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'Junk Food' Sugar May Help Some Fat Cells Proliferate
Date:6/20/2010

But lab study needs further testing in humans, experts say

SUNDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that the ubiquitous sugar known as fructose may cause certain fat cells in children to multiply faster, which might play a key role in childhood and adult obesity.

Fructose is a component of high-fructose corn syrup, which is widely used in a variety of foods, including soft drinks, candy and many processed foods.

But although the new studies did use cells taken from children, they were performed only in test tubes and experts called for caution in interpreting the findings.

"You can't draw a conclusion based on a single study, and this study was not done in humans [only human cells]. We need to take that into consideration," said Keri Gans, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

That said, childhood (and adult) obesity is a legitimate and growing concern around the world. This condition ups the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and a host of other diseases. Some of this is already being played out among young people.

"We're seeing more type 2 diabetes in children, and that's due to children being overweight," Gans said. "What's even scarier is that children are increasing their risk for developing heart disease earlier."

Experts have noted a rise in blood pressure and cholesterol levels in overweight children.

"The fear is that this generation might be the first generation that might not outlive their parents," Gans said.

According to the research, which is to be presented Sunday at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Diego, high-fructose corn syrup is becoming more prevalent in American foods than sucrose.

The authors, led by doctoral candidate Georgina Coade at the University of Bristol in Britain, extracted pre-adipocytes -- the cells that eventually turn into fat cells -- from 32 children who wer
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