As Halloween approaches so does the cold and flu season. Coincidence? Not likely! Is what we think of as the cold and flu season really a sequela of overindulgences from sugar that occur more than usual from the end of October through the end of the year? Probably! Enjoy today's article from one of my nutritional endocrinology students, health coach and certified gluten practitioner, Diane Letchworth.
Cold Season, Flu Season – Sugar Season?
Guest blog by Diane Letchworth, CGP
Ah…autumn. That lovely time of year when the leaves show off their extravagant, brilliantly colored wardrobe before they “undress” for the winter….
Fall is also the time when the sounds of summer – lawn mowers, weed whackers, splashing of swimming pools – undergo their annual transformation too.
(Blowing of nose….)
I’ve been thinking about those classic Warner Bros. cartoons where Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck argue about whether it’s “rabbit season” or “duck season.”
While Elmer Fudd stands by, waiting with his shotgun in hand, ready to shoot….
In reality, the arrival of autumn is more likely to be met by poor Elmer Fudd tucked in bed with a box of tissues and some hot tea with lemon, nursing a case of the sniffles or this year’s variation of the flu….
So why is it that the change of seasons brings with it this annual rite of passage known as “Cold and Flu Season”?
That’s easy, you say:
It’s the roller coaster of the thermostat – early overnight frosts followed by Indian summer.
People go from wearing their sweaters, smelling of cedar or mothballs from a summer in storage, to t-shirts and shorts, soaking up some late season sun.
Of course everybody gets sick: they don’t know how to dress from one day to the next….
Oh, and the kids are going back to school – and “everybody knows” that all those kids crammed into classrooms together are sharing their germs freely and widely….
Well, okay. But….
Why are all those germs out there in the first place? Why now?
It hardly matters how dense the population is if they aren’t susceptible to those pathogens in the first place….
If our immune systems are strong enough to do their jobs properly, it’s not really going to matter if we’re a bit under-dressed one morning, or sitting next to a child with a runny nose.
But there’s another annual ritual that rolls around this time of year, one Elmer Fudd might have wanted to keep in mind:
It’s also the start of “sugar season.”
Yep, no sooner are the kiddies back in school than Halloween’s right around the corner.
As Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo pointed out recently, we spend 2 billion dollars on Halloween candy, candy loaded with toxic ingredients.
One of those toxic ingredients is…sugar.
(Yes, I know a lot of people think “toxic” is too strong a word, but the list of other reputable anti-sugar advocates seems to increase by the day: JJ Virgin, Jamie Oliver, Dr. Mark Hyman, Alex Jamieson, Dr. Robert Lustig; just to name a few.)
After the sugar/chocolate/candy binge of Halloween, we head full-swing into the holiday season….
Thanksgiving, with its traditional favorites of candied yams and pumpkin pie.
Office parties, school parties….
Cookies, cupcakes, chocolate…oh my!!
Most people know that sugar can cause a host of problems, most notably dental caries, and that too many sweets aren’t going to be good for the waistline.
But you may not know that sugar has been linked to a host of other health problems as well, including decreased immunity.
Hmm, “decreased immunity.”…
Right around the time of year when the common cold and influenza rear their ugly heads in earnest.
Are there more germs around this time of year?
Or maybe our sugar-depressed immune systems are simply unable to fend off what’s around us all the time.
You might want to keep that in mind before you root through Junior’s “trick or treat” booty, trying to find that last chocolate bar….
Or before that second helping of pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake….
And certainly before over-indulging in the eggnog – alcoholic or otherwise – at the company Christmas party….
Unless you want to replace that lampshade on your head with a hot-water bottle the next morning.
‘Cause the “sugar hangover” – and its subsequent cold or flu infection – might just be worse than the other kind….
Diane Letchworth is a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, Certified Gluten Practitioner and Reiki Master/Teacher. She is currently studying Nutritional Endocrinology with Dr. Ritamarie, as well as Aromatherapy. She resides in the mountains of North Carolina, where she works to help people take charge of their health and improve their lives.
For more information, please visit www.dsquaredwellness.com or contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.