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As a nutritionist, this is a question that I am constantly hearing. The truth is that eating a lot of sugar DOES NOT give you diabetes mellitus (DM).

Slightly embarrassed I had Cocoa flavored cereal in my pantry...

“The myth that sugar causes diabetes is commonly accepted by many people. Research has shown that it isn’t true. Eating sugar has nothing to do with developing diabetes” (American Diabetes Association).

There you have it, straight from the horses mouth. Then why do people believe that they will develop DM from eating a lot of sugar?

  1. The greatest risk factor for developing type two diabetes is central adiposity, AKA, being overweight. If you are overweight or obese you are at greater risk for developing diabetes.
  2. It is true, that once you have DM it is important to monitor and limit the amount of carbohydrates and sugars consumed.
  3. I am a nutritionist; of course I don’t think it’s a good idea to eat a lot of sugar. However, if you are of a healthy body weight, and are metabolically healthy in terms of lipids, go ahead and eat some cake.

Of course, like most chronic diseases, there is a huge genetic component to diabetes. If anyone in your family has DM, you are at greater risk. In this case, it is even more important to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly, and to see a registered dietitian if you need help.

I would love to hear your opinions and questions on this subject. Have you been told that eating too much sugar will give you DM?

Happy Eating,

Heather Mason, MS

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Healthy Halloween. Sounds like an oxymoron, right?  Well, yes, generally Halloween is filled with candy corn, fun sized snickers, and cupcakes with giants mounds of orange frosting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about having a fun Halloween and enjoying a little bit of candy. BUT, I’m not about having a week long sugar fest. So here are some tips for having a slightly “healthier” Halloween.

If you’re having a Halloween party or going to one here are some great snacks to choose/make:

  • Apple slices with low-fat caramel or yogurt fruit dip. Fruit, enough said!
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds, just put them in the oven and add a little bit of salt. Delicious!
  • Hot (or cold) apple cider
  • You can make a fun vampire blood punch with 1/2 cranberry or Pomegranate juice and 1/2 sparkling water. You can also add in some pomegranate seeds and fresh squeezed orange or lemon juice.
  • Crudite. Otherwise known as veggies and dip. But be careful because ranch/onion dip is not your friend. You definitely need to check your veggies to dip ratio and make sure that its not 1:1.  One trick to make it healthier is to make your own dip and use plain Greek yogurt and the seasoning packet, or you could do half low-fat sour cream and half Greek yogurt. I’m telling you, know one will know the difference. It tastes almost exactly the same and it is aproximately a million times healthier than regular sour cream or ranch dip.

As far as “healthy” candy goes, none of them are healthy per say, but there are a few choices that won’t set you back as far as the others. For example,York  Peppermint Patties are fairly low in fat and have less than 150 calories for the big size one. Hard “choking” candies, as we like to call them in our family, are also a good choice because they take longer to eat and they only contain sugar, as opposed to a lot of sugar and a lot of fat. Some that I recommend are jolly ranchers, lollipops, and sweet tarts.

Last but not least, if you do “accidentally” eat more than just a few of your favorite candy, throw on your tennis shoes and go trick or treating with the kids.  A vigorous walk is just what you need. In fact, how about you mix it up with some lunges, squats, and you can do bicep curls with the kids candy bags when they start whining that they are too heavy to carry.  Of course, I think that if the kids bags are so heavy that they can’t carry them, its probably time to stop trick-or-treating, so instead you can bring along light weights or a pumpkin! I definitely recommend finding a smaller pumpkin than the one I used…

Basic lunge with pumpkin twist

Squat. Make sure your back is straight. No scary kitty backs!

Bicep curls with candy bag

And I’ll leave you with the best thing about Halloween. Lil’ babies in costumes- my niece to be exact! Happy Healthy Halloween!

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