Fructose – is it really just like sugar?

Some things in our diet and I use the word ’things’ advisedly, should be avoided at all costs to protect our health. This seems pretty obvious, but we are not always given the correct information to make informed decisions regarding what is good or bad for our health. I saw a prime example of this in a recent TV commercial. A concerned father was talking about the role of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our diets and suggesting that our body can’t tell the difference between ordinary sugar and HFCS. This tactic is aimed at guiding the general public into accepting HFCS as a food additive, why wouldn’t you accept it, if it is the same as sugar?

What does this mean, ‘our body can’t tell the difference between ordinary sugar and HFCS’? I assume it means that we can’t tell the difference in taste between foods containing sugar and HFCS, but I may be wrong. If the advert was inferring that our body treats HFCS and ordinary sugar in the same way, then avert is definitely wrong.

HFCS is replacing natural cane sugar in our diets, because it is a cheaper option, is easy to transport and keeps foods moist. Since fructose is so sweet, it is cost effective for companies to use small quantities of HCFS in place of more expensive sweeteners or flavorings. All good news if you produce or sell products containing HFCS. What of our health?

Recently, important issues regarding the safety of HFCS have been raised. Researchers from UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that pancreatic cancers use fructose to fuel their growth, and that cancer cells process fructose differently than glucose (so our body can tell the difference after all). Although it is widely known that cancer cells use glucose as an energy source. Fructose is used in a different way. Cancer cells use fructose to make the building blocks of new cells (even cancer cells can tell the difference). This is the first time a link has been shown between fructose and cancer proliferation. The modern, Western diet, contains a large amount of refined sugar including fructose and with it, a hidden danger implicated in a lot of modern diseases, including obesity, diabetes, fatty liver and cancer cell growth.


To avoid all of the bad publicity, the Corn Refiners Association has asked the FDA to rename ‘corn syrup’ as ‘corn sugar’, so don’t be fooled. Reducing (or preferably eliminating) fructose and other added sugars, as well as limiting grain carbohydrates from your diet, should be a primary priority for everyone, but this dietary strategy should certainly be part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan.

Severely reducing intake of fructose and dietary carbohydrates, will you help stave off potential cancer growth, and “starve” any tumours present. It also bolsters your overall immune function, because sugar decreases immune function system almost immediately.

Unfortunately, few cancer patients undergoing conventional cancer care in the US are offered scientifically guided nutrition therapy beyond being told to “just eat healthy foods”. Many cancer patients would see major improvement in their outcome if they controlled the supply of cancer’s preferred fuel, glucose, and stayed clear of fructose to significantly reduce tumor proliferation.

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Site authors: Professor Rodney Bilton, Dr Larry Booth, and Joseph Bilton M.Sc B.Sc