It’s Halloween time, and that can only mean one thing: sugar, lots of sugar! Toward the end of summer, stores start to taunt us by placing all of the Halloween candy out on display. What’s worst of all is that the candy is in tiny, easy-to-eat servings. By the time the actual day of Halloween rolls around, we’ve already been thumbing through fun-sized candy the entire month.
Each holiday has its traditional treats we enjoy, but Halloween takes the prize for being the most focused on candy. And no matter how hard you try to avoid it, the temptation of it all might possibly get the best of you.
Can You Fight the Temptation?
While one piece of candy won’t make or break your health, very few of us stop at just one. In fact, most see Halloween like we see other festive holidays from Thanksgiving and Christmas, to cookouts in the summer: a perfect reason to indulge in whatever kind of temptation is available.
But those temptations can eventually start to take a toll and contribute to the current epidemic of type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of Americans, or more than 100 million adults, are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Without significant changes, as many as 30% of people with pre-diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use as energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood.
Why Put Down the Halloween Candy?
The more sugar you eat, the harder your pancreas has to work to produce insulin and keep your blood sugar within in a safe/healthy range. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce any insulin, when the pancreas produces very little insulin, or when the body does not respond appropriately to insulin, a condition called “insulin resistance.”
How Can You Prevent Diabetes?
Perhaps you have learned recently that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You might be overweight or have a parent, brother, or sister with the condition. Here are some ways you can lower your risk.
- Lose weight and keep it off. Here at NIFS, we offer a variety of ways to help you lose weight. Meet with one of our Health Fitness Instructors; or join our Healthy Lifestyle Program or even the Weight Loss Program.
- Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity 5 days a week. Join one of our Group Fitness classes to give you that 30–60-minute burn your body needs.
- Eat healthy foods. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day to help you lose weight. Not sure where to start? Take one of our assessments, such as our BodPod or Resting Metabolic Rate Assessment, to understand where your body is at. You can also meet with one of our Registered Dietitians to receive the guidance you need.
These simple lifestyle changes are what will send type 2 diabetes out of your life like a kid running out of a haunted house. Choose future health over present pleasures.
This blog was written by Ashley Duncan B.S., ISSA-CPT, Nutrition Specialist, ACE-HC,
NIFS Weight Loss Coordinator. To read more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.