Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is Sugar Toxic? Well, I am on the "Yes" side of the debate aisle....and it scares me poopless to think what I've done consuming the crap for 50 years.......beware, a rant...

 "If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them.

Some time ago, I posted on my old blog the link to the youtube video of Dr. Lustig's SUGAR: THE BITTER TRUTH. That and Gary Taubes first book on carbohydrates and their link to fat storage/obesity/diabetes/heart disease got me to start weaning off sugar, bit by bit. I think they are both onto something. And it's VERY scary.

Read the article. Even if you have doubts or disagreements, read it. If you're insulin resistant or diabetic, you had really better read it, especially the last paragraphs dealing with I.R. And if you eat sugar and HFCS, please, please, take a few minutes to read it. If you forget about this post, you'll find the link on my right sidebar for "Is Sugar Toxic?" If you want a hard copy, I believe it will be in this coming Sunday's NY TIMES.

I was diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome in 1998 (Syndrome X was the term I heard a lot back then for the syndrome). I have Insulin Resistance. Changes in my diet kept me from going full-blown diabetic in 2004 when I was at my highest weight. Thank God. As I lose weight, I hope to burn off the toxic fat in my liver. Yes, I have fatty liver (and I do not drink). Reading the part in this article about the possible correlation with cancer is terrifying. I have been I.R. for two decades plus. What the hell did that do to me?

Did I start to get fit in time? I ask myself this question a lot. I'm 51.

Like Allan says, "Sure, take your time. Being fat is no problem." This article says there's a time bomb and it may be well related to sugar/HCFS consumption and insulin resistance/diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome.

Time bomb.

Yeah, let's keep stuffing down those sugary treats and justifying them as just "a little sweet something" cause we have a craving, we're stressed, or coworkers keep bringing them in, our period is coming, our in-laws bug us, the weather sucks, it's Christmas, it's Mardi Gras, it's Easter, it's Fourth of July, it's Halloween, it's Thanksgiving,  it's my birthday, your birthday, his birthday, their birthday, my anniversary, his anniversary, the President's speech is on, the next Harry Potter movie is on, it's a blue moon, it's an eclipse, it's a meteor, it's Monday, it's Friday,  oops, it's the PMS thing again, and another Friday, and it's ABCXYZ... ad infinitum...

It's just a treat. No biggie. A sweet something that makes us feel good.

Only that treat is being used often, every day, twice a day. How many treats are in our food journals each day, day by day? Sugar-including treats? HCFS-riddled treats?  A cookie or two here. A Skinny Cow there. A chocolate VitaTop (sugar--third ingredient) here. A 1/4 can of Pepsi there. A frozen yogurt here. A 1/2 cup of Ben and Jerry's there. Oh, look, a handful of M&Ms and a Pop-Tart slipped in that uber-stressful day. Maybe a 90-calorie Quaker granola bar get snapped up for an in-the-car breakfast. (Count how many times sugar comes up in the list of ingredients. Gasp freely.Go look at your granola's ingredients. I dare you. )

I can't do those justifications anymore..not with any amount of ease. I'm too scared of the damage already done and the damage that would be yet-to-come if I went back to sugary ways.

Note no one is talking about an occasional, special treat. We eat this crap daily in the US. A lot of us eat it several times a day in all sorts of foods....

See if you can do sugary treats and foods and sodas with mental ease after reading the article. After watching Dr. Lustig's video. See how calm you can be handing that second slice of birthday cake, side of ice cream to Juanito, that bag of lollipops or that Three Musketeers bar to lil Emily, the candy apples and cotton candy at the fair to Jenny, or the couple Oreos or Froot Loops breakfast to Caleb, Jr?

What are they eating in school that you can't control readily? Do you even know? (Watch the recent Jamie Oliver program on the LA area's school food. OMG! ) Sweetened chocolate milk. Sugar-added pancake syrup. Sugar-fruit yogurt. Sugar laden pizza sauce. Danishes. Brownies. Sugary cereals. The chocolates for fundraisers for the band. Any vending machines nearby? What do they have?

Then maybe the young ones are on the way home, and they pick up some treats--gum, chocolate bars, ice cream cones, milk shakes. Then while doing homeowork, some trendy new treat gets munched on. Maybe hit some jelly beans when it's time to watch tv. Or caramel popcorn. Or a few Nilla Wafers washed down with some "fruit juice beverage" that's essentially sugar water. Or a Coke or a Dr. Pepper.

Maybe dinner has meat drenched in bbq sauce (HFCS second ingredient)  or they use up a 1/2 cup of ketchup on that burger with fries (HFCS # 3, corn syrup #4 ingredients) or there's sweet-n-sour Chinese or a honey-mustard dipping sauce for the nuggets that's more sugar or corn syrup than actual honey. And what are they drinking with dinner? Sugary fruit punch? Sugary lemonade? Hawaiian Punch? Regular soda? Flavored/sugared milk?

Just see if maybe you don't think twice...three times...about what mainlining all that sugar's gonna do to your babies....what it already is doing...

Me, I regularly call sugar-- online and offline-- "da debbil". I do believe it is the devil in the human diet. One of them, for sure. The Big One, perhaps.  It's pervasive in the US (read labels). It's addictive. (Take away a kid's--or PMS woman's treats--and try not to get killed.) It's fattening.

The devil in the diet.

"Isocaloric" is not "Isometabolic", says Dr. Lustig. (See the article for definitions.) We forget that, I think.

Here are the concluding paragraphs:

Most of the researchers studying this insulin/cancer link seem concerned primarily with finding a drug that might work to suppress insulin signaling in incipient cancer cells and so, they hope, inhibit or prevent their growth entirely. Many of the experts writing about the insulin/cancer link from a public health perspective — as in the 2007 report from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research — work from the assumption that chronically elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance are both caused by being fat or by getting fatter. They recommend, as the 2007 report did, that we should all work to be lean and more physically active, and that in turn will help us prevent cancer.
But some researchers will make the case, as Cantley and Thompson do, that if something other than just being fatter is causing insulin resistance to begin with, that’s quite likely the dietary cause of many cancers. If it’s sugar that causes insulin resistance, they say, then the conclusion is hard to avoid that sugar causes cancer — some cancers, at least — radical as this may seem and despite the fact that this suggestion has rarely if ever been voiced before publicly. For just this reason, neither of these men will eat sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, if they can avoid it.

“I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little as I possibly can,” Thompson told me, “because I believe ultimately it’s something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer.” Cantley put it this way: “Sugar scares me.”

Sugar scares me too, obviously. I’d like to eat it in moderation. I’d certainly like my two sons to be able to eat it in moderation, to not overconsume it, but I don’t actually know what that means, and I’ve been reporting on this subject and studying it for more than a decade. If sugar just makes us fatter, that’s one thing. We start gaining weight, we eat less of it. But we are also talking about things we can’t see — fatty liver, insulin resistance and all that follows. Officially I’m not supposed to worry because the evidence isn’t conclusive, but I do.

Rant Done.

Now I'm going to bed (this will be published hours from now) singing a bit of an old Randy Stonehill song: "Shut de do'. Keep out de debbil. Shut de do'...keep de debbil in de night...shut de do'...keep out de debbil...light de candle...evvything's all right..."


Twix said...

It's amazing where the hell this crap shows up at or in. Growing up mom outlawed sugar. However she gave us something worse, corn syrup. Used to drink the stuff straight out of the bottle. That's what her good doc told her was safe to give us kids, as sugar was the devil then. Can you believe this? Can you believe we drank Karo straight out of the bottle because it was good for us?? Her hippie/gypsy logic still failed to protect us from the damage of sweet junk. It's in just about anything and everything. And if you can't find corn syrup, HFCS, or sugar in it you're sure to find some chemical cocktail that supposedly tastes like sugar. Do you know how many things Splenda is in without the product being labeled??! Tons! And I can't do sucralose (Splenda) (I'll keep my kidneys intact thank you) or any of the other chemical cocktails. It's disgusting what's out there in our food! Mercola has some excellent articles on sugar and sugar like substitutes, even the so called natural ones. I'll stick to xylitol in small amounts, thank you. You're right, it is truly maddening where sugar shows up. I have to read food labels everytime I decide to buy something that's not on my approved list and even then I have to check those products because they sneak that crap in. Grrr!!!

Princess Dieter said...

How sad that your mom though she was benefitting you and look...

I am reading Dr. Mercola's No Grain Diet right now. :) I haven't been able to wean off Splenda yet--since there isnt' any other sweetening agent that's not caloric that I can stand. And I like my coffee and tea sweet. But I've stopped buying sugar (can't remember when I last bought some of the stuff), don't eat commercial baked goods with it (or many baked goods at all), and in general am trying to clean the crap from my household. Stevia sucks. Makes me gag. Agave is bad for you (fructose). It leaves me few options, so I choose the lesser devil (Splenda) over the greater one (succrose, fructose). My sweet kick mostly comes from real fruit these days. :) Though I do cave to sugar-free choco in small quantities. I have also moved more and more away from processed foods. My shopping is mostly produce/meat/dairy aisles now. Mostly produce. I need 2 fridges for the quantities of veggies and fruit I buy.

The days of cavorting with The Devil are over, and the journey to get cleaner is progressing. It's step by step.

Twix said...

pss... Don't be fooled by the ingredient corn sugar. It's just a relabel. Seem HFCS has gotten a bad rap over the years...duh... and they petitioned and succeeded with renaming it. Anyways I had heard about this and hadn't seen it yet, that is until recently. And there it was on a product ingredient list. It's still a sugar and it's HFCS to boot. Okay shoving off, let somebody else join this rant. ;-)

Princess Dieter said...

And let's not be fooled by "evaporated cane juice" or whatever label the health-food companies wanna put on..SUGAR. I like how they call it "turbinado" in the smoothie shops. :P

Twix said...

I hear ya about needing all the extra space for fruits and veggies!! Thankfully though my crew chows it down faster than snap. I usually end up pleadingly asking where are the bananas? Who ate the last one? I just bought 5lbs yesterday. Couldn't you have saved me one?! That's when they all look at me innocently. Hah!!

Mercola is good for info. I frequent his site and read interesting stuff. :) Good book,btw.

Kelly said...

Have been lead to your blog by Kelly at Happy Texan, I found out last summer I am IR but resisted the diet. Tried WW and I mean really tried it, with the majority of my points being carbs. Well duh...weight loss barely moving. SOOO, long story short, I decided at 45 I had to make changes in my life and that means IR changes. I am battling my first week without stuffing myself with carbs. Going to look through your blog for pointers and inspiration!

Sandra said...

Amen! You are right - sugar is the debbil!!
And it is hidden in so many ways....
Love this post and want to share it with others!

safire said...

Thanks for this post! :)

Laura said...

I am in agreement that sugar is certainly not good for you. But since it is practically impossible to avoid 100% of the time, you want to make sure you keep it within respectable levels. The food journal I use tells me exactly where I'm at with my daily consumption on things. I think the goal here is balance. You want to make sure you're not taking in more of the sugars, proteins, fats, etc than your body is able to process. Its certainly not a fool proof way to live...But its much better than where I was a month ago!

Karen Butler Ogle said...

I'm a firm believe ever since I read Refuse to Regain. That is why I'm using her plan to maintain. It is scary what has happened in our society since sugar become so easily available and widely used. Have you seen that commercial for HFCS. "Its the same as sugar. Your body can't tell the difference. " WTF? Both are poison for anyone who is overweight or has insulin issues. I get mad ever time I see that thing. Thanks for sharing the article. It just reinforces what I've learned so far about sugar.

Kelly said...

Stop! You're scaring me.

As your IR sistah around here, we have to limit our carbs which naturally means limiting our sugar. So that's a good thing. What has been scaring me lately is reading about all of the terrible things that IR does to your body. Or just insulin in general. The heart disease. Liver problems. Cancer. etc etc. I just hope mine (and yours) was caught in time before we did any serious damage. Reading the Power Protein Lifeplan book now. It's technical but interesting and has some dire warnings for those that don't watch their insulin. Especially those who have crossed over to IR. It's enough to scare you straight.

Keep preaching the gospel. Good stuff here.

For fun, check out this corn syrup spoof that SNL did. Hilarious.

Suzan said...

I do not eat sugar, except for one square of very dark chocolate on occasion. I do not use artificial sweeteners, stevia only occasionally. I am a former sugarholic. If I can cut out sugar, ANYONE can. I'm very weak-willed.

Sugar feeds cancer. It is hard on the liver. It causes mood swings, and it wrecks our GI system. Artificial sweeteners are a chemical soup. Watch Sweet Misery on Google Video for more on that.

Our bodies were never meant to process all that sugar or fake sugar. We've altered, or in some cases, even destroyed our taste buds as a result of ingesting too much sugar (fake sugar too,) salt, and bad fats (vegetable oils like canola and soy.)

If a person eliminates all sweets, except fruit, (yes it can be done) the addiction will eventually be broken and the cravings really will take a hike. Yesterday, hubby bought some fudge and out of curiosity, I took a bite. I almost gagged, it was so sickeningly sweet. I'd now rather have a bowl of berries or a salad. It took me two years to get to this point. Will the horrible effects of sugar be reversible for me? Am I in the clear? Probably not. I'm 55, and I already know I've done a LOT of damage, as I have Insulin resistance, metabolic system, and a fatty liver. I don't know how much is reversible. But I FEEL much better than before. I never knew how badly I really felt while addicted to sweets - until I gave them up.

Stop these unhealthy addictions now before you cause irreversible damage your body.

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for sharing, since I found out that PCOS is a form of IR, I'm definitely interested in reading (and avoiding!) what I can!

Thanks again!