Adorable candy-grabbing Halloween monsters have disappeared, and now we quickly we move towards the winter Holidays. These can be wonderful and joyous times to be together and count our blessings, but also two major sugar binge times of the year. Is it any wonder that this is also a time for lots of flu and colds? Sugar suppresses the immune system by increasing inflammation and mucus, creating much more susceptibility to sicknesses, allergies and digestive issues.
If you’ve been listening to health news over the past year or so, it’s become all too clear that it’s the sugar, not the fat, that’s causing the bulk of metabolic problems in our society. Insulin, which manages your blood sugar, is critical for life and good health (just ask any insulin-dependent diabetic), but constantly high insulin followed by sugar lows harms our health too, and has been implicated in virtually every major metabolic problem. I’m not just talking about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), but sugars from all sources which have become so prevalent in our food supply, especially in our beverages.
Did you know that a 20-ounce Coke contains 16 tsps. of sugar? That’s a third of a cup! And then, what about that candy bar that many of us turn to in the middle of the afternoon for a “pick me up?” A regular size Snickers equals about 4 tsps. of sugar in your body, a king size bar about 11 tsps. It’s numbers like these that are fueling our obesity and diabetes epidemic, heart disease and cancer. Artificial sugars are not off the hook either, with many studies showing no difference in weight management when we use them, also since these chemicals mimic sugar, the body reacts to most exactly the same way as sugar, taxing the adrenals and hampering metabolic functioning.
Sugar is proven more addictive than cocaine and stimulates the same brain centers. Food companies know this very well, and in fact it’s put into almost all processed foods and drinks as a way of tantalizing our taste buds and our brains, telling us we need more—more! It’s also very cheap to use in many of it’s forms, especially HFCS—a heavily subsidized and very cheap GMO crop. If you find “high-fructose corn syrup” or the new term “corn sugar” on the label, you can be sure it is not a real, whole food full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants which are the very things that will keep your body healthy and able to combat disease and stress.
Other key words to look for on labels? Concentrated fruit juice, dextrose, maltose, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, invert sugar, raw sugar, malt syrup, cane crystals and fructose. Another important tip on reading product labels: 4.4gms = 1 tsp of sugar. So check “sugars’’ on the label, then divide grams of sugars by servings listed, and that's what you're ingesting in just one serving… think about it!
And parents, please control the amount of sugar your child is ingesting each day. I know it’s difficult to change habits, but working in naturally sweet fruits (and in small amounts) and naturally sweet veggies (carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, etc.) will help re-sensitize their taste buds to the subtle taste of real sweet and also keep them healthier this winter – not to mention help them avoid many of the chronic lifestyle diseases that are epidemic in the US.
Whether you’re a parent or not, you are the CEO of your kitchen and household, so take charge!
Need help with making your family healthier and happier? Want to stay accountable during the holiday season with strategies for healthy eating and fitness? I'm offering $75 off three months of any Health Coaching Program if you sign up by November 19th. I’ll help you not only survive the holidays, but THRIVE without the weight gain and guilt, and you can still eat, drink and enjoy all the festivities! And you'll start the New Year with a whole new attitude and no regrets