Sugar causes cancer......

Katherine - posted on 05/08/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )




Robert Lustig is a specialist on pediatric hormone disorders and the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. According to the enormous feature in The New York Times Magazine about his theories, UCSF has one of the best medical schools in the country. Lustig published his first paper on childhood obesity over a decade ago, and he believes the leading cause of the epidemic is something we all consume every day: sugar.

But not only does Lustig believe that sugar causes obesity and diabetes in children and adults, he goes so far as to describe sugar and high fructose corn syrup as toxic, poisonous and downright evil. Times scribe Gary Taubes is upfront about the fact that after 10 years of research, he’s in complete agreement with Lustig. Early in the lengthy piece, Taubes writes, “when you bake your children a birthday cake or give them lemonade on a hot summer day, you may be doing them more harm than good, despite all the love that goes with it.” Lustig, Taubes and others believe that sugar can even cause cancer.

Taubes says that “the conventional wisdom has long been that the worst that can be said about sugars of any kind is that they cause tooth decay and represent empty calories that we eat in excess because they taste so good.” On the contrary, though, Lustig believes that it’s not sugar’s empty calories that are the enemy, but sugar’s “unique characteristics, specifically in the way the human body metabolizes the fructose in it, that may make it singularly harmful, at least if consumed in sufficient quantities.”

Lustig has determined that glucose and fructose are “metabolized differently and have a different effect on the body.” The stuff to watch out for is fructose and by extension high fructose corn syrup, which is metabolized primarily by the liver. Taubes explains:

Consuming sugar (fructose and glucose) means more work for the liver than if you consumed the same number of calories of starch (glucose). And if you take that sugar in liquid form — soda or fruit juices — the fructose and glucose will hit the liver more quickly than if you consume them, say, in an apple (or several apples, to get what researchers would call the equivalent dose of sugar). The speed with which the liver has to do its work will also affect how it metabolizes the fructose and glucose.

It turns out – in lab rats, anyway – that if fructose hits the liver quickly (via chugging a can of Coke, let’s say), “the liver will convert much of it to fat.” That metabolic dynamic “induces a condition known as insulin resistance, which is now considered the fundamental problem in obesity, and the underlying defect in heart disease and in the type of diabetes, type 2, that is common to obese and overweight individuals.” And here’s the clincher, as I mentioned earlier: “It might also be the underlying defect in many cancers.” Here’s how that works:

The connection between obesity, diabetes and cancer was first reported in 2004 in large population studies by researchers from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is not controversial. What it means is that you are more likely to get cancer if you’re obese or diabetic than if you’re not, and you’re more likely to get cancer if you have metabolic syndrome than if you don’t. Cancer researchers now consider that the problem with insulin resistance is that it leads us to secrete more insulin, and insulin (as well as a related hormone known as insulin-like growth factor) actually promotes tumor growth.

Craig Thompson of Memorial Sloan-Kettering believes that “many pre-cancerous cells would never acquire the mutations that turn them into malignant tumors if they weren’t being driven by insulin to take up more and more blood sugar and metabolize it,” and Lewis Cantley, director of the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard, says “up to 80 percent of all human cancers are driven by either mutations or environmental factors that work to enhance or mimic the effect of insulin on the incipient tumor cells.”

Researchers have previously concluded that there was no evidence that added sugar (beyond what is naturally contained in fruits and vegetables) demonstrated harm at the levels which it was being consumed. But those same experts “estimated those levels at 40 pounds per person per year,” or 200 calories per day of sugar. That’s less than the amount “in a can and a half of Coca-Cola or two cups of apple juice.”

Unfortunately, though, the average American now consumes 90 pounds of added sugar per year. Yikes.

In one study referenced by Taubes, when human subjects were fed “the equivalent of the fructose in 8 to 10 cans of Coke or Pepsi a day… their livers would start to become insulin-resistant, and their triglycerides would go up in just a few days.” Which is why Lustig believes sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are “chronic toxins,” meaning they are “not toxic after one meal, but after 1,000 meals.” (Don’t forget, we eat 1,000 meals in just one year.)

One reason to eliminate added sugar from your family’s diet? Neither Thompson nor Cantley will eat sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. ”I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little as I possibly can, because I believe ultimately it’s something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer,” Thompson said. According to Taubes, Cantley put it this way: “Sugar scares me.”


Mrs. - posted on 05/08/2011




I think the main problem is the over consumption, period.

I do not eat refined sugar, nor what they like to call "cane sugar"now. I'll have stevia, natural fruit sugar and some small amounts of agave, but that's it folks.

My child has sugar occasionally, as a treat. Most often she would rather a tangerine than a piece of chocolate.

Everyone already knows copious amounts of sugar makes you fat and sick. This is not new news really.

Jenn - posted on 05/08/2011




It makes sense to me. Yes, a lot of things cause cancer but so much in our world is artificial, why wouldnt it?


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Sneaky - posted on 05/08/2011




Sigh. EVERYTHING causes cancer.

Yes that is what I said.

EVERYTHING can cause cancer, if you are exposed to it at a high enough concentration EVERYTHING becomes toxic. It is not that sugar is inherently dangerous it is just the amount we consume. But yeah, much better to write a paper just telling every one that sugar causes cancer - let me guess, these doctors work for an artificial sweetener company????

I'm with Jen here - bring on the white death! At least I will die happy :o)

Charlie - posted on 05/08/2011




I dont think it is worth the stress ( which is also linked to cancer ) sure be healthy but dont go overbored because the very action of going overbored can be detrimental too .

Sarah - posted on 05/08/2011




I guess I'm doomed then. I'm always craving something sugary. But, yeah, what DOESN'T cause cancer. Geez.

[deleted account]

Basically Loureen.

It seems as if there has been research to show that everything in life will kill you eventually and that's probably true. Which is why I don't worry about it.... ever.

We eat what we like... balancing the veggies and other healthy foods w/ the sweets (and other junk) that we enjoy.

Sarah - posted on 05/08/2011




@Ashley, I wish I had your taste buds because sugary things are my downfall!!

I absolutely believe that I CANNOT believe everything I read, and if I did I'd have to eat practically nothing. Although, I do try to stay away from sugar just because it makes me fat :) My daughter has the occasional sugary treat, but most of the time she would choose fruit first.

[deleted account]

What will the think of next, that causes cancer.

I don't like sugar.If i cook no sugar or sugar in tea etc.

If there's sugar on things i can see, i will not eat.I hate the taste of sugary things.I can't drink fizzy sugary drinks etc.I also don't eat a lot of cakes etc either.I guess i'm sweet enough lol:-P

Rosie - posted on 05/08/2011




i've baked with my peanut butter and it turns out fine. it's parkers all natural with honey. :)

Mrs. - posted on 05/08/2011




I'd be a bit scared of how motified the peanuts were in Jif or Skippy "Natural".

I find Maranatha easy to cook with in the states. Nuts For You in Canada is awesome for baking.

[deleted account]

I would agree with you except about peanut butter. Having tried to make peanut butter cookies and other things with all-natural peanut butter, I'll stick with the other stuff 100% of the time. It just doesn't cook up as nicely. But you can get emulsified peanut butters that use other stuff. Cook's Illustrated (my FAVORITE MAGAZINE) did a testing on these peanut butters. The ones that contained only peanuts and nothing else bombed when it came to cooking (which my own experiments agreed with.) Their 3rd place winner however is one I do recommend if you want to go relatively naturaly but still have good peanut butter. In fact, its' become my personal favorite PB of all time. It's Jif Natural and it contains peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt & molasses. I highly recommend it.

I also strongly recommend that magazine and its sister mag Cook's Country. They accept NO advertising and their product/equipment reviews are wonderfully thorough.

If your curious, plain ol regular Skippy was their top pick. Skippy Natural came in 4th.

Rosie - posted on 05/08/2011




well, since sugar has been around for alot longer than the last few decades, i'm willing to bet it's something else, OR that the amount of sugar in EVERYTHING (cause you know they have to put excessive amounts in everything) that is the culprit. maybe it's the fact that we process the shit out of everything, feed our meat hormones and antibiotics and an unnatural diet that ultimately makes them sicker than shit that is the problem. maybe it's that we slather pesticides all over our "health food" and our soil and our health is paying the price for that one. maybe it's how we can take peanuts and make a perfectly wonderful spread using honey and salt and instead put a shit ton of hydrogenated oils and excessive amounts of sugar in it instead of leaving it in it's natural form. i could go on, but i think you get my point. cutting out sugar all together is just ridiculous. who the hell could live without sugar anyway, lol??

[deleted account]

Katherine, after reading that article I feel fully justified in eating the lemon merengue pie I made for my mother today. :-)

[deleted account]

I'm happy to deal with what I can. When they come up with a good substitute for refined sugar for most recipes, I'll use it. I cut out all trans-fats for example. Crisco makes a no trans fat shortening and I use that for piecrust now. I only consume fat-free dairy with rare exceptions. I get eggs from a lady at work who has totally free-range, organic fed chickens (and her eggs are $2 a dozen vs $3.89 for the same type of eggs at the store.)

We do what we can but so far, there's no good substitute for me and so I'm happy with what I've got. :-)

[deleted account]

yea, everything causes cancer. We avoid high fructose corn syrup for the most part, but we do eat/drink the occasional treat.

The problem with saying "sugar causes cancer" is that most fruits contain tons of natural sugars, but they do more good than bad for us. I'm certainly not going to give up my sugary fruits or swap out real sugar for artificial sweeteners (which have been known longer to contribute to cancer). There is no way to avoid sugar all together and get the nutrients we need to survive. Sugar is not "evil" unless it is over-consumed.

[deleted account]

So can I eat unrefined cane sugar or is it cane sugar period? What about beet sugar? That's what you're buying when you buy sugar not marked 'cane' at the supermarket. I get confused so I think I'll ignore it. Yes, that sounds dreadful but let's face it, at this time in my life one of the ONLY pleasures I still have is food and I'm not going to give that up. I'm not supposed to drink anymore. I'm in pain and have constant fatigue so exercise becomes a nightmare. When I do sleep, I"m having nightmares. So I cook and I eat what I cook.

Jeez, who wants to live forever anyway.

ETA: This woman named Doris was an older lady when I was a kid in church. She was an original hippie when it came to food. She ate nothing refined, unnatural, etc. She walked everywhere, she literally walked across Europe. Now she is completely bedridden, cannot brush her own hair, cannot go to a toilet by herself and lives in misery. She wishes she could die but she's not 'sick'. I could drop from a coronary or live like that.

So let's have another cup of coffee, and let's have another piece of pie.

Jenni - posted on 05/08/2011




Geez... EVERYTHING causes cancer. That's it! I'm going to go live in a bubble with a gas mask, grow organic fruits and veges and drink tons of green tea and eat a ton of berries.

Is duct tape useful for sealing the cracks in my bubble and keeping free radicals out?

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