Halloween is over and Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas are just around the corner. Are you allowing yourself to indulge your sweet tooth a little? We are. But have you ever considered how sugar interacts with your body and what this means to you, beyond the basic energy spike?
November is American Diabetes Month and it’s a time to raise awareness of diabetes prevention and control. In the United States, more than 25 million people are living with diabetes and 79 million more are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Will you be one of the 1 in 3 who develop diabetes?
Keeping blood sugar levels under control is important as high sugar levels have been shown to significantly increase the risk of diabetes and other health problems (complications) developing later in life. Over time, if it’s not controlled, type 2 diabetes (most common form) can cause serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and and even blindness.
As Acupuncturists we take note of the eastern philosophy of sugar in our diet. In Chinese Medicine SUGAR nourishes, tonifies, and moistens. This flavor acts as a general fortifier. It promotes the production of energy, blood, and fluids. Most grains and legumes are sweet, which is why they make up the base of most traditional diets. Milk and many fruits are also sweet; they moisten the body and alleviate thirst.
The sweet flavor also relieves tension. In times of emotional stress, the foods that one has a tendency to crave are sugary foods. The sweet flavor also soothes spasms and relieves pain, like sugar cane does in the case of abdominal pain and menstrual cramps. It is necessary here to clarify the relationship between the “sweet flavor” and the “sweet taste”. One can say that the sweet taste is an extremely concentrated sweet flavor.
Sweetness and Pathologies
According to Chinese medicine, the spleen and stomach, two major organs of digestion, are associated with the sweet flavor. This is why consuming too many sweet foods weakens digestive function.This phenomenon is observed in the case of people who are overweight or obese. An excess of sugar can also be the origin of intestinal problems, rhinitis, sinusitis, hypoglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, DIABETES etc. In addition, the ancient Chinese medical texts say that it can cause negative effects on the bones, hair, and muscles. Acupuncture can be used to level the endocrine (glandular) system, and regulate insulin.
A few tips for avoiding sugar, keeping a healthy diet and staying in check:
- Look at the label. Many products in American supermarkets have added sugar. This article lists 36 different names for sugar, get to know them and know what to avoid.
- Keep your home free of junk food. It’s the late night munchies that weaken most.
- Each time you feel an urge to indulge, take a brisk walk around the block. If it’s raining, do sit ups. Being physical is not only good for you, but it’s also distracting.
- Healthy snacks like nuts are great for tying you over between meals. Cashews and walnuts are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, better than peanuts.
- SLEEP must never be underestimated. Sleep is when our body replenishes itself. We need it for mind, body, and spirit! Go to bed early and/or take naps whenever you can.
In good health,
Iris Netzer, L.Ac. – Owner