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Binging on Sweets Can Trigger IBD

Whether you love them or hate them, the holidays are fast approaching. While there will be socializing, gifts, maybe a few games and plenty of time with the family, holiday season typically revolves around two things: food and alcohol. If you’re planning on binging on holiday treats this year, weight gain isn’t the only thing you should be cautious about. Researchers say that even a few short days of binging can potentially lead to symptoms of severe inflammatory bowel disease.

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Findings from a recent study showed that mice who were fed a high-sugar diet for two days experienced an increased risk of chemically-induced colitis and severe IBD symptoms. The mice also showed a ‘defective immune response’ and experienced damage to their intestinal tissue. The study suggests that even a short-term spike in sugar, such as one caused by binging on sweets, can increase inflammation and raise the risk of developing IBD symptoms.

The best way to avoid digestive issues throughout the holidays? Be mindful about what — and how much — you’re eating. There’s nothing wrong with indulging once in a while, but eating enough to make yourself sick is a whole other story. Consider these tips to help you enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season:

Eat when you’re hungry —Have you ever tried to “make up” for what you know will be a gorge-worthy holiday meal by eating nothing leading up to the big event? It is likely that when you arrived at the festive occasion, you were so famished that you devoured everything in sight. A far better bet is to eat reasonable meals beforehand so that you feel satiated and are less likely to overindulge on sweets or stuffing.

Eat your fat first — Fat will help you to feel full while also stimulating your metabolism. So "snacking" on your portion of these foods first, before helping yourself to all of the starchy sides and desserts, may help you keep your cravings and total food intake in check. Good examples of fat are olives, olive oil, coconut oil, butter and nuts.

Go for a walk — A brisk walk after your meal has several significant benefits. First, it will get you away from the food, making it less likely that you'll help yourself to seconds or overindulge in dessert upon your return. Second, while supporting your digestion and metabolism, the physical activity will help to lower your blood sugar levels and insulin.

Recondition your brain — Make no mistake: the highly processed foods so common at holiday feasts are engineered to appeal to your primal drive for calories, fat, sugar, and salt. As you consume more and more of these highly processed products, your brain will become conditioned to crave these unhealthy foods, making it nearly impossible to resist them. One way to help “reprogram” your brain so you don’t feel powerless to resist unhealthy foods is with the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). When you engage your body's subtle energy system with EFT, the distracting discomforts like food cravings and hunger pangs often subside.

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