By Christie Pool
It started on Thanksgiving Day with turkey and dressing, pecan pie, pineapple casserole, sausage balls, homemade fudge and stuff that I have forgotten that I ate. It continued with the SEC Championship game which, of course, called for party food like wings, buffalo chicken dip, and bear chili. And then it went downhill (and I’m not just talking about the game itself!)
Late November and December are a minefield for anyone prone to gluttony. Even non-overeater’s are seriously tested to forsake yogurt and salad for visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.
What’s a person to do with the likes of white chocolate peanut butter Ritz cracker cookies, M&M Christmas cookie bars, perfectly frosted sugar cookies, peanut brittle, and Christmas Oreo Pops making their way around the office? Every day leading up to Christmas, someone would graciously stop by our office with a sweet and sugary treat. It was wonderful, yet tragic for those of us - me - with zero willpower when it comes to sweets.
According to WebMd, Americans average about 20 teaspoons of added sugars per day (surely it’s higher in the month of December). The recommended amount is just six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men.
Sugar tastes so good but negatively affects our bodies. WebMd says we get slammed with a huge surge of the feel-good chemical dopamine when we munch on sugar-laden treats. It’s easy to get addicted to that feeling of having extra dopamine swirling around in our brains, especially around two in the afternoon.
Candy and cookies give us a quick burst of energy by raising our blood sugar levels fast. But when our levels drop, according to WebMd, as our cells absorb the sugar we can feel jittery and anxious - a.k.a. the dreaded “sugar crash.”
Along with giving us cavities, eating lots of sweets has been shown to worsen joint pain because of the inflammation they cause. Studies show that sugar consumption can increase our risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
WebMd also says it makes our skin age faster.
Teeth, joints, and skin. The list goes on and on. From liver damage to heart damage, pancreas and kidney damage, sugar’s effects are not sweet.
The one negative we mostly notice, however, is weight. After the Thanksgiving through December onslaught of awesome -yet-horrible-for-us treats, lots of us promise to eat better and stay away from the bad stuff our body doesn’t like (even if our taste buds do).
Unfortunately, 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. Whether we are trying to lose weight, quit smoking or promise ourselves to go for a jog every day, only eight percent of us actually will, according to Forbes. Each new year, most of us, according to Patch.com, say we want to: stay fit and healthy (37 percent), lose weight (32 percent), enjoy life to the fullest (28 percent), spend less and save more (25 percent) and spend more time with family and friends (19 percent).
So, while the likelihood of us doing any of those things long term is small, we should try. We need to pay the piper - at least for a little while - for our wretched December habits.