Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pancreatic Suicide

Well, sometimes it takes me a while to catch on, but the 'light bulb' finally went off! Thank God! Here's what's been going on (well, part of what's been going on, lol).....after my last candy bar binge....3 king size Butterfingers and 2 regular sized Butterfingers, (one after the other, within , oh I don't know, maybe 20 minutes?) I started to question the health of, not only my binge eating but, my habit of binging on pure sugar. I finally, really, felt that my health was in jeopardy.

Oh, I've been defending this sugar binge habit by thinking my healthy eating habits that I've established 90% of the time was 'canceling out' the other 10%, but for some reason, that day, it stopped feeling good. And it's not just 10% of my calories......

If I counted the calories from sugar in relation to the calories of the good foods that I consume in a week's time....let's say that I should average 1800 calories a day x 7 = 12,600, and I have at least one sugar binge, the equvilent of 8 candy bars, 8 x 300 = 2400, (that's a "mild" binge, by the way...not funny!), add in all of the regular sugar consumed daily probably averaging, say 120 cal. per day x 7 days a week = 840, that's more than 30% total weekly calories coming from sugar.

Take into account other factors like, how many times have I had just one binge in a week? (lately) And, like I mentioned a 2,000 calorie sugar, and/or sugar/flour, binge is mild. So, here I am, and the light bulb went off.....I'm committing pancreatic suicide..... not funny.

Although I knew this, because Marks been warning me....here's the breakdown...... as told to me in Mark's words....

Everytime you eat sugar (or any type of carbs for that matter), the body must produce insulin to process it. Small doses of sugar (or carbs) require small amounts of insulin, which come from the pancreas, large doses of carbs, or concentrated carbs, like straight sugar, push out huge amounts of insulin. The more often you do this, the more wear and tear on the pancreas. You can literally burn out the pancreas by doing this, not to mention giving yourself Type 2 diabetes in the process.... In nature super high concentrations of sugar just don't exist. It's the processing that concentrates the sugar, for instance, fruits don't stimulate insulin very much even the sweetest of fruits, compared to processed sugars or simple carbohydrates (flour products).

Also, this is the set up for the perfect "how to put on bodyfat" scenario. When you overeat sugar, or other carbohydrates, it gets immediatley deposited in the fat cells...it just can't work any other way......that's insulins job...to transport sugar into the fat cells, or muscle cells. Unless you have just run 15 miles, or trained for 2 hours, the body has no need for that much sugar in the muscles, therefore it goes into the fat cells for long term storage (bodyfat)....it's alot easier to put it in than get it out. The only thing worse than straight sugar is when it's already in water solution, or, high fructose corn syrup, as it needs even less processing than regular sugar.

I kind of like my pancreas! I need it! Just remember how fast people die when their pancreas goes bad, from either cancer or other illnesses.

So there it is. I'm choosing to kill my pancreas if I keep this nonsense up. Me.....I'm doing it. I think I'll stop and turn it around. It'll start with my diet and my behavior. I'll be writing more about this on my other blog, Food and Thought.


Unknown said...

That's very good information. Many of us underestimate what we're doing when we eat like that. This will help me a lot.

Tori said...

Great post! I have been consuming way too much sugar, but I didn't think that it affected the body that much. I definitely need to take this into account the next time I am craving some suger!

FitwithLizzie said...

Yikes! Sobering thought. I wish my sweet tooth wasn't so strong -- maybe the thought of burning out my pancreas will keep me honest!

I was wondering if I could get your opinion (and/or Mark's opinion) on something that is driving me crazy.

I am (okay, was) at my goal weight of 135. My husband and I have been super active lately (because it feels great to be active without that extra weight to lug around) and my scale is up by 10 pounds! TEN! POUNDS! My measurements are the same, but this extra weight is driving me crazy! Where did it come from?

Last weekend, we did a 6 mile round trip hike up Mt. Monadnoc (a pretty steep hike, but not killer). The next day we did a 22 mile bike ride at a fairly leisurely pace. I drank water constantly throughout both trips. This past Friday, we went to an amusement park and stood in line/walked around for 6 hours. It was a little harder to stay hydrated in the sun that day, but I still drank until my urine was clear. Saturday, I did an easy walk around the neighborhood for 2 hours. Sunday we walked around Newport for 5 hours and Monday we were at it again for another 3 hours. Obviously, I'm eating a little more to fuel these little jaunts, but I am keeping a strict watch on my calories and am no way, no how going over 2,000 cals per day.

Is it possible that this is water retention or something? I was so eager to get outside and move around in the sunshine, but if it's going to make me balloon up, I don't think it's worth it! I'll hide in my house and be thin!

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Mark Reifkind said...


this is mark. that is very strange and would have to be some kind of water retenion. of course you said you are eating more to fuel the events; what is the fuel you are consuming? if it's carbs with sodium even if your calorie count is below 2000 it might bloat you but ten pounds? in how many days?

Gabby Eborall said...

Hi Tracy,
Great post and a very important topic. I was diagnosed as insulin resistant three years ago which puts me dangerously close to diabetes. I was craving sugar in unhealthy amounts and then I would crash. On the outside I was/am very fit and it surprised me that I could be hypothyroid and pre-diabetic at 5'7" 40 years old and 130lbs. It forced me to pay attention to what I eat and take control before I got in serious trouble. I'm happy to say that although I'll probably be on Thyroid meds forever. My insulin levels are now normal. If I were you I'd have a full panel done on the thyroid,adrenals etc. and a glucose (fasting). I have noticed of late your sugar moments are becoming more frequent. A good endocrinologist is a girls best friend at our age ; )
Take care

FitwithLizzie said...

Hi Mark,

Thanks so much for the reply. My last weigh in was almost 2 weeks ago and the scales started creeping up right away until I topped out at 145 yesterday.

The snacks we brought were raw almonds and plain dates (no added sugar). I also mixed in fresh cherries, bananas, watermelon, and pears on various days.

We also did some of Trader Joes Totally Tempting Trail Mix (the kind with dried cherries, peanuts, cashews and peanut butter and chocolate chips). I was eating that a little too freely though, and I made my husband take it to work. :-)

We definitely add salt to our meats when we grill, so that could be the culprit. I also have 2 glasses of red wine each day on the weekends, so I was thinking that might have contributed.

Thanks again for considering my question!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I know I can be dramatic sometimes, lol! But looking at it in this way seemed to make a difference for me.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I've changed the way I feel about foods that are mostly sweetened by processed sugars. I still eat foods that include sugars, but it's hard for me now to consciously choose to eat those foods, in quantity, more than one serving that is.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I've read both of your comments....after the first my initial reaction was that you were eating too many calories, bottom line. 10 pounds is no joke! And it doesn't just "appear". A couple of pounds maybe but 10!

Then reading your second comment.....trail mix is a killer, lol! Seriously, look at the package info for the calorie count, you may be shocked! the only thing worse is granola mix, IMO!

Also, one of the reasons I don't drink wine on a regular basis is not the calories in the wine, but how it makes me feel once I start to drink it! All of my cares, about what I eat, go out the window, and I always eat more than I thought I wanted to.

And as far as salt goes, I salt everything! Although I describe it as "seasoning" my food, it's something that I need to cut back on. I would never grill, or cook meat in any way, without salting it first!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I'm changing my diet and behavior first, but it couldn't hurt to get the bloodwork done. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Dear Tracy,

One of the many traps of this pervasive "positive thinking" mentality (law of attraction, you get what you think etc) is the good/bad labelling, this Full Metal Jacket motivation through "If I'm not feeling ok there must be something I'm doing or not doing, saying or saying. It must be my fault".

The way we do/approach one thing is
the way we do/approach everything.
What affects one area of your life affects all.
There's no good or bad until we belive it, until we put the label on things in the privacy of our brains.

If you say "Life is good"on a regular basis, just as a mechanic habit, and you push yourself too far and you deny the part of you that is lovingly providing you advice about issues yet to heal, or scare that wise part to death by using words like pancreatic suicide, or making yourself feel guilty instead of kindly staying there with your "not enough" until you finally find where the hole is, where the leak is, changing behavior is worthless as telling a a little girl off for climbing trees badly while her knee is bleeding after falling down.
I've learned the hardest way possible, believe me, that the right strategy is comforting the little girl, disinfecting the wound, putting the band aid, telling how proud you are, telling her the pain will subside soon and after a while she will be able to climb the tree again, this time no accidents, but if there are accidents, after all, it will be ok, because accidents and so called failures are not who she is, just experiences.
If you say "life is good" because there's no evident reason to be hungry or sad, because Mark loves you, you are healthy, everything seems to be perfect, and you feel guilty of feeling a hole, a vacuum, a hunger without name, a restless feeling easily silenced with a sugar fix, you are sending a bleeding child to the tree again and telling her to climb better, to never have an accident again, that she will never be a good climber until she reaches the top branches flawlessly as Nadia Com─âneci, the hole just will get bigger and bigger and the sugar fix craving, too.

Nothing is going to happen to your pancreas.
Be kind with yourself, sweetie.
Put a band aid on the wound.
Go to the mirror and celebrate. YOU SO DESERVE to celebrate the amazing enoughness you've accomplished so far.

With a big hug,


Tracy Reifkind said...


I truly believe that is, in fact, true...nothing will happen to my pancreas! I'm not afraid of that, what I'm afraid of? I don't know. I could try and figure it out, but I don't like to think in terms of "woulda, coulda, shoulda"....

This thought of my behavior affecting the health of my pancreas was just my way of reminding myself that there has to be more to life, more joy in experiences other than spending so much of my precious time obsessing on sugary foods. By thinking beyond just how I feel, and instead, taking action in the direction of responsibility.

My responsibility to take care of this physical body to the best of my ability. And when I'm presented with new knowledge, making choices that will make me feel better.

I didn't used to feel guilty about it. In fact I scheduled it into my week. (eating what I wanted, in the amounts I wanted) And as you mentioned I do believe we define good and bad for ourselves....but without one we cannot recognize the other.

I have tried to look back to see when was it that I started to feel bad about it.

But here I am now. Alot has been shifting in my life, and I'm thankful to always feel happy, even through times of frustration and sadness. Your comments in the past few weeks are no accident, and as I read them through, out loud, they make a difference. Thank you.

Diana said...

I sit here and eat my mini tootsie rolls while reading your blog. How funny is that?? I've taken care of patients who are dying from pancreatic diseases-it's not pretty for sure, but you are far from that picture-trust me!
You can prepare, but you cannot predict-so I hope to be enjoying these tootsie rolls for many years to come-as long as I continue with my biking, running, walking, swinging, swimming, snowshoeing, etc....!

Tracy Reifkind said...


You had to mention Toostie Rolls, didn't you, lol?

Anyway, sometimes I can be a little dramatic...ya think?

Keturah said...


I don't think you were one bit dramatic.

I take diabetes and sugar very seriously. I'm only 24, but my dad's father and brother both died from diabetes-related complications at rather young ages (60-ish and 45). Even more shocking is my dad is now borderline diabetic. There is also diabetes on my mom's side.

With all of my own health problems, the last thing I need is diabetes. One of the best ways (the only way?) to attack diabetes is our lifestyles, and that includes exercise (kettlebells and more) and cutting out the things that turn into sugar, which include sugar and starch.

I've been mostly free from grains and processed sugars for 6 weeks. I'm doing well, though I'm contemplating slowly adding in some whole grains in small amounts. (I'll just have to wait to see how I'll feel; definitely no wheat.) The first day was difficult, but I've felt great ever since. Though, I have cheated a few times. (When PMS hit, I had to have a bite of a brownie. Oops!) I quickly felt the affects of just a small bit of processed sugar
Whoa, long post! Sorry, had to get it out, ya know?

Rainer said...

hi !
please read the book "sugar blues" by william duffy. It´s a "must read" book in health literature. here some more informations about it:


Tracy Reifkind said...


Thanks for you view and personal experience on the subject.

As long as I stay with my vegetable based diet, grains rarely make the cut! I don't crave them, I hardly miss them. And when it comes to sugar, cookies definitely top the list, but ice cream and candy will do just fine, lol! (no grains)

How has this change in your diet affected your weight? I guess you'll be wearing last seasons clothes with no problem...right? lol

Tracy Reifkind said...


I'll check out the book, it sounds good. I've read "Lick the Sugar Habit", but wasn't too impressed.

fawn said...

Excellent message Tracy!

Mark Reifkind said...

although I love Magallanica's post(s) I do have to say that diabetes, juvenile diabetes and insulin resistance are occuring in epidemic proportions these days and as keturah as written it can be VERY VERY serious. as in fatal and other terrible side effects.
again Magallanica, thank you so much for your kind, loving, wise and insightful posts, they are more than greatly appreciated :))

Keturah said...

Ah, Tracy! The weight IS starting to come off, bit by bit. How did you know ;-) But I don't think it's entirely due to removing grains and sugar. I've also quit nibbling and returned to the first things that helped me with my weight.

Mark, I agree with you. Diabetes and other insulin-related diseases really have become an epidemic. I don't think the majority of Americans are as concerned with the big D as they should be. I've had only one grandmother die of cancer, but have at least three or four family members who had/have diabetes. That's quite a ratio, even if it is an ancedote and not based on a statistic.