As the leaves change colors and the air becomes crisp, we are officially enjoying the Fall season. One of my favorite parts of Fall is knowing that the holiday season is upon us! Holidays are a great time to spend time with loved ones, let loose a little bit, and celebrate our year. However, with celebration, often comes indulgences such as sweeter foods and boozier beverages :)
I’m writing you today to discuss some of the main reasons sugar affects our health, and some strategies to help cut down on the sugar in your family this holiday season.
First up on the holiday sugar train is Halloween! I love talking to all of our practice members, young and old, and hearing about their Halloween costumes. Star Wars, Pokemon and Minions seem to be at the top of everyone’s lists this year!
We are currently taking suggestions for Gilbert’s costume!
Halloween is a great holiday and everyone loves dressing up, however, our children always end up with plastic pumpkins full of SUGAR.
Today, the research states that an average American consumes about 32 teaspoons of sugar per day. That works out to be close to 130 pounds per year!
The human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. In fact, your body metabolizes fructose differently than sugar. It is actually a hepatotoxin (liver toxin) and is metabolized directly into fat – factors that can cause a whole host of problems that can have far-reaching effects on your health.
Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology in the University of California and a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism, says that your body can safely metabolize at least six teaspoons of added sugar per day. Because our society is consuming over three times that amount, the majority of the excess sugar becomes metabolized into body fat – leading to all the debilitating chronic metabolic diseases many people are struggling with.
Additionally, studies have shown the addictive nature of sugar. When we eat foods that contain a lot of sugar, a massive amount of dopamine is released in the brain. When we consume sugar frequently and in large amounts, the dopamine receptors down-regulate.
This means that we will need more junk food next time we eat in order to get the same level of reward and we will ‘crave’ more sugar.
Sugar and other junk foods, due to their powerful effect on the reward centers of the brain, function similarly to drugs of abuse like cocaine and nicotine.
So, what can we do about it?
Similar to "Elf on the Shelf", the Switch Witch is a great new holiday tradition. The way the Switch Witch works is, you have your children put out candy before they go to bed and the Switch Witch takes the candy in exchange for a small present.
2. Natural Sweeteners in Holiday Treats
Swap out sugar with some healthier sweeteners this holiday season! Chck out this great infographic highlighting the best natural sweeteners and check out some healthy blogs via Google for ideas!
3. Get adjusted
As mentioned before, sugar is addictive and has actually been shown to RE-WIRE your brain and nervous system! How crazy is that? You know what else is proven to re-wire your brain and nervous system? A chiropractic adjustment! However, chiropractic adjustments re-wire your brain and nervous system in a positive way. If you do indulge a little this holiday season, make sure you are keeping up with your regular chiropractic adjustments to help your body adapt to the stress of the sugar!
Yours in health,