Sugar pandemic | Pancreatic cancer

Sugar is almost everywhere in our diet, including the pizza you buy round the corner. But there are many side effects that may impact our health when we eat too much sugar, and it's not just about cavities.
In 2012 the United Nations declared that, for the first time in human history, chronic non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes pose a greater health burden worldwide than do infectious diseases, contributing to 35 million deaths annually.

This is not just a problem of the developed world. Every country that has adopted the Western diet — one dominated by low-cost, highly processed food — has witnessed rising rates of obesity and related diseases. There are now 30% more people who are obese than who are undernourished. Economic development means that the populations of low- and middle-income countries are living longer, and therefore are more susceptible to non-communicable diseases; 80% of deaths attributable to them occur in these countries.

Many people think that obesity is the root cause of these diseases. But 20% of obese people have normal metabolism and will have a normal lifespan. Conversely, up to 40% of normal-weight people develop the diseases that constitute the metabolic syndrome: diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems, cardiovascular disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Obesity is not the cause; rather, it is a marker for metabolic dysfunction, which is even more prevalent.

Authorities consider sugar as 'empty calories' — but there is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases1. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly. If international bodies are truly concerned about public health, they must consider limiting fructose — and its main delivery vehicles, the added sugars HFCS and sucrose — which pose dangers to individuals and to society as a whole. [1]

Sugar and obesity
Glucose syrup helps preserve and increase the sweetness of commercial foods, which may boost their appeal.
This syrup doesn't contain fat or protein but is instead a concentrated source of sugar and calories. One tablespoon (15 ml) is loaded with 62 calories and 17 grams of carbs — nearly 4 times more than the amounts found in table sugar

Sucrose, glucose and fructose are three types of sugar that contain the same number of calories gram for gram.
They're all found naturally in fruits, vegetables, dairy products and grains but also added to many processed foods.
However, they differ in their chemical structures, the way your body digests and metabolizes them and how they affect your health. [2]

Sucrose is the scientific name for table sugar.
Glucose is a simple sugar or monosaccharide. It's your body's preferred carb-based energy source, through ATP [3]
Fructose is a monosaccharide like glucose, it's found in fruit, honey, agave and most root vegetables, and of the three sugars, fructose has the sweetest taste but least impact on your blood sugar.

There is no need to avoid sugars that are naturally found in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products. These foods also contain nutrients, fiber and water, which counter any of their negative effects.

The harmful health effects associated with sugar consumption are due to the high amount of added sugar in the typical Western diet.

Your BMI, body mass index, will tell you if you're overweight. You can check your BMI here [7]

Pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancers use the sugar fructose, very common in the Western diet, to activate a key cellular pathway that drives cell division, helping the cancer to grow more quickly.
Although it's widely known that cancers use glucose, a simple sugar, to fuel their growth, this is the first time a link has been shown between fructose and cancer proliferation, said Dr. Anthony Heaney, an associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and senior author of the study.

"The bottom line is the modern diet contains a lot of refined sugar including fructose and it's a hidden danger implicated in a lot of modern diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver," [4]

How to slow down?
One of the challenges modern society face is to improve the way we cope with stress.
Like the waves in the ocean, we cannot control the ocean, but we can learn how to stay afloat. Stress response works in a similar way. Sugar may initially give some stress relief thanks to the hormone serotonin which helps to raise our mood, among other things. But in the long-term we may become addicted to sugar, and that may impact our behaviour and our health, in particular liver and pancreas.
We need to learn how to slow down, and the practice of the 5 Human Values can help us to restore a balance in our life. [5]
Getting our stress level under control and practicing activities like Yoga and Tai Chi will help us to achieve a balanced diet which in turn will restore our energy levels mood and behavior. [6]


  • Sugar consumption is linked to a rise in non-communicable disease (cannot be spread from person to person)
  • Sugar's effects on the body can be similar to those of alcohol 
  • Glucose-Fructose Syrup is linked to Pancreatic cancer


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