Think your 3 p.m. Coca-Cola pick-me-up isn’t a huge problem? You might want to reconsider. New research revealed that your sugary soda addiction could actually cause serious health problems — even cancer.
According to The Sun, it was the increase in bowel cancer cases in people under 35 that spurred the interest of Dr. Lewis Cantley, of Cornell University, to look for answers. Cantley, along with his colleagues, suspected that an increased consumption of high-fructose corn syrup was to blame.
To test the theory, cancer-prone mice were fed high-fructose corn syrup (amounting to about one can of Coke per day for a human). The study showed that the tumors were “directly eating the sugar… the cancer was using fructose and glucose together to more than double its growth rate.”
Excluding skin cancers, bowel cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 51,000 people will die of colorectal cancer. Despite overall fatality rates dropping since the 1980s thanks to early detection, those born after 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and four-times the risk of rectal cancer compared with people born around 1950.
It’s important to note that this study was conducted on mice who were engineered to be more prone to cancer, so how well this information translates to human beings is questionable at this time. Still, it’s worth noting how closely linked sugar and cancer are (as well as sugar an obesity), and it might be just the push you need to cut more high fructose corn syrup from your diet.
Originally published March 26, 2019.