By Dr Mao
Halloween is here and most people are stocking up on candy for the trick-or-treaters, but think twice before you nibble on some of your own. The average American consumes nearly 240 pounds of sugar per year. As sweet as it tastes, sugar (when consumed in excess) has some negative effects in store for your body, including some of the nation’s top killers: type II diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancers. Find out ways to cut the sugar below.
Why is too much sugar unhealthy?
To start, let’s talk about what happens to you as the sugar enters your body. When you eat simple and refined sugars, the pancreas is called upon to produce and release insulin, a hormone that empties the sugar in your blood stream into all the tissues and cells for usage.
The result of overindulging in refined sugar, like those found in candies, pastries and sodas, is high insulin levels. When your blood insulin levels are increased above the norm it can lead to depression of the immune system, which in turn weakens your ability to fight disease.
Something else to consider is that most of the excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, which results in weight gain and elevates your risk of heart disease and cancer.
One study found that when subjects were given refined sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterwards. Another study discovered that rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer when compared to rats on a regular diet.
Honey! Honey contains the vitamins and minerals that are lacking in refined table sugar, making it a much healthier sweetener. As a folk remedy, honey has traditionally been taken for heartburn, stomach ulcers and even colds.
In fact, Western research indicates that honey may halt the growth of H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for most gastric ulcers, and the caffeic acid found in honey may also prevent colon cancer. The only caveat is that honey should never be given to a child under the age of one because raw honey can harbor botulism spores.
The next time you are in the mood for sweets, try reaching for some of these healthier alternatives.
Candy: Instead of candy, chew on some fresh peppermint leaves or cinnamon sticks. Or take from nature’s offerings and enjoy apples, cherries, grapes and other naturally delicious fruits.
Baked Goods: Try using whole fruit juice concentrates, honey, maple or rice syrup, or agave made from cactus.
Beverages: The best drink is, of course, water. But if you are a juice-drinker, try watering down your juice in a one-to-four ratio (one part juice to four parts filtered room temperature water) to cut back on the sugar content.
Also, though it may take some getting used to, try unsweetened herbal tea for your beverage of choice; you can use honey sparingly or add some cinnamon to give your tea a mild sweet taste. If you are feeling more adventurous, try this: Crush some fresh basil and mint leaves, put them in a large glass pitcher, add fresh water, and let sit for half of an hour. Then add one tablespoon of honey and mix. This is an aromatic and refreshing drink to accompany any meal.
Or you can break the sugar habit by eating food that sustains your energy level, heading off a snack attack caused by a dip in blood sugar. Introduce more protein foods into your diet, including eggs, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds. These foods take a longer time to digest and absorb, slowly releasing sugar and nutrients into the blood stream. You can also receive herbal help by taking High Performance; this formula will help curb your cravings for sweets because exotic seeds and wholesome grains provide a rich source of complex carbohydrates without the use of stimulants or sugars.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on Dr. Oz, and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.infinichi.com. To learn more about your Core Element or to take the Element Quiz, visit Infinich.com.