Researchers examined the risks associated with those who drink sugar-sweetened carbonated drinks, versus those who don’t consume these beverages.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer, and only 5 per cent of people who are diagnosed are known to survive five years later, according to the American Cancer Society. About 3,900 Canadians were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. Globally, that number is about 230,000.
“The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth,” lead researcher Mark Pereira of the University of Minnesota said in a statement. Insulin helps the body metabolize sugar, and is produced in the pancreas.
Pereira and his colleagues followed 60,524 men and women in Singapore for 14 years. Over that period, researchers found:
- 140 of the volunteers developed pancreatic cancer.
- An 87 per cent higher risk of developing cancer for those who drank two or more soft drinks per week.
- No link found between drinking fruit juice and developing pancreatic cancer.
Pereira says the findings would apply to western countries as well.
“Singapore is a wealthy country with excellent healthcare. Favourite pastimes are eating and shopping, so the findings should apply to other western countries,” he said.
He points out that while sugar may be to blame, those who drink sugar-sweetened soda often have other poor health habits.
Jennifer Sygo, a nutritionist with the Cleveland Clinic, says there isn’t the same level of research available for sugar as there is for salt. But she points out guidelines by the American Heart Association, which recommends:
- Women should not consume more than 25 grams of added sugar a day (6.5 teaspoons);
- Men should not consume more than 38 grams of added sugar a day (9.5 teaspoons).
Sygo told Canada AM on Monday that just by cutting sugar intake by half, or even one-third, it would make a big difference. For those who just need their sugar fix, she recommends a cup of juice a day, then water or a Perrier if you need some carbonation.
The health dangers which ingesting sugar on an habitual basis creates are certain. Simple sugars have been observed to aggravate asthma, move mood swings, provoke personality changes, muster mental illness, nourish nervous disorders, deliver diabetes, hurry heart disease, grow gallstones, hasten hypertension, and add arthritis.
The list of health problems associated with sugar is quite lengthy and growing by the year. Some generalities include the following:
- mood swings
- panic attacks
- mineral deficiencies
- adrenal gland depletion
- candida overgrowth
- increased cholesterol levels
- chronic fatigue
Then we get into the more serious diseases and disorders, as cancers, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Sugar, even in small amounts, suppresses the immune system making it easier to succumb to the various ailments. It should be noted though that there is a very significant difference between white refined sugar and naturally occurring complex sugars found in whole foods.
Here again is a list of ways sugar can affect your health:
To be sure, sugar is needed by the body for energy. However, far too many people are getting too much of a good thing – way too much.
Excessive sugar consumption is the major cause of an imbalance of all minerals especially:
- cobalt (necessary for vitamin B12)
- chromium (together with insulin, stimulates cells to absorb and metabolize sugar)
This imbalance leads to degenerative diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, some anemias, and diabetes Studies have shown that individuals who continued on a high fiber diet for several months showed increased normalization of blood sugar levels. High fiber diets also lessen the sugar in the urine, and lowers fasting blood sugar levels and medication requirements.
Diets which include 20-35 grams of fiber per day is the ideal amount. Good sources of fiber are the following:
- dry or cooked oat bran
- cooked oatmeal
- black-eyed peas
- kidney or pinto beans
- split peas
- butter beans
- fresh peas
- baked potatoes with skins
- brussels sprouts
Just when we got the hang of baking with applesauce instead of oil and forgoing Chips Ahoy for SnackWell’s, the diet gurus throw us another curveball: Forget counting fat grams, they say. The real villain is sugar!
According to a slew of recent diet books, it’s sugar, not fat, that causes chronic overeating and adds extra pounds that wont budge. Their solution: Slash sugar from the diet completely.
Give wonderful, delicious sugar the boot (gulp) forever? We couldn’t bear it. So we asked leading nutrition experts to give it to us straight, Before you consider dumping your Twizzlers or denying yourself dessert, find out what the experts say about the truth–and the hype–when it comes to the sweet stuff.
Sugar Myth #1: You should eliminate all sugar from your diet.
First, a quick and painless science lesson: Sugars, aka carbohydrates, are made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Individually, these strings of molecules are called monosaccharides, which include sugars such as fructose (found in fruit). Link two sets of molecules together and you have disaccharides, such as sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (the sugar found in milk). Combine a whole bunch of units, producing an even more complex molecule, and you’ve got starches and fiber.
And no matter what form you eat–from Gummi Bears to Wheaties–carbs contain 4 calories per gram, break down to simple sugars during digestion (except for fiber, which is indigestible) and are either used for immediate energy or stored for later. In other words, you need sugars in your diet to keep your body running. Most should come in the form of nutrient-rich starches like whole grains and cereals. You should also eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and lowfat dairy products–which contain sugars, but also valuable vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting chemicals.