You might love reaching for sugary comfort food when the weather takes a dive, but be careful. Sugar is always bad to consume in large amounts, but it can become even worse during winter when you want to ward off colds and flu.
Why We Crave Sugar In Winter
If you feel like you crave sugary foods more in winter than the warmer months, you’re not imagining it. Foods that are rich in carbs and sugar cause your blood sugar to increase, which boosts the body’s insulin levels. This causes an amino acid known as tryptophan to travel to the brain where it is transformed into a happy hormone known as serotonin. However, eating too much sugar can end up causing insulin resistance, which can lead to health conditions such as diabetes.
Sugar Harms Your Immune System
You might feel relaxed and content after munching on sweet stuff, but inside your body the opposite is happening. Sugar causes your immune system to work harder. It blocks a process known as phagocytosis, which is the destruction of bacteria and viruses by white blood cells. This makes your body more prone to getting sick.
You might think that it takes a long time for sugar to have such a negative effect, but alarmingly it can happen thirty minutes after sugar consumption and it can last for hours. So if you’re regularly topping up on sugar throughout the day, you’re constantly preventing your immune system from working properly.
Switch to Complex Carbs Instead
It’s simple sugars, such as those found in soda, sweets and packaged foods, that are the problem. Fruits and veggies might contain sugar, but they are better for you because they are complex carbs that are packed with vitamins you need to protect your immune system. In addition, complex carbs have been found not to have the same effect on the body as simple sugars, so reach for those instead.