Eat (Some) Sugar Over the Holidays!
We give you permission to eat sugar over the holidays. Seriously! After all, passing up the cookie platter or the vanilla- and chocolate-layered Christmas cake is unrealistic for many of us, especially on special occasions.
However, we do have one condition: Don’t eat too much added sugar. From a chiropractic perspective, it’s simply not good for your mental and physical health.
How much sugar is too much sugar?
Recommendations vary among health organizations when it comes to added sugar intake. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommends limiting calories from added sugars to no more than 10 percent each day. For someone who consumes 2,000 calories a day, that’s a maximum of about 12 teaspoons worth, or 200 calories.
Common sources of added sugar include soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. However, that list is not exhaustive.
Sugar’s Impact on Your Health
Consuming too much added sugar has the potential to negatively affect the body and mind’s normal functioning. Joint pain, digestive issues, and depression are among the conditions we chiropractors treat that may arise due in part to sugar intake.
Sugar and Joint Pain
Joint pain is often the result of inflammation. Eating too many sweets can contribute to inflammation, worsening joint pain. Additionally, some studies suggest added sugar, particularly from sodas and desserts, can increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. This is especially true in women.
Cutting back on sugar alone might not resolve your joint pain 100 percent, but our qualified staff have additional methods for helping you reduce inflammation.
Sugar and the Digestive System
Unsurprisingly, your digestive system takes a hit when too much added sugar is consumed. Here are a few discomforts you may experience:
- Stomach pain
- Exacerbated gastrointestinal symptoms among patients with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis
- Gallbladder disorders, including gallstones
- Acid reflux/heartburn
Sugar intake also contributes toward obesity. With obesity comes a host of other health problems.
No matter the gut issues you are experiencing, we can help you pinpoint the probable source and treat your pain.
Depression and Irritability
Regularly consuming added sugar beyond the 12-teaspoon recommendation may increase your likelihood of developing depression. Research shows this is true among both men and women. At the very least, although a candy bar can provide a temporary jolt in energy, your mood can quickly shift to one of irritability once the sugar high wears off.
Enjoy Your Holiday!
Chances are, your holiday dessert options will not include a fruit tray, offering you natural sugar options for satisfying your sweet cravings. That’s OK! Enjoy a slice of cherry pie with a dollop of whipped cream. Simply keep in mind the bigger picture: On most days, many of us could improve our physical and mental health simply by being more cognizant of our added sugar intake.