Sweet and Deadly

Blair Alexis

Australia, Ireland, & the United States.

What do these countries have in common? You may be aware that all three countries are leading in the highest global cancer rates, but what is not as well known is that thesel three countries also have the highest global sugar consumption. What we put into our bodies has a lot to do with these increasing cancer rates and though sugar is sweet, according to research, it can also be deadly.

So how does sugar cause cancer?

Well, it’s not quite that simple. Though there is no direct correlation between sugar and cancer, there is evidence that it may indirectly increase cancer risks. The American Institute of Cancer (AICR) tells us that eating a lot of high-sugar foods may mean more calories than you need, which leads to excess weight and body fat. It is excess body fat that increases the risk of many common cancers. That is why AICR recommends eating a diet rich in nutritious and filling foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit and beans, and replacing sugary beverages with low- or no-calorie drinks.  Sugary diets can lead to other complications such as obesity or diabetes. Who would have thought something so sweet and tasty could cause so many problems in our health?

To avoid these health issues, cutting down your sugar intake seems to be the obvious solution but that’s actually where things get tricky.

The United States is the number one sugar consuming country in the world and if you have attempted to cut down on sugar you may realize that it seems to be found in just about every affordable food product on the shelves of our grocery stores.

The key word here is affordable!  Most foods packed with sugar are considered to be junk foods, and junk foods tend to be cheaper than healthy foods. According to HuffPost “the most comprehensive study of its kind indicates that yes, unhealthy food is about $1.50 cheaper per day, or about $550 per year, than healthy food.” So, if junk foods are what you can afford, junk foods are what you will eat. This leaves people suffering from poverty more susceptible to sugary diets, which lead to many health concerns including cancer.

Something is broken in a system in which healthy foods are considered a luxury and not a necessity.

Not only do people in poverty tend to be bombarded with sugary food products, not to mention processed foods which is another link to cancer risks, but they are also faced with the lack of accessibility to healthcare to diagnose and treat cancer.

The AICR provides us with some healthy tips for cutting that sugar intake which will lead to healthier diets for all:

  • switch sodas for water or flavored sparkling water without added sugar
  • opt for unsweetened tea
  • add colorful fruit like berries, melon and citrus to your water
  • sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa on your coffee beverages and skip the sugar
  • carry healthy snacks like nuts, fresh or dried fruit or whole grain crackers and cheese instead of sugary snacks.

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