Cold and Flu Sea­son

Catron Courier - - Front Page - By Dr. Monica Rem­pen

In 1942, The Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion stated, “The con­sump­tion of sugar and other rel­a­tively re­fined car­bo­hy­drates has be­come so great dur­ing re­cent years that is presents a se­ri­ous ob­sta­cle to the im­proved nu­tri­tion of the gen­eral pub­lic.” The av­er­age con­sump­tion of added su­gars was es­ti­mated to be less than five tea­spoons, this was less than 20 grams per day in the 40’s.

Cur­rently, Amer­i­cans con­sume an av­er­age of about 22 tea­spoons of added su­gars per day (for ref­er­ence, 24 tea­spoons is one half cup). At 4 grams per tea­spoon, this comes to about 88 grams of added su­gars per day. A study re­cently pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion con­cluded that sugar in­take sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­utes to poor health.

I have yet to have a con­ver­sa­tion with a pa­tient who doesn’t un­der­stand and agree that ex­cess sugar is a prob­lem. How­ever, when we dis­cuss the sta­tis­tics on the amount of sugar con­sumed per year, they tend to be­lieve the sta­tis­tics re­flect all the other Amer­i­cans; not them­selves.

Who would sit down at break­fast, lunch, and din­ner and shovel in more than seven tea­spoons of sugar at each meal? You prob­a­bly wouldn’t do that be­cause you’d view it as hor­ri­bly un­healthy, yet the av­er­age person does ex­actly that ev­ery day with­out re­al­iz­ing it!

Fol­low­ing is a list of a few com­mon pro­cessed food items from the US De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture's Nu­tri­ent Data­base list­ing the grams of sugar: Plain bagel (1/2): 5.05 Whole-wheat bread (one slice): 5.57 Soda (12 oz. can): 38.97 Pasta (2 oz.): 42 Bowl of corn flakes: 6.11 Fruit-fla­vored yo­gurt (6 oz.): 19 Ital­ian salad dress­ing (1 tsp.): 8.85 Gra­nola bar: 21.8 Grams of Sugar in added sweet­en­ers: Ta­ble sugar (per tsp.): 4.7 Maple syrup (per tsp.): 2.8 Honey (per tsp.): 3.8 This list may help you see how quickly this can add up— two so­das and a gra­nola bar and you are over the av­er­age.

Cur­rently, the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion is rec­om­mend­ing that women get no more than 6.5 tea­spoons (26 grams) of added sugar per day, men get no more than 9.5 tea­spoons (38 grams) of added sugar per day, and chil­dren should get no more than 2-3 tea­spoons (8-12 grams) of added sugar per day. While I still view these rec­om­men­da­tions as high, when you con­sider peo­ple of­ten have other sources of nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring sugar in their diet, it is a good start.

So here we are at the begin­ning of Fall with the “hol­i­day sea­son” just around the cor­ner: trips to the State Fair, candy from trick or treat­ing, Thanks­giv­ing, hol­i­day par­ties, Christ­mas, New Year, and then we’ll wrap it all up with Easter and choco­late bun­nies. This amounts to a much higher con­cen­tra­tion of added su­gars this time of year. What does this all have to do with the Cold and Flu Sea­son?

Stud­ies have shown in­creases in blood sugar sup­press im­mune func­tion for up­wards of five hours by 75% or more. Sugar will ac­tu­ally dis­place the up­take of vi­ta­min C at a cel­lu­lar level, de­plete es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents like zinc and cal­cium which leave your im­mune sys­tem com­pro­mised and un­able to fight ef­fi­ciently. El­e­vated blood sugar along with lower vi­ta­min D3 stores due to less ex­po­sure to sun­light this time of year, and viruses be­ing around a bit longer in cooler weather and we have a pretty good recipe for sick days.

So take a lit­tle time to eval­u­ate your health con­cerns and com­mit­ments and may we all have a healthy happy rest of the year! Dr. Monica Rem­pen

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