Prepared Foods August 16, 2004 enewsletter

In response to a recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, the Sugar Association is questioning the study's claim that breast cancer is connected to sucrose consumption.

"While the data for Mexico seems alarming, for women in the U.S., there should be little concern, since statistics show that per capita consumption of sucrose in the U.S. has been on the decline over the past three decades, yet breast cancer cases have remained comparatively steady," stated Dr. David McCarron.

The association further noted that the following shortcomings do not support the authors' theories:

* According to the Institutes of Medicine's (IoM) 2002 report which analyzed the diets of over 25,000 individuals, "Based on the data available on dental caries, behavior, cancer, risk of obesity and risk of hyperlipidemia, there is insufficient evidence to set an upper limit for added sugars." Sucrose was part of the added sugars considered in the IoM report.

* Although the percent of energy from fat was lower in the women with verified breast cancer, the actual number of calories from fat was greater than for women in the control group. This point is critical because the vast majority of breast cancer studies like this have repeatedly shown the significantly positive association between dietary fat and breast cancer, not carbohydrates, in particular, sucrose.

* World breast cancer statistics in the World Health Organization databank show that Mexico with its "historically high level of carbohydrate intake" has breast cancer mortality rates far lower than countries that historically have a diet rich in mono-saturated fat (the good fats).

"We encourage consumers to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating balanced diets and being active on a regular basis," said Andy Briscoe, president and CEO of the Sugar Association.

"Sugar (sucrose) is all natural and only 15 calories per teaspoon. It has played an important role in our food supply for centuries, from taste to food safety to making food palatable. And sugar will continue to be an important ingredient in the food supply."