If you are in the habit of reading food labels, you’ll notice that high-fructose corn syrup appears in quite a few foods and drinks. Over the years, it’s become a staple in soda and candy, but has also become an integral part of other common foods, such as salad dressing and canned fruit. There is substantial research to support that, on the whole, high-fructose corn syrup is generally bad for you, but recent studies reveal a possible link between high-fructose corn syrup consumption and colon cancer. Read on to learn more about why high-fructose corn syrup should not be a part of your diet.

What Is High-Fructose Corn Syrup?

High-fructose corn syrup is an artificial sweetener made from corn. Overall, the body handles fructose consumption and breakdown differently than other sugars, and consuming too much of it is simply bad for your health. It’s also easily converted into fat rather than fuel, so consuming too much high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can heighten your risk of excessive weight gain or obesity. HFCS has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and is also thought to be a factor in other health problems, such as inflammation, gout, heart disease, and reduced life expectancy.

High-Fructose Consumption and Colon Cancer

A recent study in the journal Science looked at the effects of consuming 12 ounces of a high-fructose corn syrup-fueled beverage in mice who were already predisposed to the development of colon cancer. Overall, researchers found that the consumption of daily HFCS led to the acceleration of the development of tumors in the mice. Obviously, more research is needed to provide a direct correlation between colon cancer and the consumption of sugary drinks, but many researchers are pointing to a higher prevalence of colon cancer in recent years with younger patients, wondering if there is a solid connection between HFCS and the development of colorectal or colon cancer. As high-fructose corn syrup already is correlated with other serious health problems and concerns, it’s a wise choice to limit consumption of HFCS itself and sugary beverages.

Colon Cancer Risk Factors

The mice in the aforementioned study were already predisposed to the development of polyps, which are the precursors to colon cancer. There are many risk factors associated with the development of colon cancer in humans, and while some are genetic, some are behavioral and can be changed. If you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, it is wise to let your doctor know and have an earlier screening. Also, those with inherited syndromes (such as Lynch syndrome) or those of African-American or Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a higher incidence of colon cancer.

When it comes to risk factors you can change, patients are advised to quit smoking and reduce or stop alcohol consumption. Heavy or alcoholic drinking has been linked with colon cancer. Red and processed meat consumption are also linked to colon cancer, especially in women.

Obesity and leading a sedentary lifestyle are two of the most prevalent risk factors when it comes to colorectal cancer. Patients are advised to eat a healthy diet full of lean meats, leafy greens, and whole grains, and to exercise as regularly as possible. As high-fructose corn syrup is a direct link to many cases of obesity, it’s wise to avoid it for this reason alone. If you need more information about colon cancer risk factors or wish to schedule a screening for a colonoscopy or checkup, request an appointment with Cary Gastroenterology today. We offer three different office locations, including one completely dedicated to the GI health of women.