Tuesday, December 6, 2011

High Sugar Consumption as Risk Factor for Pancreatic Cancer

Several latest researches came to the similar conclusion that that hyperglycemia (an unusually high level of sugar in the blood) and hyperinsulinemia (excess levels of insulin circulating in the blood than expected relative to the level of glucose) may be implicated in the development of pancreatic cancer. Frequent consumption of sugar and high-sugar foods may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by inducing frequent postprandial hyperglycemia (an exaggerated rise in blood sugar following a meal), increasing insulin demand, and decreasing insulin sensitivity.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Karolinska Institutet Study

Pancreatic cancer is among the most deadly cancers: the overall 5-y survival rate is only ≈5%. Because of this poor prognosis, identification of modifiable risk factors for pancreatic cancer is extremely important. Evidence is mounting that abnormal glucose metabolism and hyperinsulinemia may be involved in the development of pancreatic cancer. It was confirmed that the high consumption of sweetened food and drink increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to a 2006 study from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. A heavy intake of fizzy drinks, creamed fruit and sugar in coffee are three common ways of increasing the risk.

Pancreatic cancer is a very serious form of cancer that is possibly caused when the pancreas produces heightened levels of insulin as a consequence of upset glucosemetabolism. A well-known way of increasing insulin production is to eat a lot of sugar. Scientists have now shown that the consumption of sweetened food and drink affects a person's chances of developing pancreatic cancer.

The study began in 1997 when scientists ran a dietary survey of almost 80,000 healthy women and men. This group was subsequently monitored until June 2005. According to the cancer registry, 131 people from this group had developed cancer of the pancreas.

The researchers have now been able to show that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is related to the amount of sugar in the diet. Most at risk were those who drank high quantities of fizzy or syrup based (squash) drinks. The group who said that they drank such products twice a day or more ran a 90% higher risk than those who never drank them. People who added sugar to food or drinks (e.g. coffee) at least five times a day ran a 70% greater risk than those who did not. People who ate creamed fruit (a product resembling runny jam) at least once a day also ran a higher risk. They developed the disease 50% more often than those who never ate creamed fruit.

Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research Study

In a 2010 study of nearly 1,000 Italian adults with and without pancreatic cancer, researchers found that those whose diets were high in so-called "glycemic index" showed a greater risk of the cancer than participants whose diets were relatively low-glycemic index.

Glycemic index refers to how rapidly a food causes blood sugar to rise. High-glycemic index foods, like white bread and potatoes, tend to spur a quick elevation in blood sugar, while low-glycemic index foods, such as lentils, soybeans, yogurt and many high-fiber grains, create a more gradual increase in blood sugar.

In the new study, researchers found no relationship between the total carbohydrates in participants' diets and their risk of pancreatic cancer. And when they focused on fruit intake, higher consumption was related to a lower risk of the disease.

In contrast, there was a relationship between increased pancreatic cancer risk and higher intakes of sugar, candy, honey and jam. This suggests that sugary, processed carbohydrates -- rather than carbs like fiber-rich grains, fruits and vegetables -- may be particularly linked to pancreatic cancer.

Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Study

The study based the research on the two facts: high sugar intake may be considered as risk factor for diabetes, and established causal link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer. This study has been mostly focused on the danger of consuming sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

It is known already that sugar-sweetened soft drinks may increase the risk of diabetes due to their large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, rapidly raising blood glucose. Soft drinks are the leading source of added sugar in the U.S. diet, thereby contributing to a high glycemic index of the diet and promoting the development of obesity and diabetes. In a recent analysis of participants in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with both greater weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, independent of known risk factors. Sugar-sweetened soft drinks might also increase risk of type 2 diabetes due to their readily absorbable carbohydrates. Due to the large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, which has similar effects on blood glucose as sucrose, consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks might therefore contribute to a high glycemic load of the overall diet, a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. In addition, cola-type soft drinks contain caramel coloring, which is rich in advanced glycation end-products that might increase insulin resistance.

Interesting enough, but this study did not reach its goal - a significant increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer among participants who reported higher consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks weekly when compared with those who largely abstained has not been observed. Despite the effects on blood glucose and sucrose that any sugar-sweetened soft drinks have, and the potential of cola-type soft drinks to increase insulin resistance, we did not observe consistent differences between cola and other soft drinks for both sugar-sweetened and diet soft drinks, and diet cola was generally not associated with pancreatic cancer risk.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota

While the previous study has not found substantial causal relationship between drinking sugar-added soft drinks, another study on Singaporeans confirmed that the regular consumers of sugary soft drinks are at higher risk for pancreatic cancer than fruit juice drinkers or the general population.

It was shown that Chinese men and women living in Singapore who drank two or more soft drinks per week were 87 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer after the researchers adjusted for factors such as smoking. "In this large prospective cohort of Chinese men and women in Singapore, those who reported regular soft drink consumption were at increased risk of pancreatic cancer when compared with those who largely abstained," Mark Pereira, of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, and colleagues wrote. "There was no association between consumption of juice and risk of pancreatic cancer."

Research has shown that insulin promotes pancreatic cancer cell growth, and some researchers think sugary foods could result in blood sugar and insulin fluctuations that expose the pancreas to high concentrations of insulin.


Given the gloomy prospects for surviving pancreatic cancer rates and the fact that there is no screening test and very few treatment options, anything you can do to reduce your risk is definitely worth considering. Even if the link between sugar consumption and pancreatic cancer would not be so conclusive, sugar is a non-nutrient that damages health in a number of ways and contributes to the growing obesity epidemic. And sugar-added drinks are on the top of the pyramid of the most undesired food products in our diet anyway. So, maybe it is time to cut them off?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sources and Additional Information:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...