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Breast cancer tumours may be influenced by daily sugar intake

January 4th, 2016

We’ve all been warned about sugar and its potential to wreak havoc on everything from our teeth to our waistline. But those with a sweet tooth may now also face increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The study, published in the online edition of the Cancer Research journal has found that high levels of sugar found in fizzy drinks and junk foods could be causing breast cancer.

The researchers fed mice a sugar-rich Western diet and found not only increased levels of tumour growth in the breast, but also a greater potential for that cancer to spread (metastasise) to the lungs.

The mice were mainly fed sucrose, which is a key ingredient of table sugar and often added to fizzy drinks and juices as well as foods like processed meats, ketchup and pasta sauces. It is also found in some chip and chocolate products.

Mice that were given non-sugar diets richer in starch were less likely to develop cancer, according to the research findings.

Co-author Dr Peiying Yang said, “We found that sucrose intake in mice comparable to levels of Western diets led to increased tumour growth and metastasis, when compared to a non-sugar starch diet.”

The increase in consumption of sugar-rich drinks has been routinely identified as a key factor in the rise of obesity, heart disease and cancer across the world. The authors of the study claim identifying risk factors for tumour growth and metastasis is a top public health priority, and that these findings further support the idea that moderate sugar consumption is critical.