Corn Syrup Causes Cancer…In Mice

When extrapolating from rodent models doesn’t quite work

Pictured: Cancer, probably
Pictured: Endless abyss

Mindless Mice

The recent study and ensuing panic is a classic example of what happens when science reporting goes wrong. The study itself was fairly simple — researchers looked at whether high-fructose corn syrup was associated with an increased risk of bowel cancer. They found that, while it didn’t make more tumors appear, corn syrup did make any tumors that did appear bigger at intake amounts roughly equivalent to a can of Coke a day. In other words, a can of soda per day made tumors bigger, on average, which is what we scientists like to call “not ideal”.

Pictured: Science, probably
Pictured: Poison for mice? Maybe. For humans? Well, also maybe, but maybe not specifically cancer

Sweet, Sweet Truth

Whenever you see a headline talking about risks that only involves research in mice, it’s a good idea to check if we’ve looked at the same thing in people. It turns out, with sugar and cancer, we already have.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store