the sucrase breaks down sucrose before it ever sees your bloodstream.

  43. #43 DaveH
    August 5, 2010

    Pablo, I think the point Orac means to make is that what is actually absorbed and metabolized by the body IS a mixture of glucose and fructose, since the metabolism into the monosaccharides occurs prior to absorption by the intestine. The GI tract is considered external to the body, so the activity of sucrases in the stomach and/or intestine is “outside”. However, sucrase activity is regulated, so you are also correct in saying that there is an important difference in ingesting sucrose vs. ingesting glucose/fructose mixtures.

    I have some refs (scholary papers) but don’t want to link spam. I can provide them if people are interested however.

  44. #44 Rene Najera
    August 5, 2010

    Watching Pablo and Orac go back and forth like this, while eating lunch, is a lot like dinner theater. (One should ignore the other, or this might get out of control.)

  45. #45 Sara
    August 5, 2010

    O, ya gotta learn how to take the heat when it comes your way. Your replies here feel a little passive aggressive. You act like you’re doing Pablo a personal favor by fixing a real error. You’d never let anyone else get away with that attitude. Suck it up, move on!

  46. #46 Mu
    August 5, 2010

    BTW since both fructose and glucose have the same molecular formula C6H12O6 it doesn’t make a difference if you talk molar or mass, you’re always getting equal amounts from sucrose.

  47. #47 nsib
    August 5, 2010

    O, ya gotta learn how to take the heat when it comes your way. Your replies here feel a little passive aggressive. You act like you’re doing Pablo a personal favor by fixing a real error. You’d never let anyone else get away with that attitude. Suck it up, move on!

    Huh? Are you seriously arguing that sucrose isn’t absorbed as a equal mixture of glucose and fructose?

  48. #48 jay.sweet
    August 5, 2010

    I have heard (probably on JREF) that this claim has failed double-blind study. I could be wrong. Anyone know?

    That’s been my impression as well. But I don’t know the methodology or if there were any conflicts of interest, or whatnot.

    My wife reports that while she doesn’t notice much of a taste difference with the cane sugar Coke vs. the HFCS Coke, that she feels that the latter leaves her mouth feeling slick and gross. But that is also not blinded, and (no offense to my lovely wife!) I am inclined to think that is also all in her mind.

    In any case, like I say, I’ve got all sorts of other reasons for preferring other sweeteners to HFCS, so it’s more a matter of curiosity than anything.

  49. #49 qetzal
    August 5, 2010

    I’d still like to know what justfies this statement from the abstract:

    These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation.

    if there’s no difference in proliferation rate for glucose vs. fructose?! OK, the cells metabolize fructose, and they do it differently than they would glucose. But if there’s no net effect on proliferation, so what?

  50. #50 Vicki
    August 5, 2010

    A lot of these arguments are reminiscent of arresting Al Capone for tax evasion: if HCFS has all those real flaws, go after it based on those. (For what it’s worth, I think Pepsi tastes a little better in Canada than in New York, but that difference, whether it’s because of HCFS, something in the water, expectation, or the advantage of being on vacation, isn’t a health issue that the government should be regulating on the basis of.)

  51. #51 LovleAnjel
    August 5, 2010

    @ 30, 31, 46

    I realize I am all anecdotal here. I do believe there is a difference in taste, which I test by occasionally slipping my husband a cane sugar soda against his knowledge/will and watching his expression (he hates the flavor). As jay.sweet notes there is also a difference in mouthfeel (which is important to both me and his wife), altho if you are a diet drinker any sugar soda has an awful mouthfeel.

    I’ve never tried a blind soda taste test, but I do know that such a test says I prefer Pepsi over Coke so I ignore them (insert sarcasm) (note: a study showed that people actually preferred the letter used to label the Pepsi cup, not the drink itself, so I can empirically claim the results to be a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys).

  52. #52 phoenixwoman
    August 5, 2010

    In the interests of ending the Pablo-Orac War, and in testing to see if I’ve been banned for transgressing some unwritten law, here’s Andrew Breitbart’s go-to guy for science — and boy is he horrible: http://mediamatters.org/blog/201008050030

  53. #53 Jeff Read
    August 5, 2010

    I actually did blind taste-test sugar Mountain Dew (or is it Mtn. Dew? or MtnDew?) vs. HFCS Dew. The sugar stuff tasted better. The difference, as far as I’m concerned, is real.

  54. #54 Enkidu
    August 5, 2010

    @30

    Funny, I prefer my Pepsi, Coke and Mountain Dew with HFCS. When Snapple recently changed from HFCS to sugar, I noticed right away, even though it wasn’t advertised on the label. I looked at the ingredients and was like, “Bingo.”

    And yes, I am a sugary-drink lover. But I’m not obese… I moderate my guilty pleasure. :)

  55. #55 Enkidu
    August 5, 2010

    @53

    Mountain Dew, as-is in the USA i.e. made with HFCS, is soda perfection in my book. Hands down my fave soft drink.

    When they rolled out the “Throwback” version last summer that was made with sugar, I got nervous that they were going to do away with their regular HFCS version. You would have seen a dramatic uptick in Classic Dew sales in the metro Philly area, as I would have purchased as much as possible.

    Oh, and I have to thank Orac for the biochem refresher today. Haven’t thought about this stuff in a very long time!

  56. #56 davep
    August 5, 2010

    Note that the HFCS used typically used in drinks is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. Sucrose isn’t any better/worse for you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose

  57. #57 knotfreak
    August 5, 2010

    Here’s another study (Princeton) on HFCS cited by Marion Nestle (Food Politics Blog).

    http://www.foodpolitics.com/2010/03/hfcs-makes-rats-fat/#comments

    There is an interesting rebuttal from one of the authors. I got bogged down in some of the minutiae, and I totally respect Nestle’s science credentials, but the rebuttal seemed to clear up all or most of the concerns. I have a feeling that you all could pick them both to pieces!

    Orac, you have an ego the size of all creation and why do you hate pedants so much? We pedants get sick and tired of reading all your boo-boos you know, but we generally don’t complain because we know this makes you pout.

  58. Earlier today I popped up at a Salon article on this subject and mentioned that the differences in fructose and glucose metabolism are biochem 101. I too was having flashbacks to my biochem days! It’s cool to know that our brains went to a very similar place after reading the headlines reporting this study.

  59. #59 JustaTech
    August 5, 2010

    Well, now I remember why I’m not a chemist of any stripe. Brain hurt!

    I thought the real problem with HFCS is that it’s in all kinds of stuff that most people don’t think of as “sweet”; bread, ketchup, frozen dinners, etc.

    I am friends with a couple who stock their fridge with two different kinds of Coke: American HFCS, and Mexican Coke (from Costco) because one of them grew up in Africa where Coke is made with sugar and thinks American Coke is too acidic.

  60. #60 Calli Arcale
    August 5, 2010

    Jeff Read @ 53:

    I actually did blind taste-test sugar Mountain Dew (or is it Mtn. Dew? or MtnDew?) vs. HFCS Dew. The sugar stuff tasted better. The difference, as far as I’m concerned, is real.

    I did also, but with opposite results — I preferred the HFCS version. This is probably because I’m more used to that, but I dunno.

    My first thought when I read the headline reporting on this story was “slurp — seriously?” I know headline writers write condescendingly stupid headlines for health and science pieces, but this was ridiculous. Are they suggesting that cancer cells use little straws to slurp up every last bit of fructose? I know, it’s not a new problem. But it still annoys me.

  61. #61 Medicien man
    August 5, 2010

    I would be more worried about the motor oil (aspartame) they put into food than the corn syrup even though the corn syrup does cause diabetes and cancer. Stevia leaf powder is an excellent alternative to motor oil, oops, I mean aspartame. Of course getting the FDA to approve is harder then getting satan to give someone a block of ice in hell.

  62. #62 Chris
    August 5, 2010

    So, MM, which vaccine did Desiree Jennings get last year? The seasonal influenza or the H1N1? Was she actually paralyzed? Remember, Fox News had it right.

    Also, MM, why should we believe you when you get so much wrong, wrongety, wrong! Especially since you have posted off topic, again.

  63. #63 Travis
    August 5, 2010

    What’s with the motor oil references?

    But as Chris said, your posts are off topic. Your post about aspartame is just shoehorning a hobby horse of yours into a conversation that is not about it.

  64. #64 Medicien man
    August 5, 2010

    Your post about aspartame is just shoehorning a hobby horse of yours into a conversation that is not about it.

    Hmmm. I’m glad you fell for it then.

    You’ll have to ignore chris. he has a stalking issue. He my little stalker sweetie pie. Hey chris I have my sexy pokesdot underwear on. Should pull them off just for you?

    You should be thankful. http://www.dherbs.com has something for your type one diabetes. Look at the pancreas repair package there. Also some diuretic herbs helps too.

    Better luck next time my little sweetie pie stalker man.

  65. #65 Medicein Man
    August 5, 2010

    Well I do see the very sensitive PAL MD left on account of the fructose corn syrup (Pepsi), so I guess the article does have validity after all.

    Stop looking my butt Chris! I already told you I’m no homersexual. Get away from there before you hurt yourself boy! Don’t make me call my brother, Doctor I.M. Smart. I will.

  66. #66 Matthew Cline
    August 5, 2010

    Aspartame is the methyl ester of the dipeptide of the natural amino acids L-aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine.

    Motor oil contains amino acids and peptides?

  67. #67 Chris
    August 5, 2010

    MM, you are pathetic, sick and very stupid.

    Once again, I cannot be stalking you if you come to where I am a regular. Especially when you don’t read this blog enough to know I lack a Y-chromosome. Something that is common knowledge to the others. Of course, it just means we just laugh at your more.

  68. #68 augustine
    August 5, 2010

    Chris: “Especially when you don’t read this blog enough to know I lack a Y-chromosome.”

    So does Harriet Hall but that doesn’t mean someone can’t be sexually ambiguous.

  69. #69 Matthew Cline
    August 5, 2010

    @Chris:

    Once again, I cannot be stalking you if you come to where I am a regular.

    I bet you started stalking him, then used a time machine to become a regular here before he ever showed up. Confess! Confess, I say!!

  70. #70 Medicein man
    August 5, 2010

    Matthew. I don;t know. maybe some oil does contain amino acids. I never really paid attention to oil that closely. I know is abiotic and is a natural product made in the earth’ mantle. Very little of it is actual “fossil” fuel as it is so unwisely called. Oil is a natural earth made product and we will never run out of it becuase it is made all the time. Then again, non-creationists wouldn’t understand short time periods would they?

    Aspartame is made from oil. The same oil that your car runs on. Is that safe? I know I need lubing, but putting 10-40 in my chewing gum is not fair or safe. Put the sugar back and leave out aspartame.

    How do I know you are here unless you alert me to your whereabouts Chris? Whenever you pick on me for finding you accidentally, I will continue to call you my sweetie pie stalker boy. Want to give now, or should I contuinue?

    Only adarwinis thinks like you. I hope are not part of that false religion of darwinism.

    Just so you know, i love Answers In genesis. I just wish we could have learned that stuff in school instead of how a pile of bones cannot rot over “millions of years”. Oh, well I can learn it now and teach it in church to the kids.

  71. #71 Chris
    August 5, 2010

    You don’t even understand what it means to lack a Y-chromosome. What is your highest educational level, 4th grade?

    You are a laugh a minute. But I feel guilty about taking advantage of your lack of guile.

  72. #72 Medicein man
    August 5, 2010
  73. #73 Medicien man
    August 5, 2010

    Education is not the most important thing in the world. I know people who have mutiple high ranking degrees and are the dumbest people you will ever meet. Sure they can figure out the trajectory of an incoming missle launched from Pluto yesterday and tell us awhen and where it will hit, but unfortuantely they cannot chew aspartame laced gum and ties their shoe laces at the same time.

    Being intelligent and having an education is entirely two different things. Besides what is education these days with all the far left bias among professors. it’s more like indoctrination than education.

    I have an Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Technology. I work with HAM radio equipment. I am a technician who builds, tests, and repairs HAM radio amplifiers, tuners, buffers, and many other related items. Then again it doesn’t take someone with a degree to do this. The degree only gets you more money and gets your foot in the door. I know people who are better techs than I am and have virtually no college educastion at all. They learned it on their own. They actually make the best workers. less arrogant and more enthusiastic about what they do. Having a college degree isn’t all that. Just having your name on a peice of paper doesn’t mean you know what you are talking about. Ever heard of PZ Myers? I rest my case.

    Education is just a show of willpoer in learning. That’s all. The real learning takes place at the actual jobsite in the real world, not the classroom.

  74. #74 sublimaze
    August 5, 2010

    @ picky biochemistry wannabe-geniuses and “others”

    In practical terms, what the human body “sees” is what really matters physiologically. Sucrose is broken down to 1/2 fructose, 1/2 glucose, and those are the actual molecules that get absorbed. If you swallow a piece of pasta, what your body sees is just pure glucose, which is why the Atkins followers hate on refined starches.

    “Salt” is (in all aqueous solutions) a 1:1 mix of sodium and chloride ions. So, yes, salt is 1/2 sodium and 1/2 chloride. There are equal amounts of each in a water solution.

    Re: aspartame. Can you overdose on certain amino acids? The woo-mongers call them “neurotoxins,” but my recollection from biochem is that (normally) AA’s that aren’t immediately needed by the body go through gluconeogenesis.

  75. #75 Matthew Cline
    August 5, 2010

    First of all, according to this page, petroleum products aren’t used anywhere in the production of aspartame, unless, for some strange reason, you consider methanol to be a petroleum product. Do you have some reference/citation for how aspartame is manufactured from motor oil?

    Second, even it were manufactured from motor oil, what impact does that have on health? Are you concerned that there would inevitably be trace amounts of hydrocarbons left in the aspartame?

    Finally, why would creationism imply a limitless source of crude oil? What in the Bible says that God set the Earth up so that it’s a renewable resource, as opposed to God creating a finite amount of it at the beginning?

  76. #76 Dianne
    August 5, 2010

    The woo-mongers call them “neurotoxins,” but my recollection from biochem is that (normally) AA’s that aren’t immediately needed by the body go through gluconeogenesis.

    Aspertame contains phenylalanine which is neurotoxic…if you have PKU and can’t digest it properly. So there’s a grain of truth in the statement but it’s a pretty small grain.

  77. #77 Medicien man
    August 5, 2010

    why would creationism imply a limitless source of crude oil?

    —–

    Becuase it is constantly being made. as long as more is being made than used, the we will not un out.

    Oh yeah. just for those who call tea party conservatives violent and dangerous, here is an seiu thug displaying violence against tea party protestors (not the first time).

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_of9ue2vob2g/Sn6rFXZ_4aI/AAAAAAAAJ7I/tZJgGzW9tqI/s400/behead+THOSE+WHO+insult+OBAMACARE.JPG

  78. #78 Matthew Cline
    August 5, 2010

    why would creationism imply a limitless source of crude oil?

    —–

    Becuase it is constantly being made.

    Why does creationism and/or the Bible imply that it’s constantly being made, as opposed to God creating a finite amount at the beginning?

  79. #79 Matthew Cline
    August 5, 2010

    Or, rather, how does it imply that? Or, what in creationism and/or the Bible implies that?

  80. #80 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 5, 2010

    Oil is not a fossil fuel
    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=45838

    Origin of oil
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n1/origin-of-oil

    World Nut Daily and Answers in Genesis as references?

    You are WAY beyond hope.

  81. #81 Travis
    August 5, 2010

    Even if it is constantly made it does not mean we will not have problems and run out. If it was not made at a large enough rate we would end up with a situation where there is far to little available.

  82. #82 Matthew Cline
    August 5, 2010

    From the “Answers in Genesis” page:

    All the available evidence points to a recent catastrophic origin for the world’s vast oil deposits, from plant and other organic debris, consistent with the biblical account of earth history. Vast forests grew on land and water surfaces17 in the pre-Flood world, and the oceans teemed with diatoms and other tiny photosynthetic organisms. Then during the global Flood cataclysm, the forests were uprooted and swept away. Huge masses of plant debris were rapidly buried in what thus became coal beds, and organic matter generally was dispersed throughout the many catastrophically deposited sedimentary rock layers. The coal beds and fossiliferous sediment layers became deeply buried as the Flood progressed. As a result, the temperatures in them increased sufficiently to rapidly generate crude oils and natural gas from the organic matter in them. These subsequently migrated until they were trapped in reservoir rocks and structures, thus accumulating to form today’s oil and gas deposits.

    So, one of your two citations disagrees with you.

  83. #83 Michael Ralston
    August 5, 2010

    Wow, that may be the worst photoshop job I have ever seen.

    I … I know this guy’s been around for a while, but I have to call poe.

  84. #84 Travis
    August 5, 2010

    After seeing that imagine I really want to agree with Michael. I would like to think no one could see that photos and not see it is a photoshopped sign. Maybe this gives away the poe-y nature of Medicine Man.

    Then again “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people” or people in general if they are not American.

  85. #85 Chris
    August 5, 2010

    MM:

    have an Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Technology.

    Okay, then tell me what type of person lacks a Y-chromosome. Also, what amino acids are derived from petroleum. Be specific.

    Also, what it has to do with fructose. Do you also avoid fructose? In all ways, like that in fruits and veggies?

  86. #86 Ian Musgrave
    August 6, 2010

    Just to pull the conversation on topic.

    While in the study Orac talks about (Cancer Res; 70(15) August 1, 2010) fructose is preferentially metabolised to nucelic acids in pancreatic cancer cells, what they say about the rate of cancer proliferation is almost, but not completely, dead wrong.

    Press release:

    “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.

    Abstract:

    These findings show that cancer cells
    can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation.

    Now look at figure 1. When the did the proliferation assays, they compared the results to cells cultured in
    10% Foetal Bovine Serum alone – which contained *0.4 mmol/L glucose*. This means at the lowest concentrations of additional sugar, they are comparing 400µM glucose + 5.5µM fructose vs 405.5µM glucose. Which kind of messes up their interpretation.

    Generally, glucose and fructose are the same…they don’t do anything above and beyond the Foetal Bovine Serum control. Only in MiaPaCa-2’s, HPAF and, possibly, HPDR6 do you see proliferation which MAY be statistically significant from the baseline proliferation at the highest concentrations used (400µM glucose + 5500µM fructose vs 5900µM glucose).

    Now, the kicker, what is the plasma concentration of fructose in most people. It’s 8 µM, even in diabtetics it’s only 12 µM, while plasma glucose in normal people is around 5000µM (doi: 10.2337/diacare.25.2.353 Diabetes Care February 2002 vol. 25 no. 2 353-357).

    This is probably due to fructose being mainly taken up and metabolised in the liver, but the bottom line is that pancreatic tissue will never see any more than micromolar concentrations of fructose. Even if plasma levels of fructose reached 55 µM (which would be insanely unlikely), it would, on the basis of the results presented in the article (Cancer Res; 70(15) August 1, 2010) do absolutely nothing to cell proliferation (see Fig 1 again).

    Put simply, their results do not support their conclusions.
    (also, their statistics are borked, badly borked, but the BrDU data in Figure 1F suggests that fructose does sod all to proliferation under physiological conditions)

    When the authors say: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.

    They are talking complete rubbish.

  87. #87 Matthew Cline
    August 6, 2010

    @Chris:

    It’s possible that MM knows precisely what you mean about lacking a Y chromosome, and either:

    1) Thinks you’re lying.

    2) Doesn’t care about whether you’re a man or a woman, since what matters to him is getting some entertainment out of accusing you of being a homosexual stalker.

  88. #88 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 6, 2010

    Tommy Gold is just the gift that keeps on giving. He gave us the Steady State Theory, the deep moondust that spacecraft were going to disappear into, and the abiotic petroleum hypothesis—all decisively disproven.

    To be fair, I’m sure he would have been horrified by the kind of Yahoos who have latched onto the last one—especially since his primary motivation in creating the Steady State Theory was to avoid giving aid and comfort to religion.

  89. #89 Chris
    August 6, 2010

    In that case, I will assume he is an idiot and just keep laughing at him.

    I really do not have enough biochemistry background to participate in this thread. I just think that MM’s silliness should be called out each time he dumps his stupidity.

    I did once go to a talk about sugars and their myths by a doctor getting PhD in biochemistry. It was very interesting and amusing (he put in lots of good humor).

    So all I can contribute to this discussion is that people who freak our at fructose are hypocrites if they are also telling us to eat lots of fruit and veggies!

  90. #90 DLC
    August 6, 2010

    what I’m seeing here is a slight increase in nucleic acid production by cancer cells in a dish. I don’t see how this actually leads people to jump to the conclusion that HFCS should be banned. particularly because fructose occurs naturally in other foods. I well remember the study in the late 70s that damned saccharine, and how that study was deeply flawed.

  91. #91 SweetEnough
    August 6, 2010

    Who cares if HFCS does or doesn’t cause pancreatic cancer? According to a Princeton study done recently it causes significant obesity in rats compared to rats consuming sucrose, even at a lower relative dosage than humans consume. That alone is reason enough for me to stay well away from it. More studies are needed to convince me this should be in almost every food product sold today.

  92. #92 Chris
    August 6, 2010

    So no strawberries and apples for SweetEnough. Check!

  93. #93 Andrew Dodds
    August 6, 2010

    Medicien man –

    Hmmm. Abiotic oil, Creationist, Aspartamine is evil..

    I wonder if I can guess your views on Global Warming (Commie conspiricy), Vaccination (Dosen’t work and causes autism), the Twin Towers (controlled demolition, obviously) and Obama (certainly not a US citizen).

    Am I right (not as right as you, obviously)?

    For the record, my original training is as a petroleum geoscientist/modeller and I can happily tell you that the ‘abiotic oil’ stuff is a load of cow droppings, and that if it was true it would mean vast extra profits for the oil companies. Now, you may think up whatever conspiricy theory you like, but let me tell you – if that theory happens to involve oil companies volunteering to make less money, you are going to have to go back to the tin foil hat shop and try again..

  94. #94 Jud
    August 6, 2010

    Ian Musgrave @86, thanks for spelling out in more detail what I take Orac to be discussing in the main post re the conclusions barely attaining statistical significance, and liver vs. blood/pancreatic vs. experimental in-vitro fructose levels.

    knotfreak writes @57:

    [W]hy do you hate pedants so much?

    I’m not Orac, but if I can hazard a guess, it’s because they so thoroughly miss the point. Orac, in my experience, is more than ready to change any error that truly compromises understanding.

    But spelling mistakes, grammatical niggles, minor semantic niceties (such as whether saying digestion of sucrose presents the body with “an equal mixture of fructose and glucose” implies sucrose is a mixture of fructose and glucose rather than a chemical compound) – these don’t compromise understanding and thus don’t interfere with the main point(s) Orac’s trying to get across in a given post.

    Therefore, concentrating on such things (1) doesn’t improve content in any meaningful way, (2) threatens to derail more substantive discussions, and (3) would only slow down Orac for no good purpose if he paid undue attention. Also, (4) it’s just plain irritating.

    Anyhow, that’s my non-Oracian take on it.

  95. #95 mikerattlesnake
    August 6, 2010

    @MM

    Fuck off, you dumbass creationist troll. You are a know-nothing blowhard who is either drunk or has a broken keyboard (though the mind, or whatever passes for one, behind it is more concerning). The fact that anyone is giving you one iota of attention beyond telling you to fuck off is kind of sad. Nonsense like yours doesn’t deserve a response, just open ridicule. You are a moron.

  96. #96 mikerattlesnake
    August 6, 2010

    This article was awesome, Orac. Why major newspapers hire “science journalists” (no knowledge of science required) instead of scientist journalists is a mystery. The quality of your writing is above that of most paid journalists (without the benefit of an editor, at that) and you have a clear, objective understanding of the material involved. Sure, you would have to dumb this down a bit more for the average reader (sent the link to some friends who posted the news stories on facebook but they were a bit turned off by the big words), but you do a nice job summarizing throughout, so I’m sure it would be possible.

    Alas, this will never happen, but one can dream.

  97. #97 Andy Fox
    August 6, 2010

    I am no scientist, but after I first read this I thought to myself, “So are we supposed to stop eating FRUIT?” Because fruit is sweetened naturally with fructose. Then I concluded that this study is one of those many studies with overwrought conclusions and dismissed it.

  98. #98 Travis
    August 6, 2010

    Andy Fox, #96, I just had the though that perhaps this study is part of a conspiracy to drive us away from fruits and vegetables, people who think Carrot Juice is Murder

  99. #99 Medicien Man
    August 6, 2010

    @ mikerattlesnake:

    Due to unforeseen circumstances (my pecker cannot reach far enough to perform your requested inhumane act), it seems relatively impossible to perform your request, but I sincerely appreciate your wishful thinking. Better luck next time turdlicker. Go lay a fresh hot turd, and then lick on it like a lollipop, freeze, it and reuse it over and over again until you wear it out.

  100. #100 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 6, 2010

    Keep it classy, MM, keep it classy.

  101. #101 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 6, 2010

    Keep it classy, MM, keep it classy.

  102. #102 Big Blue
    August 6, 2010

    Cancer cells and entire humans have very different taste in cuisine. Is this news?

    Shit my tissue cultures think is awesome: fetal bovine serum, butyrate, yeast hydrolyzate, sugar syrup, enough vitamin B12 to turn any mixture into cherry koolaid, polyvinyl alcohol, some horrible amino acid mix that smells weirdly like Egg McMuffins.

    Things I love that would kill cancer cells in a petri dish: yogurt, Munster cheese, peaches, sauerbraten, strawberries, Riesling, chocolate-mint devil’s food cake, spinach salad with dried cranberries & chevre, tomatoes, ranch dressing. Yes, ranch dressing can kill cancer cells in a dish, even in small amounts (the buttermilk bacterial cultures outcompete the cells for nutrients).

    Shockingly, despite eating all those things every day for many years, I still somehow got cancer. I can’t imagine how this happened, unless of course it was that cancer is a complex set of diseases with numerous possible causes not limited to or even necessarily influenced significantly by diet alone.

    Maybe I wasn’t eating enough ranch dressing. Maybe I ate just enough sushi, and that was why I got better after surgery–I was on a real sushi craze while I had cancer, wasabi is wonderful for chemo-induced nausea. Clearly, the cure for cancer is sushi and chocolate-mint devil’s food cake.

    Or not.

  103. #103 Jud
    August 6, 2010

    Big Blue writes:

    chocolate-mint devil’s food cake

    First, hope your recovery/remission continues.

    Second, chocolate-mint devil’s food? Whoa. Gotta recipe?

  104. #104 julia
    August 7, 2010

    This may be a little OT, but what was said in this video made me avoid fructose like it’s the plague: http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=16717
    This person says that the fiber in fruit prevents excess fructose absorption. So, for the sake of people with syndrome X and type II diabetes he recommends no juices w/o the fiber. Is he also too sensationalist?
    Here is the website’s description of the video:

    Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.

  105. #105 Chris
    August 7, 2010

    julia:

    This person says that the fiber in fruit prevents excess fructose absorption.

    Which is completely stupid since fruit juice is short on fiber!

    I laugh at this because in my over twenty year old copy of What To Eat When You’re Expecting most if not all of the sweetener was apple juice concentrate.

    I actually got kind of tired of buying and thawing cans of frozen apple juice, so I called the food/recipe department helpline of the newspaper and asked why this was necessary, and what combination of sugar and water would be a good substitute. The namby-pamby answer I got was that fructose was much better than the evil sucrose!

    I just decided to chuck that advice and played with using regular sugar and substitute some form of liquid. I also used lots of ice to dilute fruit juice to kids (newsflash: apple juice can cause diarrhea, unlike actual apples! (which have pectin)… most kid juices are bulked up with apple juice no matter what the flavor).

    As it turns out, we now only really use one recipe from that book. My sixteen year old daughter makes the calcium rich smoothie: frozen fruit (blueberries and strawberries at the present), dried milk powder and some liquid milk… sugar to taste. Works for me.

  106. #106 Big Blue
    August 7, 2010

    @ Jud:

    Mint devil’s food cake:

    1 1/4 c. Dutch cocoa powder (Droste is very good)
    2 1/2 c. flour
    2 1/2 c. sugar
    2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
    1 1/4 tsp. salt
    3 eggs
    1 1/4 c. water
    1 1/4 c. buttermilk
    1 stick + 2 tbsp. butter, softened
    1 1/4 tsp. mint extract

    First mix the dry ingredients together evenly. Then dump in everything else and mix w/ electric mixer or stand mixer till batter-like. Bake @ 350F in greased & cocoa-powdered tins (floured tins will make it look funny). Can be baked as cupcakes for 20 min, or in layer pans for 35-45 minutes (depends on size of layer pan).

    Icing can be vanilla buttercream or, if you want to OD on chocolate, melt one package of chocolate chips in the microwave and quickly stir in a pint of room temperature sour cream. If you then store the sour-cream-icing’ed cake in the fridge, the icing sort of firms up and the cake will make these lovely restaurant-perfect slices.

    If for some reason you’re not in the mood for quite so much chocolate, you can also decrease the water in this recipe to something like 1/3-1/2 cup and mix in three mashed bananas, and make chocolate-covered banana cake. Nice with pistachios mixed in.

  107. #107 davep
    August 7, 2010

    Julia@104 “This may be a little OT, but what was said in this video made me avoid fructose like it’s the plague: http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=16717

    It’s an interesting video. Keep in mind that he’s talking about too much fructose (and sucrose) especially for sedentary people. Lots of sucrose in your diet isn’t any better/worse for you.

  108. #108 Alexander the Good Enough
    August 7, 2010

    Thank You Ian Musgrave for pointing up something that has been seriously bothering me throughout my perusal of this blog and comments. To wit, that the normally minute serum levels of fructose are likely to render any concerns about the effects of fructose on pancreatic cancer moot in vivo. I thought so.

    I am but a poor unlettered winemaker by trade, but by trade I do have almost daily concerns about sucrose/fructose/glucose, as all of these sugars are involved in winemaking. There is a very distinct difference in how yeast ferment sucrose, glucose and fructose (they quite prefer glucose). But more germane to the comments, I can tell you that from an organoleptic perspective, there is a very distinct difference between fructose and sucrose. Especially in acidic systems, fructose can be perceived as being as much as 30% sweeter than an equal amount of sucrose. Moreover, the sweetness of fructose is perceived rather more rapidly than sucrose and is cleaner and brighter, but then its sweetness dissipates rapidly as well. The sweetness of sucrose, OTOH, lingers significantly longer on the palate; it has a longer “tail” as we say. (Glucose, or dextrose when added in winemaking, is only 50-60% as sweet and has a bitter component to its flavor.) Generally, the most organoleptically pleasing sweetness comes from a 50/50 blend of sucrose and fructose. So those who say they can taste a difference between HFCS sweetened and sucrose sweetened products are no doubt correct. The difference is subtle, but when one has been trained to distinguish them as I have, it’s quite noticeable.

  109. #109 Passerby
    August 8, 2010

    Linking to the Wiki page on fructose would have been helpful, as uptake and transporter differences are important to differences in energy metabolism between glucose and fructose.

    The webpage also compares relative sweetness index and graphs change in consumer consumption rates of common sweetners. Sucrose consumption rates can be seen to decrease, while the increase in HFCS mirrors that of overall intake changes of sugars in US diet.

    Fructose causes very interesting changes in colonic microbial communities and in colon uptake of fructose by GLUT-2 transporter, through short-chain fatty acid feedback action on GLUT-2 promoter and expression enhancement. The catch is that diets high in simple sugars enhance microbial production of C-2 and C-3 fatty acids over C-4 (butyrate), that latter being an important apoptosis signal.

    Study Finds That Those With A GLUT2 Gene Variation Consistently Consume More Sugars, Regardless Of Age Or Sex (May 2008 paper, Physiological Genomics).
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107567.php

    So a common polymorphism of GLUT-2 may be involved in general tendency towards sugar over-consumption, and there could be upregulation of GLUT-2 transporter in pancreatic beta cells that are deprived of butyrate through other factors in diet, including type fats, and glycans/complex fiber intake.

    Even a quick scan of the medical lit shows that the molecular biology of pancreatic cell differentiation controls is complex.

    ORAC is correct: the authors jumped to conclusions that aren’t supported by their findings (per Ian’s comments) and call for policy changes that require careful consideration.

    Todays topic was a good post, ORAC.

  110. #110 Ian Musgrave
    August 9, 2010

    G’Day All

    I’ve converted my comment @86 into a blog post, where I’ve added diagrams and further commentary to make it clearer. The paper is even less impressive that I first thought.

  111. #111 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 9, 2010

    “Education is not the most important thing in the world. I know people who have mutiple high ranking degrees and are the dumbest people you will ever meet. Sure they can figure out the trajectory of an incoming missle launched from Pluto yesterday and tell us awhen and where it will hit, but unfortuantely they cannot chew aspartame laced gum and ties their shoe laces at the same time.”

    Not exactly a great argument: I also know plenty of people who do not have a higher education degree/diploma/certificate and it astounds me that they know how to breathe, let alone tie their shoelaces whilst chewing tooth-friendly gum. You presented a non sequitor.

    “Being intelligent and having an education is entirely two different things. Besides what is education these days with all the far left bias among professors. it’s more like indoctrination than education.”

    The first bit is quite accurate. The second – forget it. It’s not the direction of the bias: it’s the extremity of it. It happens on he right as well.

    “I have an Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Technology. I work with HAM radio equipment. I am a technician who builds, tests, and repairs HAM radio amplifiers, tuners, buffers, and many other related items. Then again it doesn’t take someone with a degree to do this. The degree only gets you more money and gets your foot in the door.”

    Maybe for your job it’s a foot in the door: for psychologists, teachers, medical practitioners and more – it’s a necessity. You can’t be a psychologist without having trained up to a particular standard: the law won’t let you. Even in the UK, where the term ‘psychologist’ in and of itself is not a protected term, the BPS won’t accept your claim to be one if you don’t qualify for eligibility to be a Graduate Member (even if you don’t have the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership). When I qualified, I had earned 8 points on the aggregate system (you need 5 to be eligible for GM). Amongst the requirements is a degree.

    “I know people who are better techs than I am and have virtually no college educastion at all. They learned it on their own. They actually make the best workers. less arrogant and more enthusiastic about what they do.”

    I’ve also met people who learned by themselves and who can be just as arrogant as graduates can get to be. Again – non sequitor.

    “Having a college degree isn’t all that. Just having your name on a peice of paper doesn’t mean you know what you are talking about. Ever heard of PZ Myers? I rest my case.”

    Wrong. Nice example,but still wrong. Having your name on a university degree certificate means that you should know what you’re on about. It means there’s no excuse for lazy thinking. It means that you have to be able to back up your claims. If you cannot do that – you should not have a degree! Simple as that.

    “Education is just a show of willpoer in learning. That’s all. The real learning takes place at the actual jobsite in the real world, not the classroom.”

    Again wrong. The educational aspects of anything are one part of the real learning. The on-the-job bit is also part of the real learning. In other words, it is all real learning. Because it also depends on the person doing the learning, not just the place(s) where the learning takes place.

  112. #112 mark
    August 10, 2010

    An observation: This debate reminds me of the global warming/climate change debate. It seems like anytime corporations and/or government are involved in scientific debate that there is a significantly higher amount of misinformation and disinformation with an undercurrent of emotion trumping scientific objectivity.

    I’m so glad to avoid HFCS at every opportunity. It makes me feel tired and lazy and leaves a significant unpleasant aftertaste for me.

  113. #113 Inquisitive Raven
    August 10, 2010

    @lovieanjel:

    Coke made with HFCS is kosher. Have you ever noticed that the cane sugar stuff not imported from Mexico is only available in the early spring? That’s because as a grain product, HCFS is considered leavening by the Ashkenazim and is therefore not kosher for Passover.

  114. #114 MadScientist
    August 16, 2010

    Oooo – the metabolism pathways for different sugars are different. That might have been news 80 years ago; by 50 years ago we expected all chemists to know that. Do the researchers have any interests in the refined glucose industry?

    Hmm … I’m thinking of a new paper to publish in the medical journals: water contributes to cancer cell growth. It will be an epic breakthrough in cancer prevention and treatment. Don’t drink any water whatsoever or eat any food with moisture in it – that’ll show the cancer cells who’s boss.

  115. #115 MadScientist
    August 16, 2010

    @Denice #13: Yep – no sugar in honey, just good ol’ healthy bee puke which cures everything from a runny nose to pancreatic cancer. After all the only True Sugar is table sugar. That’s a fairly typical sales pitch for the woo peddlers though.

    My only suggestion on dealing with reporters (and they come in all shapes of weasel – apologies to the mustelids – with some honest ones here and there) is to think before you say anything and stick to the nice boring facts; they often give up the game by trying to relate unrelated things or saying things starting with phrases like “you mean …”. The thing to do is tell them “no, that is not right” and don’t waste time explaining because they’ll pick words from your explanation. Reporters don’t bother me anymore. However, even my boss complains that I’m too much of a scientist; when meeting with people enthusiastic about paying for some research I’m the killjoy who gives ‘em the bare facts and never ever flirts with hypothetical situations about how wonderful the (as yet unknown) results will be. The only down side to that is that it *does* make it a bit more difficult to get funding for things because people seem more inclined to give money to the bullshit artist who says he’ll save the world.

    Oh, “no comment” is a great way to hang yourself – reporters interpret that as “write whatever you please and attribute it to me”.

  116. #116 MadScientist
    August 16, 2010

    @titmouse #24: Why “refined” sugar? Why, that’s so *obvious*. Everyone knows that Organic Raw Sugar is healthy while that chemically adulterated refined sugar takes away all of Nature’s Goodness. Yeah, go figure how the pure substance is what’s adulterated … there’s a reason we call what the woo peddlers spout “bullshit”.

  117. #117 MadScientist
    August 16, 2010

    @titmouse #24: Why “refined” sugar? Why, that’s so *obvious*. Everyone knows that Organic Raw Sugar is healthy while that chemically adulterated refined sugar takes away all of Nature’s Goodness. Yeah, go figure how the pure substance is what’s adulterated … there’s a reason we call what the woo peddlers spout “bullshit”.

  118. #118 Verimius
    August 17, 2010

    @Andy Fox #97

    Your body metabolizes fructose from fruit the same as Coca Cola. Just because it comes from nature, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

    Sounds like you have “religious” beliefs about fruit. We should apply our skepticism to nutrition as well as science and woo.

  119. #119 clayton
    August 20, 2010

    I have a question.

    What effects do all the nutrients (both macro and micro), polyphenols, antioxidants etc in a piece of fruit have on cancer cells in vitro? Isn’t comparing the consumption of fruit to drinking Coke a logical fallacy? Excuse be for being naive, but don’t all those things that are of constituents of fruit have an impact on the health of an individual. So have been shown to be beneficial some detrimental, i.e. ascorbic acids role in preventing scurvy, sugars contributing to dental carries. There is more to fruit than the ingredients in Coke, so simply saying that eating strawberries or fruit is akin to drinking a soda is disingenuous at best, and stupid at worst. I personally don’t care for soda, my mouth feels sticks for abput 10-20 minutes, give me a nice black espresso or cold press coffee thank you, “no sugar, I’m sweet enough”. Which isn’t to say I avoid sugar, I just prefer foods RICH in it as a pre, during and post ride food, and I don’t have insurance so I am trying to limit the risk of dental carries I could get as I get older.

  120. #120 Travis
    August 20, 2010

    Clayton, I think you are setting up a huge strawman here. From reading the above thread I did not see anyone say that drinking a Coke was the same as eating fruit in terms of how healthy it is overall. The issue was simply that both contain fructose, which was what this paper was discussing. I really doubt anyone would have a bone to pick with your statement that that the other things in fruit compared to Coke have a big impact on health. The comments were not indicating Coke was as healthy as fruit, but that they have some similarity, an abundance of fructose.

  121. #121 Chris
    August 20, 2010

    My issue is that fructose itself is being set up as some kind of evil stuff, even though it is in plenty of healthy food like fruits and vegetables.

    I am especially amused that it was recommended as a “healthy” sweetener in a book I bought a bit over twenty years ago. Apparently using thawed apple juice concentrate was fine and dandy then, but using the sweetener contained in it now is bad. See my previous comment on that here.

    People are forgetting it is not the type of sugar, but how much sugar you eat!

  122. #122 Travis
    August 20, 2010

    My concerns are similar to Chris’ statement. There is very little evidence that HFCS is intrinsically that bad.

    That said, the fact it is in so many things, hidden in food products because we have a bit of a sweet tooth, is probably not a good thing. But that is a separate issue and I dislike seeing those two issues conflated. A friend of mine recently sent me the lecture mention in #107 and she was mixing those two issues together. In the end her main concern was the amount of sugar we eat and how much is in our food but she initially was using arguments that treated the sugar itself as an evil thing.

  123. #123 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 20, 2010

    That said, the fact it is in so many things, hidden in food products because we have a bit of a sweet tooth, is probably not a good thing. But that is a separate issue and I dislike seeing those two issues conflated. A friend of mine recently sent me the lecture mention in #107 and she was mixing those two issues together. In the end her main concern was the amount of sugar we eat and how much is in our food but she initially was using arguments that treated the sugar itself as an evil thing.

    I read an article a while back by the guy who wrote the software that let the big financial institutions bundle different loan instruments with different individual risks together to make CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) with predictable risk profiles. Said CDOs are, as you’re probably aware, a major factor behind the current financial crisis.

    The programmer said that it was if all the companies had gotten together to combine different cuts of meat together to make sausages, and said “everything will be fine as long as the sausages contain no more than the USDA-approved amount of offal.” And then everyone looked up what that limit of offal was, and everyone assumed that they were the ones contributing the offal.

  124. #124 Chris
    August 25, 2010

    Jim Laidler has written an article at Science Based Medicine: High Fructose Corn Syrup: Tasty Toxin or Slandered Sweetener?. I have actually seen him give a presentation on the subject, and it was very fun (he has a wicked sense of humor).

  125. #125 Michael Castro
    January 4, 2011

    I agree with the general notion that extrapolations from basic science experiments may lead to erroneous conclusions, but perhaps that concern should be suspended in this case. When one takes Heaney’s paper in the context of what is known about the cancer outcome-metabolism relationship and other easily accessible information fructose and cancer, i.e. that cells aberrantly express fructose transport receptors, or that fructose bisphosphate accelerates glycolysis and energy production for cancer cells, I think that alarm bells should go off that fructose and HFCS “may well” hasten death in cancer patients. Actually, this paper joins a growing number of observations that metabolic factors play a sizable role reducing survival in cancer patients by roughly a third. It is no leap at all to conclude that the burden of proof that fructose is “safe” in cancer patients should now be on industry. In my judgement, the hilighted “potential danger” of this or any other substance is already a flashing yellow light. Short of the omniscience on this completely underfunded subject, you don’t need a randomized trial to tell you not to consume much fructose if you have a potentially fructose-sensitive cancer any more than you need a randomized trial to prove that you should look before you cross the street. Err on the side of passing up candy and soda unnecessarily rather than killing yourself faster from sophomore-level skepticism.

  126. #126 Ryan
    July 4, 2011

    Sugar is Sugar and whether it is refined or natural, man made or synthesized.I wish there were a better way to get that goodness.

  127. #127 Narad
    July 4, 2011

    Sugar is Sugar and whether it is refined or natural, man made or synthesized.I wish there were a better way to get that goodness.

    Are you resuscitating this thread as an official representative of the Arizona Back Institute?

  128. #128 Narad
    July 4, 2011

    Because, you know, they own the linkspammed domain and seem to be having a wee bit of trouble.

  129. #129 925 silver
    February 28, 2012

    but don’t all those things that are of constituents of fruit have an impact on the health of an individual. So have been shown to be beneficial some detrimental, i.e. ascorbic acids role in preventing scurvy, sugars contributing to dental carries. There is more to fruit than the ingredients in Wholesale silver jewelry, so simply saying that eating strawberries or fruit is akin to drinking a soda is disingenuous at best, and stupid at worst. I personally don’t care for soda, my mouth feels sticks for abput 10-20 minutes, give me a nice black espresso or cold press coffee thank you, “no sugar, I’m sweet enough”.

  130. #130 Margaret
    March 13, 2012

    I want to share this article about fructose. this article said that fructose is deadlier than what we think – http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/highfructose-corn-syrup-alters-human-metabolism.aspx

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