I love the Holidays….and then I love when they are over.  Every year my family indulge in desserts just a bit too much and some nasty habits creep into our diet.  The result of too much sugar and processed sugar is usually a grumpy family with upset stomachs!

 

Sugar has been viewed as harmless fun for kids, but it is anything BUT that.  Those empty calories have loads of unwanted consequences.  Here is my top 10 reasons why you need to get your kids off sugar this January.

 

1. Too much sugar makes us sick.  Obesity and type 2 diabetes are very obvious results of eating too much sugar but the effects of sugar can be a lot more insidious.  Eating sugar will depress your child’s immune system for several hours after consumption and make them much more likely to get sick.  This is not what you want in cold and flu season!

 

2. Too much sugar increases dental cavities.  Bacteria in your mouth feeds off sugar and transforms the sugar into acids that cause dental decay.  The more sugar, the more likely your kids are to develop dental cavities. Who wants to spend their money on preventable dental work!

 

3. Too much sugar makes your tummy cranky.  Sugar feeds the pathogenic (bad) bacteria in your gut, which can upset your digestion and make you more prone to gut infections.

 

4. Sugar is just empty calories.  Sugar is devoid of vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fats- all the things needed to sustain healthy body.  Sugary food options will always be selected by kids over healthier, nutrient rich options which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

 

5. Sugar makes you inflamed.  It is becoming evident that inflammation is the root of many problems in the body.  On a more serious note, sugar consumption and the resultant brain inflammation has been scientifically linked to worsening the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

6. Sugar makes you overeat.  Sugar interrupts the hormonal chain in your brain that tells you that you are full,  which leads to overeating and consequently weight issues.  

 

7. Sugar leads to bad moods.  The blood sugar crashes lead to compensatory adrenaline rushes, which creates irritability.  With 4 daughters I really don’t need any more mood swings!

 

8. Sugar is highly addictive.  Sugar hits the same reward centers in the brain as habit forming opioid drugs.  Consumption of sugar develops cravings and withdrawal symptoms and makes those sweet treats impossible to resist (think of that toddler in the supermarket cart screaming for a donut).

 

9. Sugar makes learning more difficult.  Sugar consumption has been linked to a reduction in cognitive function, memory and learning capacity.  Brain fog is a common result of inflammation from sugar.  

 

10. Sugar makes you overweight.  The combination of empty calories, the switching off of the fullness sensation, and the addictive nature of sugar make the perfect storm for unhealthy weight gain.  Weight issues have other tough consequences such as lowered self esteem and decreased athletic performance.

 

 

References:

International variations in the outcome of schizophrenia and the prevalence of depression in relation to national dietary practices: an ecological analysis.  Br J Psychiatry. 2004 May;184:404-8.  Peet M1.

 

Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake Nicole M. Avena, Pedro Rada, and  Bartley G. Hoebel* Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008; 32(1): 20–39.

 

After daily bingeing on a sucrose solution, food deprivation induces anxiety and accumbens dopamine/acetylcholine imbalance.Avena NM1, Bocarsly ME, Rada P, Kim A, Hoebel BG.  Physiol Behav. 2008 Jun 9;94(3):309-15. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.01.008. Epub 2008 Jan 16.

 

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Rachel

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