Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup Might Be Causing Cancer

High-fructose corn syrup has been demonized so much in the media this past year, that they recently tried to change the name to “corn sugar”.  And now the New York Times has an article saying that the Corn Refiners Association is right: there’s no difference between high-fructose corn syrup and sugar, because they’re both just awful for you. And not just in the way you already know about, namely that sugars are just empty calories which make you fat which lead to a whole host of health problems. But rather, the fructose in both sugar (50% fructose) and high-fructose corn syrup (55% fructose) is bad for us (at the levels that most Americans consume it).

The story is that you’d need to eat a LOT of natural food like fruits and such to get the equivalent amount of fructose the average person now eats in a day. And when our livers process a lot of fructose, it gets turned into fat which makes us and our livers fatter (even if the wasitline stays the same), which in turn causes insulin resistance (aka “metabolic syndrome”), which is known to cause heart disease. The kicker is that insulin resistance may also cause and feed cancer. This is because insulin resistance causes our body to make more insulin, which leads to elevated levels of insulin in our blood, and apparently tumors may be using insulin as fuel to grow.

However, all of this is more or less conjecture at this point: there’s no conclusive evidence for any of it, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest the above may be true. For example, diabetes, obesity and cancer all exploded around the same time the West started consuming a lot more sugar. And cultures that don’t consume a lot of sugar, like Asians and Eskimos, don’t have a lot of diabetes or cancer.  And last year, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association announced that people with diabetes are more prone to get cancer.

So, there is a lot correlation, but not much if any causation. The theory sounds plausible, but has yet to be proven. What is proven is that even if sugar doesn’t cause insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease and cancer directly, it still does nothing good and still makes people fat, which does cause heart disease, diabetes and cancer. So it’s probably good to stay away from it, and who knows, you may be avoiding cancer.

But just so you don’t think it’s all bad, Gomestic has a list of good uses for sugar, none of which involve eating it:

  1. Make plants (cut or in the ground) live longer
  2. Soothes burning tongue
  3. Makes baked goods last longer
  4. Starts fires
  5. Great hand cleaner
  6. Kill wasps, cockroaches and flies

Mmmm…. tasty.

From The New York Times


  1. More Anti-Sugar Advice | Apt46 - pingback on June 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm
  2. Habits Of The Fat And Skinny | Apt46 - pingback on July 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm
  3. Sugar Does Cause Heart Disease | Apt46 - pingback on November 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm
  4. Shocker: Paula Deen Has Diabetes | Apt46 - pingback on January 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm
  5. Scientists Say Sugar Should Be Treated Like Alcohol | Apt46 - pingback on February 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm
  6. Cadbury Eggs Of Sugar | Apt46 - pingback on March 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm
  7. More Evidence For The Toxicity Of Sugar | Apt46 - pingback on April 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm
  8. Evaporated Cane Juice Is Actually Just Sugar | Apt46 - pingback on October 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Trackbacks and Pingbacks: