Dr. Taz MD’s Solutions for Living Healthy Naturally: Sugar and the Holidays

It is officially the holiday season. That means pies, cookies, gingerbread houses, and (unfortunately) fruit cake. All of these treats pack a sugar-punch that goes right to your pancreas. Of course, indulging in one or two treats is safe but having too many will cause a blood sugar spike that will lead to an inflammatory response inside of your body. If your body goes through this sugar-induced inflammation often enough, it leads to serious coronary problems like stroke and heart disease . In addition to the inflammation, research has shown that sugar is as addictive as cocaine . When you consume large amounts of sugar, your pancreas produces large quantities of insulin to lower your blood sugar. When your blood sugar is lowered, you get sugar cravings; hence causing a vicious sugar-cycle.

The holidays are a time when it is very easy to develop a sugar addiction. Sweets are everywhere during the holidays and you are encouraged to eat them. The keys to getting through the holidays without starting 2014 with a sugar addiction are moderation and balance.

Moderation: Have your cake and eat it too. Just do not eat the whole thing. If you are at an event where there are many sugary treats to choose from, take stock of what is on the table before digging in. Then decide what you want to try. Do not break your sugar-bank trying everything in an effort to be polite.

Balance: Protein and fats slow your body’s absorption of carbs and sugars so if you are planning on having pie later, eat a meal with lots of lean protein and healthy fats. Remember that breads, especially white breads, turn to sugar when they are digested; so skip the dinner rolls if you want dessert.

You can also always use healthy sugar substitutes like stevia extract, which has no glycemic impact, and agave nectar, which has a much lower impact than sugar. Avoid using processed sugar substitutes that come in those yellow, pink and blue sachets. Those substitutes are artificial and potentially toxic.


1.Liu, S., Willett, W., Stampfer, M., Hu, F., Franz, M., Sampson, L., & … Manson, J. (2000). A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in US women. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 71(6), 1455-1461.

2.Ahmed, S., Guillem, K., & Vandaele, Y. (n.d). Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Current Opinion In Clinical Nutrition And Metabolic Care, 16(4), 434-439.