Taiwan's 'hidden sugar diet' leads to pancreatic cancer: expert

Nutritionist lists Taiwanese staple foods packed with cancer-causing sugar

(Photo from pxhere)

(Photo from pxhere)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Beyond super, sugary drinks, common staple foods in the Taiwanese diet may also increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

A recent study by Academia Sinica has confirmed that abnormal glucose metabolism is a major risk factor for pancreatic cancer. In addition to the obvious culprits in the Taiwanese diet such as sweet beverages, there are other commonly consumed foods that many may not realize are chock-full of sugar or will cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket.

A research study by Academica Sinica has found that more than 90 percent of pancreatic cancer patients have a genetic mutation called KRAS and that sugar is one of the main causes of this mutation. Sugary drinks have been singled out as a major culprit for the excessive levels of sugar in the Taiwanese diet.

However, nutritionist at Neihu Cathay Clinic told SETN that white rice, bread, white noodles, pastries, and thickening agents, are all refined starches which can easily stimulate the secretion of insulin. The nutritionist also said foods that contain complex mixtures of seasonings such as barbecues, spaghetti sauce, or soups often include high levels of sugar for flavoring.

The nutritionist said that the makers of lemon-flavored drinks often add large amounts of sugar to balance out the acidity. Acidic drinks often contain three times more sugar than sugar-free drinks, said the nutritionist.

Despite efforts to avoid obvious sources of sugar, many consumers may still be consuming high quantities through these "invisible sources," said the nutritionist. The expert recommended consumers pay more attention to their daily diet, otherwise, they may find themselves at increased risk of contracting pancreatic cancer, as well as other diseases such as diabetes.