Without a doubt, fall is my favorite time of year! I love the crispness of the air, the colors, football games, and, of course, the holidays that are right around the corner. Also, it’s a time when some of our healthiest foods are available to us. Been apple-picking lately?! Then again, as with most things, autumn’s not all honey and no bees! What do you think my least favorite “holiday” is? You got it – Halloween! Think about it, we have a national day to celebrate the consumption of………sugar!
Parents, let me assure you, the treat IS the trick! If your child came to you and asked if he could go from door-to-door with a wagon, beg the neighbors for cups of sugar, and then come home and eat it all with a spoon, would you let him?
So many people think that it’s the change of seasons that makes us more susceptible to illness. It’s not. Want to know a secret? The truth of the matter is that much of the sickness we suffer with in the winter is brought on by the sugar we consume in
the fall!!! Think about it. In October, we have Halloween and “Harvest Festivals”. Then comes November with cakes and pies galore. Slide right on into Christmas with a few more barrels of treats. (Anyone like homemade fudge? ) Top it off with New Years’ delights and, bingo, every kid in the house is sick. And, if anyone has had the nerve to survive all of that, we’ll pick off the rest during Valentines and Easter!
The point I really want to make is simply that sugar is making us sick. Did you know that sugar lowers your immune function? It only takes 17 teaspoons of the stuff to lower your immunity for up to 6 hours! Sounds like a lot doesn’t it. That’s what’s in one can of soda! Now, consider this. You have a party and supply the kids with cookies, cupcakes, sodas, and, for dessert, candy. Want to do the math on that one? Where’s my calculator? This is easy to calculate. Just divide the grams of sugar by 4 (1 tsp = 4 grams) and that will tell you how many teaspoons of sugar are in a serving. Remember to look at the number of servings that are in the bottle or package. If you eat the whole thing then you have, most likely, consumed more than one serving. The average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week, which is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of microwave meals. In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. from 26 pounds to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year! Prior to the turn of this century (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year!
Here is a list of ways sugar can affect your health:
- Suppresses the immune system and upsets the body’s mineral balance.
- Contributes to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.
- Produces a significant rise in triglycerides, elevates LDL (harmful cholesterol) and reduces HDL (good cholesterol)
- Interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium and promotes tooth decay.
- Contributes to weight gain and obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, and eczema
- Causes food allergies, toxemia during pregnancy, and fluid retention.
- Causes liver cells to divide and increase the size of the liver, Hormonal imbalances, and migraines.
- Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind’s ability to think clearly.
My suggestion for the up coming fall festivities, be creative and limit sugar consumption and increase good healthy eating!