How to Have a “Sugar Safe” Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for treating your family to fun and festive holiday fare! Even though this time of year is known for overindulging in sweet treats, it’s really important to keep your loved ones on a healthy path.

One of the biggest culprits impacting our overall health is the prevalence of sugar in our diet. In this post we’ll cover the health hazards of sugar and how you can you can fortify your holiday dishes with healthy alternatives.


The Bottom Line: Sugar is a Toxic Calorie.

In his recent TEDx Talk “Sugar: The Elephant in the Kitchen,” Dr. Robert H. Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California in San Francisco, gave the startling statistic that 29% of diabetes in the world is caused by sugar.

How is this possible? Well, Dr. Lustig reports that nearly 74% of the packaged foods in grocery stores are spiked with simple sugars (glucose, processed sugar, fructose sugar). Not to mention the popularity of soda and other sugary drinks in our society. This is exceptionally alarming because, in addition to diabetes and obesity, overconsumption of sugar is linked to heart and liver disease, and could cause some cancers, addiction, Alzheimer’s, and decreased cognitive function, according to SugarScience.org.


Simple Sugars Can Impact Your Immune System.

Simple sugars can also weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness and disease. In our previous post, we cautioned that your blood shows evidence of a diminished immunity within 30 minutes of eating simple sugars. This significantly reduces your white blood cells’ abilities to kill germs for many hours.

Keeping blood sugar levels steady has been shown to optimize immune function, which is especially important during the winter months.


Simple Tips to Strike Out Excess Sugar.

There are many ways you can help eliminate your family’s sugar intake this holiday season. First and foremost, always choose organic fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products wherever possible. Cooking with “real” unprocessed food is always the healthier choice.

Secondly, modify your traditional recipes with healthy ingredients. According to the Mayo Clinic, citrus, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, turbinado sugar, honey and molasses are great stand-ins for many desserts. Here’s a list of 83 Healthy Recipe Substitutions to help you “rethink” your sweet and savory holiday dishes.

Lastly, you can always start new healthy traditions by adding new, healthier recipes to the mix. Try your hand at Apple Ginger Snaps or this delectable Cranberry Ginger Pull Apart Bread. For a dash of inspiration, check out 15 Healthy Holiday Desserts from Around the Web.


Happy Holiday’s from GetzWell!

From all of us at GetzWell Pediatrics, we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season! Please call us  – Church St.: 415.826.1701 / Union St.: 415.969.6670 – to learn more about keeping you and your family on a sugar-safe diet.