Father Christmas would be somewhat of a controversial figure these days. In this age of health and wellness, Daddy Nicholas would be classified as an “overweight endomorph”. If he were to walk into any clinic without his Christmas garb, he would have to be screened for diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure simply because these diseases are associated with obesity.
I am sure Christmas must make them organic-eating-Lululemon-wearing moms go crazy. (Ok, sounds like a pretty good description of me.) Not only is Father Christmas telling your kid it’s ok to want that expensive Lego toy, it is also ok to go crazy on candy canes and treacle. Hey, shouldn’t kids be making lists for world peace and reducing our carbon footprint instead of wishing for excess material toys and junk food? Totally grates on those values and home rules, no?
Well, science shows these sugar-thrashing women may really know what they are talking about! In fact, The Guardian reports that the UK government is under pressure to impose a tax on sugar because it is so BAD! Yes, it is really. There is so much scientific evidence that sugar is bad, I wonder why it hasn’t been labelled a ‘toxin” yet.
So why say no to sugar from Daddy Nicholas this Christmas?
#1 It Makes Your Teeth Rot
The refined sugar in cookies and sweet treats are bad for your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth digest these carbohydrates and produce acid. When this acid accumulates on your teeth, they start dissolving the top layer of your teeth (the enamel) and this action promotes the formation of cavities. If left unchecked, it could lead to a toothache and A LOT of pain! Jamie Oliver has even come up with a documentary that shows a five-year-old boy having his teeth extracted under general anesthesia. Really gory, but a smack to the face to watch what happens when you have an addiction to sweet treats.
#2 It Could Make Your Gum Disease Worse
To date, there is no evidence that there is a direct link between sugar and gum disease, but sugar can worsen gum disease symptoms indirectly by triggering increased inflammation in the body.
Gum disease occurs when bacteria in the mouth irritates the gum tissues surrounding the teeth. The body will try to wall off the bacteria and prevent the bacteria from going into the bloodstream by a process called inflammation. Inflammation calls the body’s protective cells to the area and when the cells are present in optimum numbers, inflammation is protective for the gums.
Inflammation is a double-edged sword though. When the soldiers (protective cells) in the body get too angry and crazy, they overreact and start damaging the body’s own cells. And refined sugar in large amounts is one of the biggest triggers of ‘bad” inflammation.
When you ingest sugar or high-glycemic foods like cake that rapidly convert to sugar, your body breaks down these carbohydrates into glucose, which raises your insulin levels. Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, rice, white bread and soft drinks, cause your insulin levels to spike, which leads to a spike of inflammation in the body.
It starts causing the protective cells to run amok and dump toxic substances around the teeth. And the bone around the teeth starts melting away. Serious. Not funny when you lose bone around your teeth and the teeth start to wobble. Ok if you are a five-year-old kid losing his first set of teeth. Not ok if you are 40 and about to lose that front tooth!
#3 It Makes You Fat
Have you gone on holiday and snacked all day, only to find fat rolls around your waistline? Excess consumption of sugar has a direct link with obesity. The results on sugar and health are pretty scary. Worse yet, gum disease has also been shown to be associated with obesity. Which means that if you are overweight, you might need your gums checked out too.
#4 It Makes You Age
You can really cause wrinkles to form by eating lots of cakes and sweets. Glucose in excess amounts causes collagen to clump together and bunch up by a process called glycation. This clumped up collagen shows up in your skin and makes it sag. So have your cake and eat it, and kiss that baby smooth skin goodbye! :(
#5 It Makes You…
Well, I could put in a whole list of diseases excess consumption of sugar is associated with…. like heart disease, diabetes, etc., but the above reasons are enough for me to really cut down on my sugar intake even during Christmas… or should I say especially during Christmas! Yeah, sorry to pop your Christmas bubble, but these are the facts on sugar.
Do enjoy the festivities though! without going overboard with the sugars. And if Father Christmas looked like this…
…perhaps we would enjoy the holidays even more! ;)