Friday, November 10, 2006

Study: Sugar Increases Pancreatic Cancer Risk

In just the past two weeks, we have learned from scientists that it can lead to cancer in the kidneys and also in the esophagus. But now there is new evidence from Swedish researchers that a diet high in the refined carbohydrate sugar can actually bring about an elevated risk in the development of pancreatic cancer as well.

Pancreatic cancer currently accounts for 2 percent of all new cancer cases and 6 percent of deaths from cancer annually. The development of pancreatic cancer results from the release of high levels of insulin when glucose metabolism is disturbed. One of the most common reasons for this is the introduction of excessive sugar in the body. Researchers have only now realized for the first time that there is a connection between sugar intake and the development of pancreatic cancer.

Lead researcher Susanna C. Larsson from The Department of Environmental Medicine at the Swedish-based Karolinska Institute and her research team observed data from 77,797 men and women ages 45 to 83 from 1997 through 2005 to see what impact sugar from soft drinks (mostly high fructose corn syrup) and other sources had on their risk of developing cancer in the pancreas. This study gathered information from two large population-based studies--the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort Of Swedish Men.

The study participants answered a 96-question food-frequency and lifestyle survey for the researchers to come up with the data used to analyze the correlation between sugar consumption and cancer of the pancreas. By the end of the study, the researcher found that there were a total of 131 cases of pancreatic cancer that they say can be traced directly to the "consumption of added sugar, soft drinks, and sweetened fruit soups or stewed fruit."

For those in the study who consumed five or more servings of added sugar daily, there was a 90 percent (nearly DOUBLE!) increase in their risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Even more startling is the fact that it only took two servings of sugary sodas daily to bring about this higher risk.

"Consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, which contain large amounts of rapidly absorbable sugars, induces a rapid and dramatic increase in both blood glucose and insulin concentrations," they wrote.

As for the coffee and tea drinkers who add sugar to their favorite beverage at least five servings per day, the risk jumped 70 percent. Keep in mind the study considered a serving of sugar as one teaspoon or lump although many people often use much more than that in their beverages.

Other sources of sugar intake from fruit soups and stewed fruits with extra sugar increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 50 percent. The American equivalent of these foods include any canned fruit packed in heavy syrup or other frequently consumed food products with high amounts of added sugars.

"The researchers have now been able to show that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is related to the amount of sugar in the diet," the report showed.

The results of this study appear in the November 2006 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

What about this survey connecting a high-carb, high-sugar diet with pancreatic cancer? We have already seen evidence that sugar leads to heart disease, obesity, addiction, and many other physical and mental ailments. Now we can add cancer to the mix. What more proof is it going to take before we consider sugar the real health threat that it is?

This is why I have described sugar as "rat poison" from day one of my low-carb lifestyle because it can quite literally make you sick and even kill you. Anyone who thinks that sugar can be part of a healthy lifestyle should begin to question the logic of that kind of thinking. That conclusion certainly doesn't make any sense in light of the latest scientific evidence.

Larsson stated that pancreatic cancer could possibly be avoided with a few minor changes in the diet.

"It is perhaps the most serious form of cancer, with very poor prognoses for its victims," Larsson explained. "Since it's difficult to treat and is often discovered too late, it's particularly important that we learn to prevent it."

Somebody tell me what the difference is between cigarettes and sugar? Both are highly addictive and lead to various forms of illness, including cancer. They are easily available for purchase by the consumer and many people use them. But there's one distinction--cigarettes have been given a stigma by those who have lobbied to warn people about the dangers of smoking them. In fact, that warning is placed right there on every single pack of cigarettes sold in the United States.

What about sugar? Not that I'm advocating warning labels, but where are the public service announcements, the real-life stories of those who have been negatively impacted by consuming sugar, the outcry from the public? It's nonexistent because people have not been given the information about what sugar can do to them. Even with studies like this one today linking sugar consumption to pancreatic cancer, most people will just shrug their shoulders and go on about their lives eating a honeybun and a Super Big Gulp full of sugary soda without thinking twice about it. Have people gone insane?

The researchers said it as clearly as they possibly could that there is too much evidence pointing in the direction of a progression of illnesses, specifically those conditions present in the ever-growing population of people with metabolic syndrome, caused by eating and drinking too much sugar which then leads to the increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

"Evidence is mounting that abnormal glucose metabolism and hyperinsulinemia may be involved in the development of pancreatic cancer," they wrote. "Conditions such as diabetes mellitus, a high body mass index (BMI, in kg/m2), and physical inactivity, all hallmarks of insulin resistance, have been directly related to the risk of this malignancy."

While the incidence of pancreatic cancer is still miniscule, Lasson reminds people that it is "important to learn more about the risk factors behind the disease" to best prevent it from happening in the first place.

Will the world take heed to that warning or will more people need to die before we take it seriously? Sugar is very bad news for anyone attempting to live a long and healthy life, but nobody seems to care. We go on about our lives as if there are no consequences to poor decision-making regarding our health and then we wonder what went wrong when we are afflicted with a devastating and deadly calamity like cancer. What's it gonna take to wake people up from their intellectual hibernation?!

You can e-mail Susanna C. Larsson about her study at

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Blogger Ed said...

Hello Jimmy,

I had pancreatic cancer it was the more rare form that starts in the islet cells. I had what they call a whipple procedure removing part of my pancreas, part of my stomach, my duodeum and my gall badder. This has caused me to become diabetic. I am now livin' la vida low-carb. This makes it so I avoid diabetes meds. I did consume massive sugar up to the point of dianogsas, so it does make sense to me. I am not losing weight because I am under weight. I do read your blog because I have learned to love this way of eating it keeps me healthier and this blog is an inspiration. I have beaten the average mortality rate and I plan on living a long time with God's help.

11/10/2006 4:08 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for sharing, Ed! Your story is EXACTLY why I tell people to not just look at low-carb diets for weight loss, but for health reasons, too. It control diabetes and so many other diseases that literally everyone should try eating this way just once. THANK YOU for proving this point yet again! Keep on livin' la vida low-carb!

11/10/2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Bit by bit, the truth is coming out!

11/10/2006 7:04 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

It's not so surprising that sugar, once again in this study, is shown to be so detrimental to health. For decades already it has been known and well-documented in the literature that excessive carbohydrate intake (i.e. as per the SAD CRAP diet) seriously impairs phagocytosis activity.

Human serum (blood) contains special cells called neutrophils, a type of leucocyte (or white blood cells) that fight bacteria and viruses, thereby also protecting against cancers. That "fighting process" is called phagocytosis.

Although these neutrophils do need glucose to do their beneficial work, too much glucose (sounds familiar?) will actually reduce their effectiveness and ability to fight off invading bacteria.

It has been known for many decades that excessive carbohydrate intake will very much reduce the process of phagocytosis. Rest assured that it is no coincedence that ever since the "politically correct" low-fat/high-carb diets were forced upon the unsuspecting populace the "old killers" we once thought we had eradicated for good: such as tuberculosis, meningitis, influenza and even the common cold are coming back stronger and more resistant than ever.

In 1976 several research scientists, headed by Ringsdorf, et al. determined that the effect of carbohydrates (in this case in the form of 24 ounces of sugar sweetened Cola) had absolutely devasting effects on phagocytosis. In this test the leucocytic index of all their subjects was reduced by no less than 50%! In other words, the ability of their disease-fighting blood cells was halved!

In other words: any person who eats largely carbohydrate-based meals, particularly those containing sugars, and snacks with small carbohydrate-based meals spread throughout the day - as the latest advice suggests we should - could lose up to half their immunity to disease for much of the waking day.

11/12/2006 11:58 AM  

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