So, I’ve seen this meme circulating on social media channels over the last couple of years, and every time I see it, it rings so true! It’s the one that says:
“In the US, we have a candy holiday, followed by a pie holiday, followed by a cookies and candy holiday, before a boozer holiday, and we call it “flu season” rather than sugar poisoning season.”
Have you seen it?
Let’s unpack this a bit more so we really understand what all of this constant stream of refined sugar can do to the body.
- Sugar depletes your nutrient balance – If there are 4 calories in 1 gram of sugar, and Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 10% of your daily caloric intake be from added sugars, in a typical 2,000 calorie diet, that means no more than 50 grams of sugars each day. That gets spent really quickly knowing how much sugar is added to (or hidden in) many of our foods. So, when you eat something carb and/or sugar heavy, you’re guaranteed to go over that. And the more carb heavy and sugar laden things you are eating on a regular basis, you likely are not taking in as many nutritious foods to create that full balanced diet with proteins and all the necessary macro and micro-nutrients.
- Sugar increases systemic inflammation – Certain white blood cells in our body, cells responsible for addressing infections and keeping our body healthy, display increased signs of inflammation when exposed to high levels of the sugar fructose. They release more inflammatory mediators, which lead to increased systemic inflammation damaging cells and tissues, and overall hindering our body from functioning at its most optimal.
- Sugar consumption decreases immune system function – Chronic exposure to elevated levels of sugars can alter the structure and function of proteins and cells that play an important role in our immune system functioning properly. This is especially seen in those with diabetes as they are more susceptible to infections and other chronic health conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling you not to enjoy the holiday season and indulge just a little in some of the fun treats. Just practice being a little more mindful of the quantity and quality of those treats consumed.
Homemade treats are always more satisfying than store-bought and processed. And remember, sugars hide in everything these days, so if you are going to indulge, make sure to read your labels and know where your sugars are coming from! Be sure you are making an informed choice in how you spend those sugar calories.
As always, if you want more support in this area, I’m always here to help. Reach out and let’s chat.