It’s almost sugar season…the time of the year when sugar is all around us and people eat more than they normally would. Sugar season is from Halloween to New Year’s. Think about trick-or-treating, baking, holiday parties, the beginning of winter (hot chocolate), extra treats at work, family get-togethers and more.
You may ask, “What’s the big deal?” Many people can handle eating sugar in small amounts. But the small amounts aren’t what they used to be. Historically, humans didn’t eat sugar until about 2,000 years ago when they discovered sugar cane. Since then humans have been eating more and more sugar.
By 1700, the average person ate four pounds of sugar each year.
By 1800, sugar consumption rose to 18 pounds per year.
By 1900, it was 60 pounds per year.
Currently, the average person eats over 100 pounds of sugar every year. And in some countries people consume as much as 130 pounds.
That’s a HUGE increase in what our bodies are asked to handle. We weren’t designed to eat 20% of our calories from sugar, which has no nutritional value.
Remember sugar is in more than just holiday baked goods and trick-or-treat candy. Even before we eat those delicious items, we consume hidden sugars in processed foods, soda, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and new forms of sugar (glucose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, etc.). All in all, that much sugar is hard on our bodies. It affects the pancreas and liver, the internal digestive bacteria (the good stuff), and it even causes inflammation.
Think about when you make bread. The bread would be flat without yeast. But the yeast would be flat without sugar. The sugar feeds the yeast and causes it to grow. The same happens within our bodies…sugar causes things to grow including cancer, yeast, and more. It even affects our moods as the chemistry within us changes and puts added pressures from the inside out. These mood changes also affect our interactions with people…including family, which we tend to see a lot of during sugar season and when many family issues pop up.
This was really pointed out to me a few years ago when JT went on a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) trip for three months. He spent the time hiking, sailing, and kayaking in the wilderness of Mexico. This was right up his alley. He enjoyed the quiet, the activity and the slower pace. However there was an unintended consequence too. He had very little sugar during the three months. Amazingly, it was easier to focus and his ADHD all but disappeared.
Then when he came home, he “treated” himself to a giant pixie stix, which is all sugar. He was bouncing off the walls and literally vibrating. The effects were very evident.
So what do you do about the sugar season coming up? Be mindful of how much sugar you are truly consuming. Have a piece, not ten. Or better yet, decide to forgo the sugar this season as I have. (Of course, I may sneak a little taste once in a while, but a bite of something is better than eating the entire serving or multiple servings.)
In the end, my goal is to feel good. So, if consuming sugar makes me feel not good…sluggish, foggy, and bloated…why would I choose to eat it? It is counter to my goal. So, what is your goal? How do you really want to feel?
Sugar consumption stats are from: http://www.sugar-and-sweetener-guide.com/consumption-of-sugar.html