Hello, everyone! We hope that you’re having a great week!
I recently saw a post on social media that got me thinking about the upcoming holidays and how so many of us get off track with our healthy diets and lifestyles. The post said, “in the United States, we have a candy holiday, followed by a pie holiday next, a cookie and candy holiday before a boozer holiday, and we call it “flu season” rather than sugar poisoning season.” I have never thought of the holidays in this manner before! No wonder so many people are sick around this time of year.
What does all that sugar do to our bodies? Why would too much sugar cause people to possibly get sick? In the early 1900s, most Americans ate around two pounds of sugar per year. Now Americans eat around 200 pounds of sugar a year. Eating way too much sugar can cause an increase in inflammation and will negatively impact a person’s immune response. A type of sugar called fructose has been shown to inflame monocytes (a type of white blood cell) and cause them to produce more proteins called cytokines. Because of COVID-19, we have all learned how potentially dangerous too many cytokines and inflammation can be.
Too much sugar can cause or make you at an increased risk for metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, infertility, acne, depression, fatty liver disease, fatigue, escalated aging, and impotence. To help decrease the sugar intake in your diet, decrease the amount of brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt sugar, molasses, invert sugar, and any ingredient that ends in “ose” (fructose, lactose, dextrose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose).
I know that during the holidays it is very hard to stay away from sweets because the temptation is everywhere. I struggle with this as well. Start by having one desert instead of two or make a healthier option. Before you know it, your sugar intake will be down to a minimum in no time plus you will feel better too.
We hope that you will keep this in mind during the holidays to make better choices for your health!
Jennifer Foxworth, RN, FNP-C