Cancer Cells LOVE Fructose - The "ReTox Diet"

August 16, 2010

Cancer Cells LOVE Fructose 

 Reference;  Cancer Therapy, August 1, 2010  Heaney et al 

 We know that cancer cells can use glucose for energy.  That’s common knowledge.  But table sugar is made of two compounds bonded together.  One is glucose, the other is fructose.  High fructose corn syrup (HCFS) is actually very similar to table sugar in that it is 55% fructose and 45% glucose.  So, really not much different.  We always assumed that fructose was a sugar because it tasted sweet, just like glucose.  In fact, it is sweeter, more stable, comes in a liquid form and cheaper, which is why food manufacturers like it.  In the last 30 years, our consumption of HFCS has gone up 1000% (ten fold).  

Fructose is actually not in the same chemical class as glucose.  Glucose and most other sugars are actually alcohols in chemical structure.  They have an –OH group on the end.  Fructose is an aldehyde and has a –O- at the end.  Very different.  We do know humans have never seen fructose in their diets in human evolution except in fruit until the advent of table sugar, 300 – 400 years ago.  Now, in the last 100 years, we have increased our sugar consumption 10 fold.  We also know that fructose is metabolized only in our livers and nowhere else.  In the liver, it is changed into fat.  When that occurs, it also turns on the activity of a protein called JNK-1 that raises our inflammation.  

We know these problems with fructose.  In essence, fructose turns on the production of bad fats and inflammation.  It may taste like a sugar, but it eats like a nasty high-fat food.  Is that enough for you? Well, no!  It now gets worse.  What Dr. Heaney and his paper report this week is that pancreatic cells just love fructose.  They clearly recognize it as something different than glucose and use it differently.  We have always assumed that fructose and glucose were both sweet, both sugars, and both used interchangeably by cellular metabolism.  Simply not so!  Our cells are much more sophisticated than that.  A tiny little chemical bond changes the whole story and the whole pathway.  It stimulates the cancer cells to turn on the transketolase-driven non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway to generate nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of RNA and DNA, which the cancer cells need to multiply and divide.  

Put that in plain English.  Cancer cells use fructose to fuel their proliferation.  They divide faster!  Fructose turns on the pathway that makes more DNA and RNA for the cancer cell.  Ouch, ouch, and ouch! This should be a clarion call.  This research was done in a petri dish in a lab.  It was only with pancreatic cancer.  You could argue that “it hasn’t been proven yet”.  All true.  My hunch is that this type of basic metabolism will apply to all cancers.  Certainly, it opens the door to a lot of research.  And there is already enough reason to not use sugar for fructose’s effect on inflammation and your heart.  Any organs left that it doesn’t damage? 

 WWW. What will work for me?  This is really bad news.  I like sugar.  In fact, when I’m tired and stressed and someone puts sugar in front of me, I’m a goner.  I slurp it up, just like those cancer cells.  I’m clearly going to have to do some intentional mind games to make me motivated to stop eating the stuff.  I’m off sugared sodas and teas. I don’t do much ice cream anymore.  But brownies.  Oh….. brownies…..   I’m going to have to visually imagine nasty little cancer cells greedily chomping away at me with the same enthusiasm I have for the brownie.

This column written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI. (262-784-5300)