Should I moderate my sweet tooth?
August 1, 2011 2:45 PM   Subscribe

About 1/ week, I have a major sugar binge. It's always candy and never cake or other sweets. I usually end up eating more than a couple servings of candy in these binges. Now, I am a healthy weight, and my diet in every other way is balanced and healthy for the most part. I am wondering how bad of a health impact these sugar binges can have? Especially in the long term. I am in my mid-20's.
posted by Equiprimordial to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
(Not directly addressing your question, but possibly useful: Are you getting enough vitamin C, say in a multivitamin or by itself? Have you tried substituting fruit or even orange juice for the candy? That might be what the sugar craving is actually trying to tell you. Also, have you tried adding a bit more healthy fat, protein, or complex carbs to each meal? That would address any energy issues that could cause a binge.)
posted by zeek321 at 2:54 PM on August 1, 2011

More than a couple servings of candy is, like, one and a half Snickers bars. Or a movie-theater-sized bag of M&Ms. A lot of "healthy" (i.e. probably overweight but not having major health issues) people do that several times a week, without the balanced diet to back it up.

It's never a bad idea to curtail the junk snacking, but you're probably fine. Go to the doctor regularly for checkups/blood tests (so you know if you're in danger of becoming diabetic), make sure you brush and floss well every day (cavities are a bitch), and continue eating healthfully otherwise. Also, when you see your doctor at those checkups, make sure s/he knows about your candy habit. (You might get a tiiiiny lecture, but more than likely they'll just take it in stride and make sure you're healthy, candy or not. But it's always good to have a record, just in case.)
posted by phunniemee at 2:57 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't know that the sugar ITSELF would have long or serious health consequences, but I do suggest you examine what in your life is making you feel like you need the binges. Whatever is going on there is likely of greater concern or at least worthy of some attention.
posted by pupstocks at 3:01 PM on August 1, 2011

Other than making it difficult to maintain that healthy weight, the effect of this is going to be pretty minimal.
posted by valkyryn at 3:01 PM on August 1, 2011

Are you going completely sugar free for a week and then giving in to the craving? Maybe if you just ate the occasional sugary thing here and there more often you wouldn't feel the need to binge?
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:18 PM on August 1, 2011

Oh Lord, please do not worry about this. And no, it's not a sign of the questioner's like, emotional instability or inner workings or whatever.

And... there is no answer to your question. Health impacts due to consumption are extremely difficult to express for the individual. For the society, yes! We can say "well over time, x number of people will have y things happen...."

But you know, first we'd have to take a family history, and find out about the environment in which you live, and analyze your diet, then we want your blood pressure, and then...

And after that's all over, we'll basically tell you to walk 20 minutes twice a day.

And also don't smoke.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 4:15 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

More than a couple of servings is not a binge, you do not need to examine your life to find out why you have a modest pig out on candy once a week. It's yummy, that's all! Look at your family health history to figure out what you need to be careful of, have your GP do a glucose test if you're worried about diabetes.
posted by zarah at 4:50 PM on August 1, 2011

Seconding be careful with your teeth! Try to brush right after you eat, and floss as soon as you can. You don't want all of that sugar & acid sitting around for too long. Cavities & gingivitis can definitely have an impact on your health AND your wallet.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 4:59 PM on August 1, 2011

I usually end up eating more than a couple servings of candy in these binges.

Is this literally how much you eat? I mean, are you using the serving sizes given on the label, or is this your own judgment of serving size?

A couple of servings is not a binge, and to be honest, I'm more concerned about why you would characterize it that way. It sounds like you're pathologizing what is a normal desire for sweets, and placing way, way too much importance on small deviations from a "healthy" diet.

Candy isn't great for you, but you're eating it in small amounts.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:05 PM on August 1, 2011

Echoing others, relax. I'm pushing 60, am 6'/180 lbs, and I sugar binge on rare occasions. You're not going to die because you ate a Butterfinger.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 6:19 PM on August 1, 2011

Slight derail.

Fui Nom Sum said: Try to brush right after you eat, and floss as soon as you can.

I'm not sure how legit this is, but I've heard it's actually a bad idea to brush right after eating because you have digestive acids all up in your mouth and brushing at that time mushes them into your teeth, eroding them even more. It's better to drink water right after eating and brush at a later time. There's a little blurb about that on this webpage.
posted by imalaowai at 7:13 PM on August 1, 2011

As long as you need the candy, why not make it dark chocolate for the flavonoids? Guilt assuaged!
posted by Knowyournuts at 7:23 PM on August 1, 2011

Guys, sugar binges don't make you diabetic. Certainly not type 1, and as far as I know the jury is out on whether excess sugar consumption can cause type 2. (Obesity & lack of exercise AND a big fat genetic component.)

Yes, I read the thing in the NYT magazine a few weeks ago.

No, eating a lot of sugar is probably not very good for you.

But still.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:29 PM on August 1, 2011

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