The Holidays are a time for many things—depending on who you ask.
They’re a time for giving.
They’re a time for family.
They’re a time for relaxation.
They’re a time for reflection.
And, for most of us, whether we’d like to admit it or not, they’re a time for EXCEPTIONS.
“OK, I’m normally pretty good with controlling my sugar consumption, so I’m going to splurge on Christmas and have a cookie. OK maybe two. Or maybe…”
“Hanukkah’s only one week of the year…so I can probably handle an five jelly donuts today.”
“I hardly ever see my family. What’s a few extra chocolate dipped bananas going to do? Live a little, right?!”
The Holidays are truly magical; like magic, our common sense completely disappears and we think our bodies are suddenly immune to bad lifestyle choices. A few extra cookies, a few extra jelly donuts, a few extra chocolate dipped bananas—all your body sees is sugar. Sugar. Sugar.
And simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta and all products made from flour is sugar.
The Holidays are a time for many things—but they’re not a time to pretend.
Sugar is sugar, and if you think it’s something else, now is the time to stop!
Here’s what refined sugars do to your body:
- They provide zero nutrients and a lot of Calories. (Hence “empty Calories.”)
- They cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce extra acid, which erodes your teeth.
- They put your pancreas on overdrive, which depletes the blood of sugar, which (over time) exhausts your liver, pancreas and adrenal glands.
- They require vital nutrients in order to be digested, which means your body quickly runs out of B-vitamins, calcium and magnesium. (Whole foods contain sugar, but they also contain these vital nutrients, so they fuel their own digestion.)
- They increase the body’s production of cytokines—aka, inflammation.
For anyone who are at risk for or recovering from any cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer, sugars are especially dangerous. Diets high in refined sugars tend to make us gain weight, and obesity is associated with increased cancer risk—prostate cancer included. In addition, too much sugar will—frankly—make you feel like crap. You’ll exercise less, so you’ll feel even worse.
I don’t mean to make it sound like a “slippery slope,” but my point is this: whatever you think you’re getting from eating that extra dessert—it’s not worth it. Be mindful when eating during the holiday and stay in control.
So you’re telling me I shouldn’t eat my mom’s signature dessert?
Look, I’m a family man. I know what it’s like to be at a dinner table where it doesn’t matter what you’re eating as long as you’re eating. I know what it’s like to be surrounded by desserts on the Holidays. The pressure is on.
I’m not telling you to reject what your mom cooks because it has too much sugar in it. All I want you to do is to recognize that sugar is sugar, even on the Holidays. If you have to eat it, eat it and enjoy it. But don’t fool yourself.
Even on the Holidays:
- Calories are still calories
- Sugar is still sugar
- Healthy food still
- You’re still in control of your food choices.
Most importantly, laugh a lot and have fun this holiday season.