A New Claim On Sugar: Is It Related To Breast Cancer?

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Many researches have been carried out on sugar consumption in the last years. As the studies are published, the speculations on sugar are evaluated without separating right from wrong. A new research was added to these in the past months. The link between sugar consumption and breast cancer! It was met with a lot of interest in the media when the subject was sugar. The newspapers were titled "Studies suggest sugar in fizzy drinks and ketchup may be linked with breast cancer". So how deeply were these studies examined? Here is the study describing the relation of sugar consumption with breast cancer, in detail;

- Three different types of mice models were used in the study: mice genetically carrying breast cancer, mice injected with human breast cancer cells, and mice injected with breast cancer cells with which cancer has spread to lungs.

- Mice in three groups were randomly fed with four or five groups of diet. In these diets, separate forms of sugars (sucrose, glucose and fructose) were given to mice in different quantities. No sugar was used in the control group.

- The mice were examined when they were six months old. Breast cancer tumors developed with mice that carried breast cancer genetically and did not consume any sugar. The mice that consumed 125g, 250g, and 500g sucrose (tea sugar) per kilogram of weight per day also developed tumors. Furthermore, the weight of these tumors were significantly higher that the ones that didn't consume sugar. Thus it was concluded that tea sugar consumption accelerates tumor formation and speeds up its development.

- Similar results were also observed with the group that were injected with breast cancer tumor. The weight of the tumor was again higher than that of the control group and the spread of the tumor to lungs was also observed to be faster with the group that consumed tea sugar.

- When the focus was on separate sugar types, fructose was considered to have a stronger effect in tumor development.

- The study was made with mice so there has to be long term examinations on the human nutrition system in order to see if the same effect can be observed with human beings as well.

- It is rather difficult to identify if the amount of sugar consumed by mice may proportionally be taken in humans nutrition. The sugar consumption amounts differ from one country to another and even one person to another in the same society. Therefore it is not known how many grams of sugar should be consumed by humans to observe the same effect.

- According to a report by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), solely sugar consumption may not be related to breast cancer. Many environmental factors such as consumption of other foods, nutritional habits, and physical activities are also effective in development of breast cancer.

- 27 percent of breast cancer cases in England are linked with other preventable risk factors such as being overweight or alcohol consumption according to Cancer Research UK Report. The article of Public Health Institution of Turkey on breast cancer also dwells on environmental factors such as balanced diets, maintaining ideal weight, limiting alcohol consumption and regular exercising in breast cancer prevention.

- All of the sugar added to foodstuff in food industry also exist naturally in nutriments such as honey and fruit juices.

- World Health Organization (WHO) states that sugar consumption differs depending on countries in Europe. The figures may vary between 7 to 17 percent in adults and 12 to 25 percent in children. According to the 2010 Turkey Nutrition and Health Survey data: the consumption rate of foodstuff such as candy, Turkish delight, chocolate everyday is 7.4 percent with individuals of 19 years of age and over. According to Childhood Obesity in Turkey (COSI-TUR, 2013) the consumption rate of bars, chocolates and candies everyday is 14.4 percent with children of 7-8 years of age.

- Jiang et al. A Sucrose-Enriched Diet Promotes Tumorigenesis in Mammary Gland in Part through the 12-Lipoxygenase Pathway. Cancer Research: 76(1). January 1, 2016. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/76/1/24.full.pdf+html?sid=151bd298-0928-4ce4-a4b8-16e051f666b1
- http://www.wcrf.org/int/research-we-fund/continuous-update-project-findings-reports/breast-cancer
- http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/breast-cancer
- T.C. Sağlık Bakanlığı, Türkiye Halk Sağlığı Kurumu, Kanser Daire Başkanlığı. Meme Kanseri. http://kanser.gov.tr/kanser/kanser-turleri/49-meme-kanseri.html
- Sağlık Bakanlığı Sağlık Araştırmaları Genel Müdürlüğü, Hacettepe Üniversitesi Sağlık Bilimleri Fakültesi Beslenme ve Diyetetik Bölümü, Ankara Numune Eğitim ve Araştırma Hastanesi. Türkiye Beslenme ve Sağlık Araştırması 2010: Beslenme Durumu ve Alışkanlıklarının Değerlendirilmesi Sonuç Raporu. Sağlık Bakanlığı Yayın No: 931, Ankara 2014.
- Türkiye Çocukluk Çağı (7-8 Yaş) Şişmanlık Araştırması (COSI-TUR), 2013 Sağlık Bakanlığı, Türkiye Halk Sağlığı Kurumu, Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı, Hacettepe Üniversitesi, Sağlık Bakanlığı Yayın No: 921, Ankara ve 2014

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