Tips to Surviving the Holiday Sugar Crash with Catherine Gordon (Part 1)

Tips to Surviving the Holiday Sugar Crash

The holidays are just around the corner and that means holiday treats like cookies and champagne are also everywhere. It can be the “sweetest” thing about the holiday season, but for many people, the sugar crash that comes afterwards is not easy to deal with.  To survive the holiday sugar crash, it is simply a matter of making good choices. Set yourself up for success!

It’s well known that abruptly eliminating sugar during the holidays or any time of year can be close to impossible. The management of sugar consumption however can be very doable, especially if you understand the effects of sugar on the body and learn how much is too much.

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Understanding How Sugar Affects the Brain and Appetite

It’s no secret that sugar can be addictive. It provides a quick and easy energy boost, but the crash experienced after can be hard to shake off.  

Sugar increases the level of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls mood, behavior, learning, and memory. Chemical levels in the brain can become disrupted when dopamine becomes consistently high as the result of consuming too much sugar. The brain and body will eventually need those high levels of sugar to function and keep that good feeling. This is why cutting out sugar can be very difficult and result in the brain and body going through withdrawal. 

Some of the unpleasant symptoms of sugar withdrawal can include cravings, headaches, lack of energy, muscle aches, stomach discomfort, irritability, anxiety, and feeling down or depressed. Don’t worry, these symptoms should go away within a few days.

On the other hand, high sugar consumption can be very detrimental to the brain and overall health. Over time, ingesting too much sugar leads to weight gain, increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, inflammation and fatigue. 

Kicking sugar, like any task can be made a lot easier when there is a plan in place to succeed.

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Make a Plan

Limit your sugar intake to less than 10 percent of daily total calories, regardless of how many calories are needed in a day. This concept will not only allow for more awareness of sugar intake, but also inspire consciousness of exactly what is in the foods you consume throughout the day. 

If indulging in some sweet treats during the holiday season is something that can’t be avoided, there are some steps you can take to help manage and survive the post-holiday sugar crashes.

Try listing all the special occasions and dates over the holidays and consider which favorite foods may be there. Consider making a list of the top favorite holiday treats that have always been a part of old family traditions and set a daily treat budget.

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Focus on High Fiber Holiday Treats

A fiber-rich diet may help reduce inflammation by lowering body weight. High-fiber foods also feed beneficial bacteria living in the gut, which then release substances that help lower the levels of inflammation and aid in digestion. Try focusing on high fiber treats containing dark chocolate, fruit, pumpkin, oats, and coconut. Think about those treats that may have the most health benefits and limit the portion size. Instead of having a huge piece of pie, consume a smaller piece and eat it slower, concentrating on all the flavors and textures.

Make Use of Sugar Substitutes

Using sugar substitutes can be a great way to cut down on sugar intake. There are a number of available sugar substitutes that can provide sweetness without the extra calories. While many people are familiar with artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol and Splenda, there are also natural options such as maple syrup, raw honey, coconut palm sugar, agave syrup and stevia. Each type of sugar substitute has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the one that is right for you. Keep in mind that whichever sugar substitute you choose, it should be used in moderation.

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Limit Alcohol Consumption

A few drinks with friends can be a great way to get in the holiday spirit but try not to go overboard. While alcohol may increase blood sugar, too much consumption can also lead to loss of electrolytes and dangerously low blood sugar. If indulging in alcoholic drinks, be a responsible drinker and only drink moderately. Drink a full glass of water for every glass of alcohol. This will help flush out toxins, keep the body hydrated and will help you avoid waking up with a terrible headache.

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Avoid the Worst Holiday Treats

The classic candy cane and holiday sugar cookie has a whopping 20-60 grams of sugar per serving size. Try to avoid thick decadent filling and frosting, gumdrops, sprinkles, and other candies. 

It’s always nice to have a get together with family and friends during the holiday season. Learning to say “No” to that second piece of pie, cookie or pastry can be difficult, but worth it.  There is nothing more fun than enjoying the holiday season without feeling sick and miserable after needlessly indulging in too many sweet treats and adult beverages.  

To learn more about Catherine Gordon’s Sugar-Free Diet, click here.