The (Too) Sweet Life: Can Sugar Lead to Heart Attack, Cancer?
Life is sweet.
But is too much sweetness in one’s life dangerous?
According to 60 Minutes’ Dr. Sanjay Gupta, sweets – sugar to be exact – may very well be toxic.
In a recent report, Dr. Gupta reported that according to estimates, nearly 20 percent of the total calories in American diets comes from added sugar via soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, desserts, fruit drinks, ice cream and other candies.
“Unfortunately, the sweeter the item is on the lips, the worse it is on the hips,” says Dr. Coral Quiet of Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists. “And, while sweets increase fat and caloric content, they are often void of necessary nutrients and antioxidants.”
And, apparently, that is only the beginning.
According to Dr. Gupta, just one sugar-sweetened soda a day can sharply increase one’s risk for heart disease.
Some stories, such as an analysis recently published in the New York Times, report that these sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks and alcoholic beverages can increase one’s risk for heart attack by more than 20 percent.
This would stand to reason as sugar can adversely change levels of good and bad cholesterols as well as increase levels of dangerous triglycerides.
So, if one simply eliminates sugary beverages from his/her diet, then she will be fine, right?
In addition to soda, secret sugars in food we eat each day – primarily processed foods – are acting as toxins in our body, too. This can include everything from yogurts to sauces to breads and peanut butters.
“I truly believe that sugar is a leading cause of cancer in the United States,” Dr. Quiet says.
According to Dr. Quiet, the word “cancer” is actually the general name given to some 100-plus diseases from breast cancer to lung cancer to skin cancer and is when cells in a specific part of the body begin to grow out of control, causing a tumor.
“Most people don’t know that nearly a third of all cancerous tumors have insulin receptors on their surface that have learned to use sugar to progress,” Dr. Quiet adds.
Backing her assertion, Dr. Gupta reports that over the years, tumors with insulin receptors — like breast and colon cancers — have begun to bind with sugars in the bloodstream, stealing it from muscles and other organs signaling for it as well.
Just as other parts of our bodies use sugar for energy, so do the tumors.
The problem has become so evident that researchers are currently working around the clock on a new suite of drugs specifically meant to block tumors from hijacking sugar and glucose in the bloodstream.
The bottom line
“Until research catches up with the sweet tooth, all individuals, whether currently fighting cancer or not, need to focus on decreasing their processed food intake along with red meats, high-fat dairy products and fried foods,” Dr. Quiet says.