Sugar: Does it cause cancer?

 Another great article I found on babble.  I hate that I believe this article and I am so scared that it’s true. I have such a sugar addiction.  Im the first to admit that I have a problem.  Whenever I go anywhere and I know Im going to eat I never care what actually food is being offered and I generally think about the desert that I could have.  In fact, I would be perfectly happy filling my plate with sugary junk food than eating nutritious healthy foods.  It doesnt take much though before I have a horrible headache and stomachache.  A friend of mine cut out sugar from her diet completely after a cancer scare and thankfully she is in remission now.  Diabetes + Sugary foods = bad stuff…   What a great reminder why it isnt worth it to give into sweets whenever we have a craving or just because they are laying around within arms reach.  Something to think about.

Sugar: The Sweetest Evil, and Why Doctors Think It Causes Cancer

Posted by carolyncastiglia on April 14th, 2011 at 12:44 pm
5045502202 1d867c8a41 300x199 Sugar: The Sweetest Evil, and Why Doctors Think It Causes CancerNow I know why the American Cancer Society stopped using birthday cakes in their “Happy Birthday” ads.

Robert Lustig is a specialist on pediatric hormone disorders and the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine.  According to the enormous feature in The New York Times Magazine about his theories, UCSF has one of the best medical schools in the country.  Lustig published his first paper on childhood obesity over a decade ago, and he believes the leading cause of the epidemic is something we all consume every day: sugar.

But not only does Lustig believe that sugar causes obesity and diabetes in children and adults, he goes so far as to describe sugar and high fructose corn syrup as toxic, poisonous and downright evil.  Times scribe Gary Taubes is upfront about the fact that after 10 years of research, he’s in complete agreement with Lustig.  Early in the lengthy piece, Taubes writes, “when you bake your children a birthday cake or give them lemonade on a hot summer day, you may be doing them more harm than good, despite all the love that goes with it.”  Lustig, Taubes and others believe that sugar can even cause cancer.

Taubes says that “the conventional wisdom has long been that the worst that can be said about sugars of any kind is that they cause tooth decay and represent empty calories that we eat in excess because they taste so good.”  On the contrary, though, Lustig believes that it’s not sugar’s empty calories that are the enemy, but sugar’s “unique characteristics, specifically in the way the human body metabolizes the fructose in it, that may make it singularly harmful, at least if consumed in sufficient quantities.”

Lustig has determined that glucose and fructose are “metabolized differently and have a different effect on the body.”  The stuff to watch out for is fructose and by extension high fructose corn syrup, which is metabolized primarily by the liver.  Taubes explains:

Consuming sugar (fructose and glucose) means more work for the liver than if you consumed the same number of calories of starch (glucose).  And if you take that sugar in liquid form — soda or fruit juices — the fructose and glucose will hit the liver more quickly than if you consume them, say, in an apple (or several apples, to get what researchers would call the equivalent dose of sugar).  The speed with which the liver has to do its work will also affect how it metabolizes the fructose and glucose.

It turns out – in lab rats, anyway – that if fructose hits the liver quickly (via chugging a can of Coke, let’s say), “the liver will convert much of it to fat.”  That metabolic dynamic “induces a condition known as insulin resistance, which is now considered the fundamental problem in obesity, and the underlying defect in heart disease and in the type of diabetes, type 2, that is common to obese and overweight individuals.”  And here’s the clincher, as I mentioned earlier: “It might also be the underlying defect in many cancers.”  Here’s how that works:

The connection between obesity, diabetes and cancer was first reported in 2004 in large population studies by researchers from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.  It is not controversial.  What it means is that you are more likely to get cancer if you’re obese or diabetic than if you’re not, and you’re more likely to get cancer if you have metabolic syndrome than if you don’t.  Cancer researchers now consider that the problem with insulin resistance is that it leads us to secrete more insulin, and insulin (as well as a related hormone known as insulin-like growth factor) actually promotes tumor growth.

Craig Thompson of Memorial Sloan-Kettering believes that “many pre-cancerous cells would never acquire the mutations that turn them into malignant tumors if they weren’t being driven by insulin to take up more and more blood sugar and metabolize it,” and Lewis Cantley, director of the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard, says “up to 80 percent of all human cancers are driven by either mutations or environmental factors that work to enhance or mimic the effect of insulin on the incipient tumor cells.”

Researchers have previously concluded that there was no evidence that added sugar (beyond what is naturally contained in fruits and vegetables) demonstrated harm at the levels which it was being consumed.  But those same experts “estimated those levels at 40 pounds per person per year,” or 200 calories per day of sugar.  That’s less than the amount “in a can and a half of Coca-Cola or two cups of apple juice.”

Unfortunately, though, the average American now consumes 90 pounds of added sugar per year.  Yikes.

In one study referenced by Taubes, when human subjects were fed “the equivalent of the fructose in 8 to 10 cans of Coke or Pepsi a day… their livers would start to become insulin-resistant, and their triglycerides would go up in just a few days.”  Which is why Lustig believes sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are “chronic toxins,” meaning they are “not toxic after one meal, but after 1,000 meals.”  (Don’t forget, we eat 1,000 meals in just one year.)

One reason to eliminate added sugar from your family’s diet?  Neither Thompson nor Cantley will eat sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.  ”I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little as I possibly can, because I believe ultimately it’s something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer,” Thompson said.  According to Taubes, Cantley put it this way: “Sugar scares me.”

Source: New York Times


A cake for my husband’s birthday

Recently I posted some recipes to use with peeps so I tried the sunflower cake.  I cant say that mine turned out exactly like the one in the recipe but I did take some pics and have some recommendations.  I altered the recipe by using 4 eggs and added 1C. of buttermilk.  I used the recommended amount of oil and omitted the water.  I used a double chocolate cake mix.  I had this idea that the 4″ cake was a double layer cake and I dont think it was.  I didnt look back at the recipe so this is why mine didnt turn out well.  I also should have used the extra cake batter to make more than 6 cupcakes instead of a second layer on the cake.  You will see with my pics below the difference.  I tinted cream cheese frosting yellow for the cupcakes and placed the peeps on top.  I covered the center cake with chocolate frosting.  The only mini chocolate chips I could find were at Walmart in a shaker can for $2.88.  I know very well that they used to come in a bag just like the other chocolate chips so Im guessing they are out there somewhere and probably cheaper for a larger amount.  I have to say I didnt plan this well because I dont have a storage container to put it in.  After I took the picture and showed my husband I put the cupcakes in a seperate container.

Above you see the center piece single layer frosted with the progression of the frosted cupcakes.


In these photos you see the single layer in the center with the cupcakes around. I definately needed more than 6 cupcakes.  8 Cupcakes probably would have been a good number.


Above you see the double layer center and I dont like it as much.  I finished the cake this way so as to not waste food and for storage purposes.  I do like the single layer better and I wish I would have made more cupcakes but the recipe tastes great and it’s still very cute.

More fun with Peeps

I found  a few more recipes and chose my favorites to share.  I got all of these from babble.  After sharing on Facebook that I love stale peeps and a friend told me to try Peeps Smores I had to share this recipe I found:

Bunnylicious Peeps S’mores

Posted by Ole & Shaina Olmanson on April 5th, 2011 at 6:00 am

peeps smores 2 Bunnylicious Peeps Smores
It’s only natural that you’d take marshmallows of any kind and try to toast them. Marshmallow = toasted, right? They are synonymous. I’ve thought so my whole life. I distinctly remember toasting marshmallows on wood skewers over the stove when my mom wasn’t around in the middle of winter. (Note: My mommy never taught me not to play with the stove.)

I did, therefore, put Peeps under the broiler today. This is the natural progression. First the chocolate came out, and the next thing you know, Peeps s’mores are served.

Peeps S’mores

4 graham cracker squares
1 chocolate bar, broken into 4 equal pieces
4 Peeps

Turn the broiler on high. On a baking sheet lay out the graham cracker squares. Top with chocolate pieces and then place a Peep on the very top. Put the baking sheet under the broiler for 1-3 minutes, just until the tops of the Peeps start to brown and the Peeps are nice and puffy. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a minute or two. Enjoy.

Makes 4 Peeps s’mores.

MIX IT UP: Place chocolate-dipped Peeps on graham crackers and allow to set for a portable s’more on a stick.

Another fun recipe I found was this Sunflower cake.  Im tempted to make it for my husbands birthday cake but Im not sure he will appreciate it as much as my daughter will.

Brighten up your Easter Celebration with a Peeps Sunflower Cake

Posted by bellalimento on April 4th, 2011 at 8:42 am

Peep Sunflower Cake1 Brighten up your Easter Celebration with a Peeps Sunflower Cake

Peeps are everywhere right now and in every color imaginable. So while they’re here, I’m enjoying finding fun ways to use them {did you see our PEEP STUFFED BROWNIES} What better way than a Peep Sunflower Cake? It’s bright, happy and sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face. This is a quick and easy dessert that even the kids can decorate on their own.

I made a mini version by using  4″ spring form pans, pictured above {and then just baked extra cupcakes for the kids with the leftover batter}, but you can easily make this in a regular sized cake pan for a more dramatic presentation.

You can choose whatever flavor cake you prefer. I went with a Devil’s Food, cut the cakes in half, and then spread homemade LEMON CURD between the layers for a special surprise.

Peeps Sunflower Cake
What you’ll need:
1 box cake mix {flavor of your choice, plus ingredients to make cake}
2 containers of chocolate frosting
chocolate chips {enough to fill center of cake, I used a combination of regular sized and mini chocolate chips}
2 packages of yellow peeps

What to do:
1. Bake cake{s} according to package directions. Allow to cool completely.

2. Place bottom layer onto serving tray, spread a layer of icing on top. Top with second layer of cake. Continue icing until cake is complete.

3. Arrange peeps around the edge of the bottom layer. Place chocolate chips in center in circular pattern.

If you have a fun recipe to share with Peeps please do so in your comment! Love to hear ideas.

Tuxedo Peeps Recipe

I found this on babble.  I love Peeps and these are adorable.  Perfect for an Easter gathering.

Tuxedo Peeps

Posted by Brooke McLay on March 28th, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Peep Tuxedo Peeps

There’s something delightfully ridiculous about marshmallow Peeps.  They seem to usher in all sorts of childhood nostalgia, kicking off the season of Easter candy with pastel flair.  I always wanted to like Peeps.  As a kid, I’d beg my mom to let me have at them, only to have her fiercely remind me that I never ate them anyway.  She was right.  There was something bitter in that hypercolored sugar.  Something wanting about those marshmallow bunnies.  Try as I might, I’ve never really liked Peeps.

Until this Sunday, when the kids and I dressed them in little tuxedoes of white and dark chocolate.  Suddenly, I couldn’t get enough of them. I’m not embarrassed to admit I let each of the kids eat one, while I bit the crunchy little tuxedos off of a handful of Peeps all by my lonesome.  Turns out, plain old Peeps are kinda cute to look at, but dress them up with a dandy coat of chocolate, and suddenly you’ve got a treat you won’t be able to resist.

Peep1 221x300 Tuxedo PeepsTuxedo Peeps

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • pastel polka-dot sprinkles
  • 2-3 packages of bunny Peeps

Melt the white chocolate chips in a medium glass bowl.  To ensure that your chocolate is melted without becoming singed, pop the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, then remove it and stir.  Return to the microwave for 30 seconds, then remove it and stir again.  Continue doing this until the chocolate is smooth and  melted, but not warm to the touch.

Dip the bottom half of the Peeps into the melted white chocolate, covering the entire bottom half of their body, up to their little necks.  Place the dipped Peeps onto a piece of parchment and allow the chocolate to cool and harden completely.

Melt the dark chocolate chips in a medium glass bowl.  Dip the Peeps diagonally on the left side, then on the right side of their bellies.  Return to parchment and allow to cool and harden.

Spoon some of the remaining chocolate into a ziptop bag.  Cut a very small corner from the bag and pipe a small amount of chocolate on the back of a polka-dot sprinkle.  Gently press sprinkle into place as a “button.”  Pipe a bowtie just above the sprinkle button.  Return to the parchment and allow to cool completely before serving.


Cake Mix Cookies ~ Yum

I found a new favorite! Parents magazing April 2011 edition had a recipe for Cake-Mix Cookies so I gave it a try and the results were fantastic.  I made a second batch today!

The recipe shows a sandwich cookie but mine did not turn out flat for some reason.  My cookies raised so I made vanilla frosting and colored it as suggested but I drizzled it over the cookies and sprinkled easter egg/grass sprinkles on top.  My daughter loves sprinkles so those were for her.  I think drizzling the frosting also saved a few calories because this way you eat one cookie instead of two and Im sure I used less frosting than the sandwich cookies.  The second batch I substituted carrot cake mix and used a cream cheese frosting ~ yum! 

Fast, easy, and inexpensive ~ my kind of cookie! Here’s the recipe:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

2.) Combine cake mix, 1 egg, 1/4C. of canola oil, 1/4 C. of buttermilk in a large bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer (I just used a spoon) until smooth.  Shape 1-inch mounds of batter onto balls and flatten slightly (maybe thats why mine were raised), Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. 

3.) Bake until cookies are golden and firm; about 8-10 mins.  Cool on wire rack ~ or like I do, leave them on the cookie sheets until ready to frost.

4.) Divide the frosting among three bowls.  Use a few drops of food coloring to tint frosting the desired shades of pink, blue, and yellow.  Sandwhich the cookies together with frosting ~ or keep seperate and frost individually. Use sprinkles if wanted.  Makes 30.

Nutrition (sandwiched cookies): 149 calories, 1g. protien, 6g. fat, 22g carbs, 0 fiber, 27 mg calcium, 0 iron, 145mg sodium.

Kids and Sugar ~ a lifetime of battling sweets

I post this because I am  truley addicted to sugar and wish I wasnt.  I feel that and small amount of sugar leads to an overload of sweet tooth cravings and massive guilt for endulging at the end of the day.  I hope I can do better with my own sugar intake and lead a good example for my daughter to teach her healthy food habits in preparation for a healthy life ahead.  Hope this is helpful.

Kids and Sugar: The Skinny on Sweets

Learn how to limit sugar and tame your toddler’s sweet tooth.

Does your little sweetie have a big taste for sweets? And does that adorable penchant for all things sugary even matter that much? After all, how could a piece of birthday cake be a bad thing? Or those cookies at playgroup? Or the cupcakes from Grandma? Sure, a sugary treat every now and then isn’t terrible in the grand scheme of things, but if your child has a sugar-powdered grin every time you spy her in the kitchen — or if you find yourself wrestling treats away from her more often than not, you may have a problem on your sticky hands.

Consider this: The more cake, candy, and cookies your little cookie eats, the less room she’ll have in her tummy for nutritious foods that are essential for her growth. In fact, when it comes to kids and sugar, research shows that when children eat more sweets, they eat less produce, grains, and dairy. Not only does this mean they miss out on key nutrients, this also puts them at risk for poor bone density, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. And of course, sugary foods don’t exactly make your child’s pearly whites any whiter. Excess sugar in young children’s diets is thought to be the reason that 28 percent of two- to five-year-olds have cavities in their baby teeth. So how can you limit sugar in your toddler’s life?

Learn food label lingo. About 70 percent of foods aimed at children — even those that claim to be nutritious — are loaded with added sugar. But you can find out a lot about a product by just reading the label. So become a food-label detective. All ingredients in a product are listed on the label in order of their predominance, with the first ingredient the most plentiful, and the last the least. So a “nutritious” fruit bar that lists its first three ingredients as “sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and fruit juice concentrate,” clearly has a lot more sugar than it does fruit. Keep in mind, too, that sugar goes by many other names, so be on the lookout for these aliases:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit-juice concentrate
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Molasses
  • Barley malt
  • Diastatic malt
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Maltodextrin
  • Honey

Skip sugary drinks. Young children get 10 to 15 percent of their daily calories from sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, fruit punches, and sports drinks). These drinks are one of the biggest sources of refined sugar and empty calories in a child’s diet — and a major factor in childhood obesity. Better options: Water, cow’s milk, soy milk, or even flavored milk. What about fruit juice? Stick with 100 percent juice and keep it to no more than four to six ounces a day. (To make those ounces of fruit juice last longer without any extra sugar, dilute them with water.)

Don’t ban sweets. This can backfire big time. As any frequent dieter knows — you always want what you can’t have, and usually you want it more than ever before! The same goes for toddlers. Forbid sugar completely, and you may create a sweets-starved demon who binges on candy whenever she gets the chance. So don’t deprive her completely. Let her have some high-octane sweets on special occasions.

Satisfy her sweet tooth with healthy fare. Give your tot the sweet taste she craves in the form of healthier desserts, like sliced fruit with yogurt. That way, she’ll satisfy her sweet tooth and satisfy her nutrition needs. Other healthy sweet treats: Fruit smoothies and homemade frozen-fruit juice pops (nutritious Popsicles!).

Avoid linking candy to comfort. When your toddler gets upset, don’t automatically reach for her favorite candy to cheer her up. This could set up an unhealthy relationship between emotions and high-cal foods — which can ultimately lead to weight gain. So when your child needs a boost, offer kisses. The same goes for rewarding with sweets. When your toddler picks up her toys or uses the potty, reward her with a sticker or a cuddle, not candy. Really, what could be sweeter than your loving hugs?

Valentine’s Day fun with Kiddos

Over the weekend I unintentionally kicked off the Valentines Day projects with my daughter, Ava (18 months).  I love introducing her to new and fun projects.  Sometimes I get questions about why I do these projects with Ava even though she is so young and I end up doing most of the project.  My answer is simply that I know she enjoys herself and she is learning regardless of whether she will remember. 

Our first project was to make homemade playdough.  We got this recipe from playgroup and it was altered from the original source but turned out perfectly. 

No-Cook Play Dough

2 1/2 C. Flour

1/2 C. Salt

3T. Corn Oil

1T Alum (a pickling agent)

2C boiling water

2 pkgs kool aid

Directions: Combine in a bowl in order given and stir. 
Add more flour as needed.  Store in a covered container.  You can store in the refrigerator. 

Very young children will enjoy punching, pulling, patting, pinching, rolling, shaping, and ripping the dough.  Add cookie cutters, forks, orange peel cutters, popscicle sticks and other poking devices for more advanced learners.  Manipulating the dough helps young children learn important developmental skills including object permanency, hand eye-coordination, and creativity.

Our Second project was Jello Jigglers! The recipe is on the box…well most boxes.  Basically use 4  (3 oz) packages of Jello, boil 2 1/2 C of water and stir into gelatin until dissolved.  Refrigerate for 3 hours.  I used a 10×13 pan and used heart cookie cutters to make different heart shapes.  She loved the jello,  not so sure she cared what shapes they were.

And our Third Yummy Valentines Day Treat was the Fruit Pizza.  I made it more holiday like by cutting the strawberries into hearts and the only one I salvaged was placed in the center.  I also added a twist to the filling which is very easy but most people dont think about doing this…all I did was smash some strawberries and blended them into the filling before topping the sugar cookie.

Basic recipe: Store bought Sugar Cookie dough (single roll – I made the mistake of not paying attention that the tubs are much larger and overflowed my pizza stone and had a huge mess) and roll out onto a pan for one giant cookie.  Bake approx. 14 minutes or until golden.  Filling: One pkg cream cheese, one tub of cool whip, and add strawberries or other fruit for color and flavor.  I also added about a 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to take the edge of the cream cheese flavor.  Top with sliced fruit of your choice! Ta da!

licking the spatula! Yum!

Health risks around every corner…

When I was breastfeeding my baby, I was extremely cautious about everything that I put in my body and on my body.   Label reading became my new hobby.  I never did get around to reading about food dyes and I just found this article about food dyes in popular cereals. It is so discusting that as a country that values freedom so much, we cannot trust that the food we purchase won’t make us sick.  Its discusting! Read on…

The Food Revolution Begins At Home

Posted by Mary Brune on October 6th, 2010

I was a huge fan of cereal as a kid. Captain Crunch, Golden Grahams, and

Lucky Charms were among my favorites. Magically delicious is right. If I didn’t know any better—and I’m not claiming that I do—I would think those miniature, jewel-colored marshmallows had some kind of addictive quality to them. They were that irresistible.

As a parent, however, I’ve learned to resist. You don’t have to be a scientist—rocket or otherwise—to know that much of what’s marketed to kids as breakfast food these days has little chance of getting their day off to a good start. Unless of course you’re trying to give them a head start on the path to obesity, which is already an epidemic in this country.

What really burns my toast, is that the companies who make this crap for our kids get to obfuscate this fact by engaging in what I like to call “kidcoating” the issue: promoting healthy eating and lifestyles to kids, while serving up snacks and cereals that contribute to the obesity problem and may even cause ADHD.

According to a recent report by The Center for Science in the Public Interest entitled, “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks,” in addition to containing too much sugar, which is bad enough, many of the cereals I grew up eating also contain harmful food dyes linked to hyperactivity in children and tumors in animal studies.

For instance, if I look up my own childhood favorite Lucky Charms in the Food & Food Coloring Database produced by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, I discover those irresistible charms were laced with the food colorings: B1 (Brilliant Blue), Y5 (Tartrazine), Y6 (Sunset Yellow), and R40 (Allura Red). Since these obscure designations meant nothing to me, I checked the CPSI report for answers.

Of Y6 the report states: “may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. Yellow 6 adds unnecessary risk to the food supply.”

Of R40, the report states it “may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice….and might trigger hyperactivity in children. R40 should be excluded from foods unless and until new tests clearly demonstrate its safety.” 

Turns out those charms aren’t all that charming after all.

And as if that’s not scary enough, General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, makes two other cereals, Franken Berry and Boo Berry, which both contain B2,  a food dye associated with brain tumors in male rats and, in CPSI’s opinion, has no business being used in foods. And there, my friends, lies the rub.

Since the food business is big business, General Mills is, no doubt, pushing these products on unsuspecting kids and parents everywhere, just in time for the Halloween holiday.

Let’s send General Mills a clear message that parents aren’t going to be tricked by their attempts at kidcoating their image. Sign our letter to General Mills, asking them to remove harmful food dyes from products marketed to kids.

Crap in is crap out. Whether it begins life in a bowl is just geography.

Posted in The Milky Way

Holiday treats for playgroup

I made these very cute candy cane sleigh treats for my daughter’s playgroup.  I found the recipe in a cute little cook book from LTD Commodities called “A Mom’s Recipe Book Class Treats, Bake Sales and Birthday Parties.  I’ll have to update this post with the response I get from the other parents but I think they will be a hit.  They are very easy to make.  See the recipe below – I modified it a bit for packaging ease.

Makes approx. 19 depending on quantity of snickers bars.

1 bag of fun size snickers (approx 19)

38 mini candy canes (double the number of snickers bars)

38 gummy bears

1/2 cup Chocolate chips, melted

red licorice if wanted (skinny rope kind)

Here you go: unwrap all the candy you need to use.  Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted, mix between intervals.  It took my microwave 3 – 30 second intervals to completely melt.  Use a knife to spread melted chocolate to the sides of the candy canes.  Attach the candy canes to the snickers bars, one each side.  Note: use a baking pan or wax paper to catch the drips.  Apply melted chocolate to the bottoms of the gummy bears and attach to the top of the snickers bars.  If wanted, attach licorice strips to the sleigh for rope handlebars.  I stuck them in the refridgerator to harden the chocolate faster. 

Have fun!

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