How to tame your seasonal sweet tooth

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The holiday season means coming together for fun celebrations and – of course – a surge of sweets and goodies in our diets. While most are ready to consume their weight in sugar, Dr. James Stirton breaks down the impact this dietary change has on our bodies.

Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the main culprits of this seasonal spike in sugar consumption. After all, it’s tradition to do so. Our bodies, however, aren’t used to dealing with an influx of concentrated carbohydrates and mire our bodies’ ability to function at full capacity.

“One of the reasons people get sick and are more susceptible to the flu is because of how they eat during this season. It’s well-known that eating excessive amounts of sugar create a depressed immune system and neuropathy,” Stirton said. “It’s my professional opinion that it’s the effect on the nerves that cascades down and effects things that need good nerve supply to work. One major think is immunity. When you have a disease that affects neurology, it affects your ability to heal.”

In previous articles, Stirton explained the difference between healthy fats – like Omega-3’s – and unhealthy fats. There’s also a vast difference between complex carbs and refined carbs – like artificially created high-glycemic sugars.

“It’s like the difference between how pines burn hot and fast and oak burns slow. It’s the same idea with carbs. There’s low and high glycemic carbs,” Stirton analogized. “Sugar is like pine, instead of something that’s more complex like oats or nuts. You can feel the difference when you eat a candy bar, then eat a second one. You feel sick and nauseous because of how intense the glycemic is.”

Our bodies are constantly burning fuel, using some of it for energy and some of it for bodily repairs. Feeding your body with fuel that burns abnormally fast – like the aforementioned ‘pine’ – it artificially changes one’s physiology. Excessive sugar consumption is the foundation on which diseases like diabetes build upon.

Rest assured, there are preemptive measures one can take to mitigate the sugary sabotage to the body. First and foremost is self-control. However, since that’s hard to come by when staring at a whipped cream covered pumpkin pie, Stirton provides other helpful remedies.

 “Control the total load of sugar and high glycemic carbs you take in at any given day. After that one day, say Thanksgiving, give your body a few days to regulate,” Stirton said. “It’s portion size too. Don’t have a full piece of cake, have half a piece and share it with a loved one. Mostly, my best advice is giving away leftovers so you’re not eating unhealthy leftovers for the next week or so.”

Portion control, giving food to others, substituting fruits for cookies and cognizance of when major eating episodes will occur are all useful ways to help your body through the next few, delicious months. Essentially, it comes down to reducing the sugar load and giving your body time to recover between holidays. Your body will thank you.

For any more dietary questions, reach out to Stirton directly at jimstirtondc@gmail.com . It’s like the good doctor always says: “If you’re not certain, ask Dr. Stirton.”

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