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This is the monthly newsletter of The EllaCris Foundation for Women's Gynecological Cancers, and The I Hate The C Word Facebook Group.
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"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!"

-Audrey Hepburn

 

Understanding The Facts of Ovarian Cancer
By: 
Jed Turk MD, FACOG, Medical Director Obstetrics and Gynecology, Health Quest Medical Practice

How common is ovarian cancer? How concerned should women be? 
Ovarian cancer affects 1 in 68-70 women, which translates to about a 1.5% lifetime risk. Although it is the leading cause of gynecological cancer deaths it is not the leading cause of cancer deaths in women. The number one position is held by lung cancer and that holds true for men as well. Ovarian cancer is the 5th cause of cancer deaths in women after lung, breast, colon and pancreatic cancer. Each year in the US, approximately 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and approximately 14,000 women die of this disease. The expected 5-year survival rate is 50%.
 
Why is it such a deadly type of cancer?  
This is simply due to the fact that when it is found it is usually in an advanced stage. Very often it is found in stage 3. Although these cancers can be aggressive and spread quickly, if found in stage 1 there can be a 90% survival or better. This is very similar to other forms of gynecological cancers such as uterine and cervical.
 
If finding cancer in its earliest stage is important, why don’t we screen for it? 
The reason for this is because there is no screening test available.
 
Shouldn’t I have my physician order a CA-125?
If this is being ordered for screening purposes then the answer to that is NO. CA-125 is not an affective screening test for ovarian cancer and unfortunately we do not yet have a good screening test available. A screening test should be able to find nearly all cases of a disease in its earliest stage and CA-125 cannot do this.  A normal CA-125 never means no cancer and an elevated level does not mean that there is cancer.  CA-125 can be helpful in evaluating abnormal ovarian cysts but it should never be used as a screening tool.
 
I have ovarian cancer in my family, am I at increased risk? The confusing answer to that is maybe. If you have a single family member with ovarian cancer then your risk is not necessarily elevated. If you have several family members with ovarian cancer or if you some with ovarian or breast or colon creating a “cluster” of cancer cases in your family then you are at increased risk especially if you test positive for certain genetic mutations. It would be helpful if one of the affected members can have genetic testing so that the rest of the family can have appropriate genetic counseling and testing. Whether or not you have a genetic mutation you should be sure that your gynecologist is aware of family history.
 
Is there anything I can do to help prevent ovarian cancer? Women who use birth control pills for at least 1-2 years seem to have a lower lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer. If you need to use birth control then this is a method that you should certainly discuss with your gynecologist. For women who have completed childbearing and are considering tubal ligation (tying their tubes) you may be happy to hear that tubal ligation also seems to decrease lifetime risk. Something that is starting to become more common is actually removing the tubes altogether either for sterilization or at time of hysterectomy if the ovaries are not being removed. A small percentage of ovarian cancers start in the tubes so by removing the tubes the lifetime risk is decreased by a small percentage as well.
 
If we can’t screen for it what do we do? How can we increase the chance of finding this early if it occurs?
The warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague and non-specific. They can include bloating, abdominal pain or discomfort, feeling full quickly or loss of appetite, urinary symptoms, discomfort with intercourse or any feelings of GI upset. I am sure that everyone who is reading this has had some of these symptoms at one time or another. Even if you have all of these symptoms the chance that you have ovarian cancer is small. The current recommendations are that you should be evaluated by your gynecologist if you have any of these symptoms that linger for more than 1-2 weeks. Your gynecologist will perform a pelvic exam and probably order a pelvic ultrasound.
 
My gynecologist told me that I have an ovarian cyst, should I worry?  
Probably not. Many women don’t realize that ovaries are cystic structures and having a cyst, especially during reproductive years is usually a normal finding. This does not mean, however, that every cyst is normal. Your gynecologist will be able to tell you, based on your symptoms and ultrasound description of your cyst, if this is something that can be ignored or if it should be followed. From time to time, the appearance and or size of the cyst, along with presenting symptoms, may indicate that it is time to order a CA-125 as well as other blood tests or surgery may be indicated. If there is any reason to be suspicious that a cyst may be cancerous then your gynecologist will most likely refer you to a gynecologic oncologist.
 
I have no signs or symptoms, what are my recommendations?  
The current recommendations are that all women should have a yearly pelvic exam by a gynecologist. Lately this has become somewhat confusing because most women no longer need yearly Pap smears. With the advent of HPV testing, Pap smears can be done as infrequently as every 5 years. We do not want women confusing the pelvic exam with a Pap smear. Pelvic exams should be done yearly and your gynecologist will still use a speculum to examine your cervix and vagina even if you are not due for your Pap smear. You should always update your physician with changes in family history and seek evaluation for any symptoms as described above or for any abnormal bleeding. 
 
April Calendar Girl: Stacy Kiss

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Seesaw
By: Angela Dilger

Growing up in Brooklyn, my family lived a few blocks away from Knickerbocker Park, where I loved riding the seesaw with my sister.  A ride that left you breathless and alive.  The thrill of being high in the sky, and then the belly flop as you were let down, sometimes not so easily but still very exciting.  I am a grownup now and there is no fun in riding the seesaw with ovarian cancer; for that is now what my journey has become, a seesaw.  Still a breathless ride, but alive or hanging on by a teal thread?
  
NED, who we have come to love dearly, is a ride on a seesaw.  He leads you up into the sky, you are under his spell, and then just as suddenly he will let you down with a fierce crash.  NED is an acronym or abbreviation (not sure which) for NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE.  Movie star for sure, our NED, and is now showing in select theaters.  This seesaw we live our lives on is not only being played out on the big screen, but on a daily basis (but not smaller scale) for us.  Scans of all kinds, labs of all kinds, treatments of all kinds, side effects of all kinds, surgeries of all kinds and medications of all kinds.  What is a girl to do? We all want NED so we have no choice but to go along for the ride.

While I longed to remain high in the sky, it only lasted a short time and the crash brought me to my knees for the second time.  I have no control once again.  The CA125 will show the OC returning four to six months before a scan will.  So it was wait and watch for me and a totally accurate prediction followed.  Who can stay positive in these times?  For certain not me.  I have no desire to seesaw with this serial killer as I was up and now I am down.

Doctors (and I have more than a few in two states) ask about my mood.  The answer is black, with treatment every three weeks, labs every three weeks, CA125 every three weeks,  CT scan every three months, doctors appointments and enough side effects to last a lifetime.  And all this is on the positive side, meaning I am not dead and my doctors are trying their level best to keep the beast at bay. Well that is something hopeful.  You are high in the sky.  But then wait, CA125 on the rise and you are down.  Feeling good today?  You are high in the sky.  But then wait, your scan shows trouble and you are down.  Up, down, up, down, never ever knowing where you will stand tomorrow.  But of course no one is guaranteed a tomorrow and I know this to be true but somehow this seesaw is vastly different than your run of the mill life expectancy.  Even when you are high on NED, there is no trust that he will be true, fickle fellow that he is.  And being the suffragette that I am, never trusting to follow anyone but rather leading, it is most distressing that this fellow is in the lead.  Can I do anything about this hot mess?  No I cannot.  Imagine how this feels, having no control.  Imagine how it feels to go from being a master fixer to being a victim. Imagine how it feels to have no peace of mind.  Imagine how it feels to lose all that was feminine about you? We hope and pray that this ride on the seesaw will end leaving us high in the sky, not in heaven but on earth, and that OC will crash down with a mighty thud and be smashed to pieces once and for all.
 

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Slutty Dresses and Platform Stilettos
By: Sara Garcia

“It’s cancer,” words that I thought devastated me. Again. But I vowed to be strong. I vowed to be positive! And I knew that in a few short months I would be past this as well. So I had my surgery, took my chemo and radiation like a champ, and then finally was told I was done with treatment.
But then (of course right after my hair started to actually look like a haircut instead of a military escapee) I got hit in the gut again. More cancer. What the heck is metastases?? Ok, Sara you got this. You’ve done this before. POSITIVE! Yes I could do it.
So down the road I went. More radiation. More chemo. Bye bye hair. But then something different started to happen. What’s going on with my legs? First a tickling feeling. Oh how the cold made them hurt. Wait, why can’t I feel my feet anymore? Walking gets harder with every step. Oh no! What’s happening to my body?! This medicine is supposed to be making me better!
And then that’s it. Tests and more tests. I’ve lost over 60% feeling in my feet. Wheelchair. No freedom. Depression. But how am I going to dance when I’m in a wheelchair?! Do they not understand that being able to dance around my kitchen is what keeps me going? That being able to twirl around my house motivates me to go another day?
I try to make the best of the situation. Keep smiling Sara. You’re still alive. Still fighting. But am I really living?
“Mama come play basketball with us”
“Hey babe, lets go to the park”
But sitting in that chair all day makes my bones hurt even more. And with every passing day I feel my legs fading more and more. I go to my room and sit on my bed and just stare at my closet. All my beautiful bright colored dancing dresses. Sky high platforms. Hot pink. Silver with spikes and a 6” heel. Aaahhh my loves. Then I’m just consumed with anger! They all must go! They just sit there in my closet torturing me! Facebook posts and phone calls... someone come get these once beloved things from me!
And they’re gone. Ah relief. No more having a constant reminder of what my body used to be able to do. Maybe now my bedroom can once again become my sanctuary. I lay down. And feel empty.
Are shoes and dresses really this important? Why am I so sad over clothing? It was just a small part of what I have lost during this trip through hell. But the sadness was breath taking. After a few days it started to suffocate me. I had let my hope go. I had given up ever getting out of this chair. I had given up walking. And even though I didn’t realize it, I had given up on trying to actually live. Unacceptable! What could I do? How could I fix this?
I decided to launch Operation: Slutty dresses and Platforms.
Step one: Believe! How could I ever again face my platform stilettos if I had no belief in them?
Step two: DO IT. My little bitty dresses that made my booty look oh so good would never forgive me if I didn’t just get up and get them back. Exercise, supplements, no more chemo. I feel closer to my lovies every day. I’m not walking yet. But I can stand. 37 seconds baby! And I’ll stand for longer soon! I must stand! I have to take a stand for all of us who have had to give up our platforms and little dresses! Yes ladies, we all have so much to fight for. Our children, husbands, families, and friends. But sometimes we have to fight for our shoes and favorite outfits.
For the things that make us feel sexy and like WOMEN! I might not be able to get my long flowing hair back as fast as I want. But when I slip on a new hot pink number, luscious black 5 ½” stilettos, and some dangling earrings I will be able to take over the world again. Or at the very least the dance floor. And once I’m there, well just try and stop me!

What's Hot In The Shop
By: Dorothy "Dot" Bizzoco

 

We have great gift ideas for Easter and Mothers Day.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ellie Savoy and discussing her new book, "Stop Dieting Start Living" which will be available for purchase in our store. She will also have a book signing at Tomáš Tapas Bar and Restaurant on May 23, 2015 from 1-3.  This is an excerpt from her biography:

“Like you, I’ve spent a large part of my adult life under a great deal of stress. I lost sight of the importance of my health time and time again; gaining weight and yo-yo dieting to take care of it.
I have always been a naturally happy person but the extra weight and not feeling great in my clothes did affect me on a deeper level. I felt like I was never going to be free of a diet or being addicted to sugar. What I realized is that food was the symptom and not the cause I was eating to fulfill something much deeper.
My life seemed to get busier and busier, and looking back, I was not as deeply happy as I wanted to be. I missed my family and I didn’t realize the impact the transition was having on me.
After experiencing a successful career owning and operating a real estate company for many years and contributing to my community through various charitable causes, I was heavy, tired and completely overwhelmed.
Many people need a trigger for change in life and the first trigger for me that was my Mother’s passing in 2008. Then just 21 months later my Father passed away. The saying “you can’t take it with you when you die” really hit home. I had been living with so much stress striving for material things that I had lost site of myself and my health.
The final trigger was in 2011 when I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids. The four options I was given were not options for me! Three involved surgery and the other one was to do nothing. This was when I really embraced making healthy permanent lifestyle changes. I now enjoy living a diet free and healthy life, without symptoms, medications and a bunch of rules!. I haven’t looked back since then."

 SHOP NOW!

Please contact me, "Dot," at "What's Hot In The Shop"
Call: (845) 392-6870 or Email: DorothyBizzoco@theellacrisfoundation.org

if you have an interest in participating in our shop, or just feel the urge to shop, by all means have fun and shop till you drop! It's all for a great cause. Join us in helping to save lives, as early detection is key. Know the symptoms

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The graphics included in this newsletter and for all of The EllaCris Foundation promotions are created by:
Don't Forget To Join Us At
GIRLS NIGHT OUT
on April 16, 2015
at Shadows on the Hudson

This is a fun event to help support The EllaCris Foundation and their mission to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer. Have a "Teal-Tini" with your friends while supporting a great cause!
Get your tickets here
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10 Things I Learned Since My Cancer Diagnosis

By: Brenda Maxwell

1) I learned that life can change in a heartbeat for any of us at any time. I went to bed one night thinking I was healthy and the next night went to bed with a stage 3C Cancer diagnosis.

2) I learned who truly caredI was so very blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who helped me in so many ways.

3) I came to understand the cliche "If you have your health, you have everything." No truer words have ever been spoken.

4) I no longer "Sweat The Small Stuff." Seriously, most problems are not as big as they first seem. Dealing with the big "C" diagnosis made this very clear to me.

5) I appreciate my hair... The very thin, straight hair I'd hated for decades!  After being without it I'll take it any way it wants to grow!

6) I love my house full of people! I don't care if it means extra work or money. I don't worry about stains and spills. I just care that I'm here to experience it all!

7) I've learned that I don't want to miss anything... I want to be at birthdays and anniversaries, school plays and graduations. I make it a point to try and not miss these things. There was a time on my Cancer journey that I thought I'd never see them again.

8) I've learned to be thankful everyday.  No matter where I am or what I'm doing I make a mental note of something I used to take for granted... Be it a tree, the lick of an ice cream or just a good deep breath of fresh air.

9) I say more prayers... I say prayers everyday. Thank you prayers for myself and prayers for others who need them. I believe now , more than ever in the power of prayer.

10) I learned that when I was going through treatment , on the rare days that I felt good enough to venture out, most people who I crossed paths with did not notice my battle.

Thus, I've learned that those strangers I come across all have a battle of their very own. It has taught me patience and compassion, even with the person who steals my parking spot.

Together we can do this...
You Really Look Good!
By: Nanette Calhoun

How often do cancer patients hear this comment from others? In many cases, it’s quite often. I know, most of the time, others truly mean it as a compliment, or are making an attempt to help the cancer patient feel better. In my personal experience, I hear this comment, or similar comments, from just about every person I see. Most people ask how I’m doing, how I’m feeling, or how treatment is going. Depending on how I’m feeling that day, my answer will vary. If I don’t feel like going into a long explanation, or I feel that the person is just asking out of obligation and doesn’t really want the full truth, I’ll usually just say I’m doing ok. Sometimes I’ll say I haven’t been feeling the best, or I’ll be even more honest and say that I’m still trying different types of chemo in hopes of finding one that might actually work, but so far none of them have had much of an impact on defeating the cancer, but are keeping me fairly stable. But, no matter what answer I give, it’s usually followed up by them saying, “Well, you really look good.” I’ve heard, “You don’t look like you have cancer. If I didn’t know, I couldn’t tell.” I’ve even had a few people start off by saying, “You look good, I’m glad you’re doing better.” Huh? Who said I was doing better? That’s news to me. The way a cancer patient looks on the outside often does not reflect what is happening with how their treatment is going, how they’re physically feeling, how their cancer is responding or not responding to treatment, etc.
 
There are many faces of cancer. There is no one look that cancer patients possess. There is no poster child for the face of cancer. I believe that a lot of the general public has a specific image in mind of what a cancer patient should look like. Even though it sounds kind of morbid, I believe their image of a cancer patient is one of someone who is frail, weak, thin and skeletal, with sagging skin and sunken eyes, among other not so pleasant physical attributes. That is not always true. The physical appearance of cancer patients can often be attributed to what type of cancer they have, the stage of the cancer, how the various treatments they are on are affecting their bodies, how the cancer is responding to the treatments, how the various medications they are on to manage side effects of the treatments are affecting their bodies, etc. The disease itself, treatments for the cancer and medications used to manage side effects can cause a variety of physical conditions and symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss, hair loss, loss of muscle mass, loss of appetite, increased appetite, shakiness, weakness, extreme fatigue, joint and bone pain, muscle pain, headaches, sinus issues, weight gain, bloating, tooth and gum deterioration, rashes and blisters, insomnia, vision problems, high blood pressure, low blood counts, kidney and liver issues, heart issues…..and the list goes on.
 
It may seem like I’m unappreciative of receiving a compliment on my appearance. I’m not. Hey, everyone likes to hear that they look good. But, sometimes looks can be deceiving in regards to how a person feels physically. If I’m not feeling well, treatment hasn’t been going well, or I haven’t been receiving the best test results and I try to explain that to someone, and their response is, “But you look good,” that’s when the compliment is lost on me. That response sometimes makes me feel like they didn’t really hear me when I tried to be truthful and explain how things are going, and because they think I look good, I must be doing ok. That’s why it’s sometimes easier to just tell people I’m dong ok. Whatever I tell them, I get the same response. I lost a lot of weight pre-diagnosis and after surgery and I went through the bald phase during the first chemo regimen that I was on. After moving on to other types of chemo, my hair started growing back. Due to treatment and various medications (especially the binge-eating-inducing steroids), my appetite increased and I gained back all the weight I lost….plus more. So, in actuality, I do look a little better on the outside, but I experience some of the issues and symptoms I mentioned above and sometimes don’t feel so good on the inside. With cancer, as with many other conditions and diseases, a patient’s appearance is not always indicative of how they’re feeling and what is going on inside their bodies. 
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Are Your Brows In Good Hands?
By: Jennifer Bates, Cartier's Salon

  • Discovering the best shape for your eyebrows without sacrificing their natural appearance is what you want to accomplish when shaping your brows. Pencil thin or overly bushy eyebrows are dated looks that can be distracting rather than enhancing.
  • There are two methods for creating the perfect brow, shaping it by removing unwanted hair or filling in a sparse look with a pencil. Here are some helpful hints on how to keep your brows looking their best! 
  1. Try using an eyebrow pencil to draw on different shapes over your brow area to see which shape looks the best.
  2. Use a magnifying mirror, at least a 5X magnification, so you can see each hair when tweezing.
  3. Go slowly (one hair at a time) so you don't over-tweeze.
  4. The beginning of the brow should align with the center of the nostril. The arch of the brow should fall at the back third of the eye.
  5. The eyebrow should follow the length of the eye but it shouldn't extend into the temple area. The basic rule is that the front part of the brow should never drop below the back part of the brow. Allowing this to happen, either with the way you tweeze your eyebrows or the way you draw them on, makes you look like you’re frowning and overemphasizes the downward movement of the back part of the eye.
  6. Avoid over-tweezing above the brow. A few stray hairs are fine to remove, but too much and it can create an unnatural look.
  7. Do not overstate the shape of the brow; minimal brow alteration is best.
  8. Do not pluck brows into a thin line thinking it will make your eyes look larger. It can look dated or give the face a surprised look and this shape is not easy to correct once the damage is done.
  9. To shape the brow, tweezing is probably the best option for accuracy and to prevent mistakes.
  10. The best tweezers are the ones from Revlon or Tweezerman. Which type (both companies offer several options) works best for you is about personal preference.
  11. Waxing is an option but it's hard to control the wax. You may inadvertently remove the wrong hairs.
  12. Never shave. This presents too big a risk of removing too many hairs at once, leading to a patchy, overly thin or wildly uneven brow. None of that is attractive! Ladies our face is a precious picture! Let's Frame it Wright with Gorgeous Eyebrow!

If you have a beauty question, please ask Jen by emailing her: JenBates@theellacrisfoundation.org

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going
By: Leah Barrett

Or something like that. I was diagnosed with Stage IIIc Ovarian Cancer in December 2013 at the age of 47. After a seven and half hour surgery, a ten day hospital stay over Christmas and enrollment on a clinical trial, I’m still here 16 months later. There’s a part of me that is still grappling with my new truth. And, there is a part of me that is trying to pretend that I’m only dreaming this nightmare and soon I will wake up to the life I knew before. As I try find my new normal I must credit those women who have already walked this path. From the start, I searched for resources. I googled every version of Ovarian Cancer Survivor I could think of. I needed to see examples of women with this diagnosis who were living their lives and trying to shove Ovarian Cancer into the corner. I found them. Lots of them. And, they give me hope. Their examples provide me a road map. They inspire me to wake up each day and embrace life.   And, I do. Don’t get me wrong. I struggle. A lot. This is not easy. And, when I want to throw in the towel, I look to them. If they can do it, I can do it.

 
Now I’m told, that I’m one of those women who inspire others. I can’t quite believe that since I’m so new to this Ovarian Cancer thing. But, ok. I am very happy to pay it forward in anyway that I can. So, for those of you who are reading this freshly diagnosed or halfway into chemotherapy and wondering if there is light at the end of the tunnel, if only for a day, YES, THERE IS! I doubted this on a daily basis as I was going through the really rough chemotherapy cocktail. Would I ever feel well again? Would I ever get regain my strength?

The day of my surgery, I weighed 115 lbs. The day I left the hospital, I weighed 108 lbs. After cycle #2 of chemotherapy, I was hospitalized with neutropenic fevers and weighed 97 lbs.
 
I was a runner, cyclist, weight lifter, yogini, and your all-around health nut. I owned a fitness studio. I’m a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Fitness Instructor and Psychotherapist. I was not Ovarian Cancer.

 

I’m still receiving chemotherapy as part of the clinical trial: avastin. I call it chemo-light compared to the frontline chemotherapy side effects I experienced. I only have one more cycle to go! I have crawled my way back to health. I started walking three weeks after I finished frontline treatment. I started lifting weights six weeks later. I started jogging five weeks later. I took my first yoga class within three months of my last treatment. It has not been a walk in the park. I do not have the stamina I once had. I am not as strong as I once was. I often start and have to stop. And, yet, I keep trying. I keep showing up to the gym, the bike path, the yoga class. And, little by little I’m reclaiming my life.

I give credit to all those women who have come before me. Thank you. And, to those of you who are just starting this new chapter in your lives, YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

Toxicity of Sugar - The Effects On The Family
By: Christa Stamos

The debate going on in the medical profession is the question Is Sugar Toxic? I’ve been researching the studies of Robert Lustig who is a specialist on pediatric hormone disorder and the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. He published his first paper on childhood obesity over a dozen years ago and has been treating patients along with doing research on the disorder ever since.

 

Lustig is a firm believer that sugar is toxic and not only the white granulated sugar but also sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.  With the increase in sugar in the past 30 years the number of obese and diabetic Americans has skyrocketed, chronic diseases have been continuing to grow at an alarming rate such as heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers. 

 

The word sugar means both sucrose (beet and cane sugar either white or brown) and high fructose corn syrup. In the early 1980s high fructose corn syrup replaced sugar in sodas and a variety of other processed products because it was cheaper to manufacture. Currently refined sugar is making a comeback because of news of how fructose corn syrup is bad for us. Now industry after industry is replacing their products with sucrose and using it as a marketing tool labeling products “No Fructose Corn Syrup”. The thing is the two sweeteners are effectively identical in their biological effects. Refined sugar (sucrose) is made up of a molecule of the carbohydrate glucose which is bonded to a molecule of the carbohydrate fructose, a 50 – 50 mixtures of the two. The fructose which is just about twice as sweet as glucose is what distinguishes sugar from other carbohydrate-rich foods like bread or potatoes. The more fructose, the sweeter the food will be. High-fructose corn syrup is 55 percent fructose with the remaining 45 percent nearly all glucose. Each of these sugars end up as glucose and fructose in our gut with our bodies reacting the same way to both and the physiological effects being identical. 

 

We already know that sugar causes tooth decay, are empty calories and when we eat sugar in excess we gain weight.  Sugar does not come with any protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fiber and displaces other more nutritious elements in our diet. Sugar has unique characteristics in the way the human body metabolizes the fructose in it. This is where the difference comes in. Sugar is isocaloric but not isometabolic. The calories are the same but the metabolic consequences are very different. The fructose component of sugar and high fructose corn syrup is metabolized primarily by the liver while glucose from sugar and starches is metabolized by every cell in the body. If you take sugar in liquid forms such as soda or fruit juices the fructose and glucose hit the liver even faster. The speed with which the liver has to its work also affects how it metabolizes the fructose and glucose. Because of this the liver converts much of the sugar to fat resulting in fatty liver.  This also induces a condition known as insulin resistance which is a fundamental problem of obesity and researchers are now seeing that it is also an underlying effect of many cancers.  Researchers are finding an increase risk of heart disease and diabetes even raising LDL cholesterol.  The Department of Agriculture analysts found that by the early 2000’s according to the USDA Americans have increased their consumption of sugar to more then 90 pounds per person per year.  In 1980 roughly one in seven Americans were obese, by the early 2000’s one in every three Americans was obese and 14 million have become Type II diabetic.

 

It’s interesting that when studies are done with different cultures the evidence shows variables in the manifestation of disease. A study in the US showed that in 1924 deaths from Type II Diabetes had increased as much as 15-fold since the Civil War years, coincidently there was an equally significant increase in sugar consumption.  Debates rose with the Japanese stating that the Japanese ate lots of rice yet Japanese diabetics were few and far between. Rice is a carbohydrate which suggests sugar so shouldn’t there be equal statistics concerning this disease. Well sugar and rice actually are not identical, the fructose content of sugar affects how we metabolize it and the Japanese actually ate very little sugar.

 

Sugar raises blood levels of triglycerides which is a technical term for fat and is a risk factor for heart disease.  Most recently the context of science has changed; physicians and medical authorities have now come to accept the idea of metabolic syndrome as being a major risk for heart disease and diabetes.  It is truly frightening that some 75 million American have metabolic syndrome, many who don’t even know they have the disease.  If you have an expanding waistline there is a good chance you have metabolic syndrome.  When you have metabolic syndrome the cells in your body are actively ignoring the action of the hormone insulin which makes you insulin resistant.  You secrete insulin in response to the foods you eat, particularly the carbohydrates which keeps blood sugars in control after a meal. When your cells are resistant to insulin your body responds to rising blood sugar by pumping out more and more insulin.  The pancreas can not long keep up with the demand, your blood sugar rises out of control and you develop Type II diabetes.
Having chronically elevated insulin levels can cause heart disease and a result in higher triglyceride levels along with high blood pressure with lower levels of HDL cholesterol worsen insulin resistance which is metabolic syndrome.  The accumulation of fat in the liver caused by excess sugar is what sets off metabolic syndrome. 

 

When I learned about this I thought about how our societies are setting not only us but children up for disaster. When I take my daughter out to a restaurant and drinks are offered the first choices are sodas and juice, the last offered are sugary deserts and the in between are fried foods or foods with little to no nutrition. Even my daughter who knows better because I have restricted soda from the start becomes tempted, almost worn down because it is always offered and sooner or later the no wants to change to a yes. I think about what I was given as a child and granted we now know more about nutrition but my mother still gave me fast food multiple times a week and fast food along with soda became regular meals into my adulthood. It was getting sick that finally made me wake up to what I was really putting into my body. Now I feel it’s become a race to protect these kids and give them solid health not chronic disease that they will have to deal with as adults. The thing is many of these conditions take years to develop, it doesn’t happen overnight. But think of this, where young adults were showing the onset of Type II Diabetes, now kids under 10 are showing symptoms along with developing hypertension and high cholesterol.

 

I hear the argument that fast food is cheaper, that people can’t afford organic food or fresh vegetables. I have to argue that because I actually spend less at my local CSA (community supported agriculture) or farmer’s market then I do going out. I even get specials like free farm fresh eggs or other produce because I am member of a CSA. And membership is inexpensive! It only costs 5.00 a year. The farmer’s even teach to grow your own vegetables in your backyard which makes vegetables even more affordable. What it comes down to is that there is no excuse, giving them all this excess amount of sugar along with processed foods is breaking down their system and exposing them to life long chronic disease. Make a difference with your kids, when they are young they turn to us for love and care, to nurture them and give them nutrition to build their bodies, keep them strong and healthy. It’s not fair, kids don’t have the option of choosing when they are little, we need to be responsible adults, be accountable and make healthy choices for our kids.
Upcoming Events & Promotions
April is officially Teal-Tini Month!
Tomáš Monosi and Lynn Corson, proprietors of Tomáš Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Wappinger Falls NY, firmly believe in giving back to the community that supports their business. We feature a cocktail called the Tealtini. $1 from each cocktail served goes directly to the EllaCris Women's Gynecological Cancer Foundation. If you live close by come in and join us. If not, here's the recipe for this exotic yummy drink.
 
"Here's To The Teal" 
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Blue Curacao
1 oz. Pineapple Juice

Shake vigorously over ice. Strain into a martini glass
Enjoy!!!
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
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