Fructose and Pancreatic Cancer

By August 30, 2008Uncategorized

In Sweet Poison (at page 126), I reported on the results of two recent large scale studies which linked pancreatic cancer with fructose.  The 2002 study analysed data from the Nurses Health Study (an 18 year data collection exercise involving 88,802 nurses) and concluded that women who were overweight, sedentary and had a high fructose intake were almost three times as likely to develop pancreatic cancer.  The 2006 study by the Karolinska Institute found that people drinking two or more (full strength) soft drinks a day were at 90 per cent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those who didn’t.  

A more recent study that I didn’t mention in the book appears to reinforce the possibility of a strong link between this dreadful disease and fructose.   Researchers at the University of Hawaii and University of Southern California analysed food consumption data for 162,150 participants in the Hawaii-Los Angeles Multiethnic Cohort Study.   They were looking for a relationship between a food’s glycemic index (or how fast and how bright it burns in the human furnace) and the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
They couldn’t establish that link or even a link between pancreatic cancer and the amount of added sugar in a person’s diet.  But what did fall out of the work was a ‘significant association’ between overall fructose consumption and the risk of developing the disease.  This 2007 study was reliant on the results of questionnaires completed by participants and needs to be treated with caution (we’re always taller, thinner and eat less when answering questionnaires).   But it does back up the other research I mentioned and certainly indicates an interesting area for more explicit studies.
If you want to read the study, you’ll need to pick up a subscription to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and seek out the November 2007 issue (Vol 86, No. 5 at page 1,495).  If you’re happy with the extract, here’s the link.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Kayaman says:

    This post immediately reminded me of the following quote from Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, who was a fruitarian during the 1970s and diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

    “I was actually a fruitarian at that point in time. I ate only fruit….we were about three months late in filing a fictitious business name so I threatened to call the company Apple Computer unless someone suggested a more interesting name by five o’clock that day. Hoping to stimulate creativity. And it stuck. And that’s why we’re called Apple.”

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