October and Halloween are about pumpkins, scarecrows, skeletons, creepy costumes,
and yelling trick or treat. Some would say it’s a rite of passage to collect treats and dress up
as your favorite character. However, there is a more sinister story at play. This collection of sugary treats, as well as our daily addiction to all that is sweet, leads to short-term health effects and long-term degenerative diseases.
How much is too much?
Humans do not need added sugar. In 1700 the average person consumed about 4 lbs. per year of sugar. The average person consumes over100 pounds per year now and many studies indicate there is a direct correlation between excess sugar consumption and degenerative disease. The American Health Association suggests a sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons) for most adult women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons) for most men. Dr. Violette would tell you that limiting the amount of added and excess sugar you consume will help you heal and feel better.
What are the symptoms of excess sugar intake?
Whether it is a one-time binge or part of your daily diet, excess sugar wreaks havoc on your body. Overindulging can cause severe spikes in blood sugar, which is damaging to health and promotes inflammation. If you notice any of these symptoms, sugar overload could be the culprit:
• High blood pressure
• Joint pain
• Sleep disturbance
• Increased hunger and cravings
• Weight gain
• Feeling shaky or dizzy
• Difficulty concentrating
How can sugar harm you long-term?
Researchers are discovering that sugar’s health effects are horrifying long-term. Chronic
excess sugar intake takes quite a toll on the human body. Systemic inflammation and gut
dysbiosis, throughout a person’s lifetime, leads to damage and chronic degenerative
The brain specifically is very sensitive to blood sugar spikes and excess sugar intake. The brain requires glucose to function but too much can affect mood, sleep, and cognitive function. The ability to process emotion is compromised due to high blood glucose levels. It can cause brain atrophy or shrinkage. And it can lead to small-vessel disease, which slows blood flow in the brain, causing cognitive difficulties and, if severe enough, prompts the development of vascular dementia. Researchers also point to excess sugar as a cause of Alzheimer’s.
Tips to cut back:
Tip 1: Eat more protein. More protein can help naturally curb your craving for sugary treats.
Tip 2: Ditch the soda and juice in favor of water for an easy way to cut down on sugar intake.
Tip 3: Skip pre-packaged processed foods for WHOLE foods like veggies and fruits.
Tip 4: Choose the “full fat” option vs. the “low fat” as the “low fat” often replace the fat with sugar for taste.
Tip 5: Get a night of restful sleep. Poor sleep habits may predispose you to choices that are high in sugar, fat, and calories.