I LOVE Halloween as much as a kid! Visiting the pumpkin patch, making a mess carving pumpkins, toasting up the fresh seeds, finding the perfect costume, and of course your favorite candies looking oh so cute in their little bite size wrappers! I'm a big fan of moderation and couldn't think of a better time to remind you to eat a little less sugar this Halloween!
As a child,I remember how much fun my sister and I had going trick or treating and trading candy with each other after we got back home. My parents were very strict about how much candy we ate, but this was simply because we were already crazy hyper without it, so they were just keeping themselves sane! We were allowed 4 pieces on Halloween night, and every night after we chose 1 piece after dinner. Our candy lasted for months!
As much as I love Halloween, it brings up the important topic of sugar and how scary the consequences are when it is over consumed. Unfortunately, this over consumption is easy to do, and has become a HUGE issue that is contributing to obesity and disease.
If you ask me which is the greater evil between sugar and fat, I’ll tell you hands down: SUGAR. While most people are familiar with "added sugar" as the white table sugar (sucrose) that gets scooped into coffee, so many people don’t understand what actually constitutes as “added sugar.” Some of the common added sugars include: corn syrup, dextrose, corn sweetener, maltose, malt syrup, glucose, molasses, sucrose, syrup, and high fructose corn syrup. I urge you to go look in your kitchens, and you'll see that sugar is added to everything these days. It’s no wonder so many people are sick, tired, and overweight!
Currently, the average American diet consists of nearly 22 tsp of added sugar per day, which is roughly 355 calories. The AHA guidelines suggest that women not consume more than 6 tsp (approx. 25 grams and 100 calories) of added sugar per day while men not consume more than 9 tsp (approx. 37.5 grams and 150 calories). That’s 2800 calories a week, which adds up to almost a pound of added fat.
It’s important to know that although your body converts all foods to glucose, foods that naturally contain sugar, like fruit, all have vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids that assist in its digestion and absorption.
Metabolizing refined sugar puts the body at a severe nutritional disadvantage where as eating natural sugars (in moderation of course) has advantages.
Sugar feeds bacteria and yeast and can cause imbalances in the body that weaken the immune system. This is not breaking news! In 1973, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study by A. Sanchez et al, "Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis" (November, 1180-1184), showing that ingesting 100 grams of simple sugar lowers white blood cell activity for up to five hours. This translates into a 50% reduction in the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. The immune suppressing effect begins within ten minutes of ingesting the sugar. Lowered white blood cell activity means your immune system, and it's ability to fight infection, is impaired.
When you eat sugar, it causes your blood sugar to spike up and then crash back down. This sign of stress signals the body to release the hormone cortisol, which can cause anxiety, irritation, sudden change of mood, and fatigue.
Simple sugars combine with processed carbs encourage hyperinsulinemia, which is associated with fat storage, increased risk for obesity, then diabetes. Simply put, when you eat sugar, your body easily stores fat! EKKS!