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How Your Body Responds to Sugar (& Why You’ll Want to Avoid Sugar This Holiday Season)

Sweets and treats are upon us with Thanksgiving just around the corner.  Let’s take a refresher on the threats to our health from sugar and ways to stay motivated to avoid it …

keep-calm-and-avoid-sugarHere are several reasons from Fit After Fifty to avoid sugar through Thanksgiving and the holidays:

  • Ÿ  Sugar = wrinkles!  A high sugar diet damages collagen and causes wrinkles
  • Ÿ  Sugar = fat!  Sugar in your system causes increased fatty acids which your body stores in fat cells.
  • Ÿ  Sugar = MORE fat! Excessive sugar causes your body to stop producing insulin which increases your appetite and the production of cortisol. This cycle leads to more fat storage.
  • Ÿ  Sugar = poor heart health, stressed kidneys, and diabetes.
  • Ÿ  Sugar = nasty teeth! Sugar increases oral bacteria which erodes enamel.
  • Ÿ  Sugar = depression!  Increased insulin levels lead to depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
  • Ÿ  Sugar can increase the growth of malignant cancer cells (click here for more information).

So how can you stay motivated to avoid sugar?

Know your sugar triggers. Identify which restaurants or products in the grocery store trigger your sugar cravings and plan ahead of time how to avoid them.

Have some fruit. A small piece of fruit may help satisfy sugar cravings for some people. Citrus is also good for your skin and high in vitamin C, so go for an orange!  But don’t overdo it since even fructose in the bloodstream is a sugar.

Go for a brisk walk or short run. A quick burst of exercise will invigorate you as well as kill your sugar craving. If going outside is not an option, a few crunches, push-ups and jumping jacks will do the trick!

Get your rest. There are countless health benefits to 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Studies published in Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that people who don’t get enough sleep have increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreased levels of the hormone leptin, which signals fullness.

Protein, protein, protein! Protein not only helps you feel full, it helps reduce sugar cravings. Plan ways to have easy, quick protein available so you can avoid sugar & empty carbs. Grill some chicken enough for a few days as well as have boiled eggs on hand.

Use the buddy system. Have someone you can call or text when either of you is feeling the “need” for sugar. Give each other support and motivation to stay on track.

Avoid excess stress. Increased stress causes sugar cravings. Identify those stressors in your life and plan ways to avoid them. Vitamin B helps manage stress.

Have a glass of water. Aside from the numerous of reasons to drink water, remember that dehydration can lead to sugar cravings.

Brush your teeth! Seriously! For many people, a freshly brushed mouth makes you hesitate eating that unnecessary treat.

Many mini meals. Apply the well-known trick of 6 mini meals throughout the day to prevent hunger. Be sure to plan ahead and have healthy options on hand and insure success.

Remember the dangers of all sugars in the diet and have an action plan to keep your sugar consumption at a bare minimum over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. You will succeed and be a healthier you over the holidays, starting the New Year on track, rather than suffering regret from over-indulging.

Healthiness isn’t the only benefit to avoiding sugar… You will feel better all around, both physically and mentally with less sugar intake. And the longer you go avoiding sugar, your taste buds will evolve, reducing those former crazy powerful sugar cravings.

Challenge for Chocolate Lovers: Try 75% or higher dark chocolate for 30 days (in servings of one ounce a day). You’ll be amazed how much your taste buds will change in this short amount of time. Go on… we dare you to try it!

For more tips on healthful eating and reasons to avoid sugars, visit Dr. Gundy’s website and learn about his Diet Evolution.

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