Sugar Addicts, Throw Off Your Shackles

I knew it was bad, but since my father died of pancreatic cancer, this news has a particular resonance with me. So this is it: time to get serious about my sugar addiction.

Believe it or not, I’m a lot better than I used to be; when I was growing up, I lived on sugared cereals and cups of tea with four heaping spoonfuls of sugar in each one. (Now I only use half a teaspoon.) I switched to organic sugar years ago, and that was an improvement.

But am I healthy? Nope. And sugar takes its toll (if I have a glass of limeade — one of my very favorite drinks — I’m literally drunk from it. I actually stagger and feel like I’m going to pass out). Sugar makes me sleepy, inert, exhausted.

So I’m declaring it publicly, because it has to end. Today I had my last Pepsi. Ever? God, I hope so. And I have to stop eating all the processed foods with the high fructose corn syrup, because I’m not ready to die just yet.

I hope some of you will join me. I will report on my progress, and maybe we can support each other:

Aug 2 (Reuters) – Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.

Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.

“These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation,” Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

“They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth.”

14 thoughts on “Sugar Addicts, Throw Off Your Shackles

  1. I cut back on my sugar intake after watching Robert H. Lustig’s lecture “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”:

    Changing my behavior after hearing cautionary tales from the medical establishment is not something I normally do, but this scared me. Not that I’ve completely cut out sugar, but I’ve cut way back on soda and fruit juices which is half the battle. I also found out ketchup has the same proportion of sugar as soda. It’s all high fructose corn syrup.

    Seriously, look at your labels and you’ll be surprised at how many foods have loads of sugar. Oh, and Nutella is not a way to get your kids to eat healthy. It’s like giving obese kids cigarettes to suppress their appetite. Okay, maybe not that bad, but still.

  2. Addictions are hard to break, so I wish you luck Ms. Madrak.

    I still have a few (tobacco, alcohol, commenting) but I lost the sugar thing when I got the first toothache of my life a couple of years ago.

    I was fortunate enough have the $125 needed to have the tooth yanked, and yanked it was.

    I basically lost my taste for sugar. Yeah, I still eat it-mostly because I like Vietnamese recipes, and they all call for sugar-but it’s a rare day when I fell like eating ice cream, chocolate, or anything sweet. I bought my last Coke prior to the toothache, and it sits in the fridge to this day.

    In the meantime, I also learned that flossing and brushing after every meal (sugared or not) is a doable proposition. The same
    dentist who solemnly warned me that if I continued to smoke, I’d soon be having the next tooth yanked, and the next, has been totally confounded in the years since.

    I followed his advice about the brushing and flossing, rejected it about the smoking, and my teeth are fine.

    As to the link between sugar intake and pancreatic cancer…

    Luciano Pavarotti died of the same disease. Too much sugar? Pasta? Life?

  3. I’ve changed my diet dramatically over the past few years, and I do have a few tips that may help.

    Cutting soda out is tough – particularly if you’re overweight. People who are overweight have more saliva in their mouth than people who aren’t. For me, the soda cut through the saliva so that I felt slaked. Drinking water never allowed me to feel like I’d quenched my thirst. I started drinking strong, freshly brewed iced tea. I’d make a pot in the morning and drink it whenever I wanted. It took me months to not want soda anymore. Once I got used to the tea instead, I started cutting back on that – much easier to do.

    And for me, switching to a low carb diet allowed me to leave most of the crap that did tempt me behind. I also felt better than I’d felt in years. Now, I’m not much of a sugar or junk food person and never have been, but I did like pasta and bread too much. I did find that when I was eating low carb, my craving for sugar was pretty minimal.

  4. Hey, I was practically raised on sugar. Anybody out there ever heard of a SUGAR SANDWICH? Yep, two slices of bread—-buttered——-and loaded with sugar in between. Yummy! Damn near stayed at the dentist through my 20’s. Now, much older and wiser, I read the labels and watch what I eat. But old habits are a bitch to break: I quit smoking (again). Been off cigs for a month, thanks to my medication. My doctor, she scared the shit outame. Told me I’d be dead due to breathing issues if I didn’t quit. Hell, maybe now I can stay around for another couple of decades.

  5. Dandy, we had sugar sandwiches all the time. And Karo syrup sandwiches, too. (That’s why my teeth are a mess, too.)

  6. The food industry isn’t helping with all their processed crap, additives, and hydrogenated corn oil in almost everything (thanks to ADM corp.). Read Michael Pollan and when you go to the store keep to the outside (fruits and veggies) and read the labels of everything else (his rule of thumb: if it contains more than 5 ingredients, don’t buy it). Kids especially are taken advantage of on a regular basis with respect to what they consume. We adults are supposed to educate and protect them. They look around and see a majority of overweight people and wonder – is this what we’re supposed to look like?

  7. We had butter, sugar and cinnamon toast — however, with only one slice of bread. The butter had to put on when the toast was warm so it would melt and hold the sugar and cinnamon in place. Hhhhhh. It was really good… but I haven’t even thought about it in ages, decades.

    My adult dieting lifetime?

  8. When I read about this study, it was made clear that high fructose corn syrup is much different than sugar — as the Princeton study Susie turned us on to made clear as well.

    The study, or an additional study, also indicated that people who drink a LOT of fruit juices have a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer; however, not near as high as those who drank lots of HFCS.

    I’m beginning to think HFCS is pure EVIL.

  9. And, yes, I am cleaning out my pantry and reading labels assiduously – no HFCS. Except…I do like low fat Miracle Whip…and it uses the damn stuff…. Oh, temptation. Especially for a treat of tomatoe and lettuce sandwiches (I never liked the bacon)*.

    Also, when I was in the burn center (for 30 days, urged to drink beverages with calorie content and take in at least 90 grams of protein a day, so the body could rebuild the lost skin cells and also remain well hydrated as burns mean a loss of body fluids), I noticed that the only fruit juice I could tolerate, cranberry juice, was high in HFCS — so cut it out. Only prune juice and orange juice didn’t have HFCS. I was unable to get nutritional details on most of the foods, but on the whole the food was good, with limited sodium. Was great for me — and I’d taken a container of salt substitute with me when I picked up meds and change of clothing on my way to the burn center, so I could add flavor if necessary.

    But I did try to proselytize to the dieticians (got to talk to two of them) that they should begin to eliminate HFCS in the hospital’s menu. Gave them the Princeton study URL I wonder if they actually read it….

    I met a young mother while in the burn center’s Step Down unit (where we went after ICU) who feeds her children only milk, water, and limited fruit juices. Her darling daughter, 6 or 7, however, is now out in the real world and told me she has developed a taste for grape soda — which probably has HFCS. Purple is her favorite color, so maybe that’s why grape soda.

    Milk was really pushed (protein and liquid), and there was a frig on the floor just for us patients. People could put food in for a day or so that was brought in by friends and family, and stocks of milk and juices were kept for us to use whenever we felt the need. I’ve only used milk for cereal in recent years, but I found I’ve reacquired a taste for skimmed milk as a beverage after all the days of limited choice.

    It helped that my bandage wrapping techs told me that the more protein I took in the faster I should heal. So, milk became my choice for taking pills. Add up those protein grams! One guy, a lineman for the electric company, came in with awful burns from working on a transformer which had a squirrel in it — when he opened the doors to do the work, the squirrel jumped in such a way that it created an arc and flames burst out onto this guy. His hands, inside gloves, were badly burned, along with his forearms. His face was not as badly burned and his ears only singed. His wife brought in high protein drinks — and he did seem to heal really fast. Of course, he was not a half year away or so from Medicare…. Age matters in burn healing.

    I also found my fave, diet Dr. Pepper, tasted weird to me after being without so long. (Easy enough to get over that, I also found, once I got home. So I’m fighting that battle again….)

    *In my childhood, we used not only Miracle Whip (lower calories than actual mayo) on BLT’s, but we buttered the toast as well!!!

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