February 26, 2015

The Cold, Sweet Love Affair

Pillows, Puddings and Pies, if these are the three P’s that define your winter, then this one’s definitely for you guys. Winter often means getting into the rut of eating food loaded with sugar and staying home wrapped up in your blankets. During the Christmas season, gaining those few pounds is almost accepted as a universal truth and Santa is constantly pestered to swing by and take away the excess pounds that come along with the winters! While the sweets we consume during winters are packed with sentiment and tradition, they are also loaded with sugar. So why do we get these sugary cravings at this time of the year? Here’s the logic.

One theory is that because of a hormone in our body called Melatonine (which is triggered by darkness and makes us feel sleepy) we eat more. It affects the appetite and causes an increase in hunger, and an increase in weight since our willpower seems to go on a vacation in the winter months. Also During the cold wet winters, many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a mild form of depression and happens because our body gets lesser amounts of sunlight, warmth and lesser exercise. These guys eat more sugary carb-rich foods that lead to a spike in the blood sugar levels and result in more insulin in the blood.
Now even though they don’t know this, their bodies crave and consume these foods because the higher insulin levels result in the release of a certain hormone called Seratonin, that makes us happy. So if you see a guy smiling at everyone during winters, it’s probably safe to conclude that he’s overdosing on sugar-packed goodness. This self-medication may seem pretty effective (and tempting) you can’t do it all year round (Unless you want to become round yourself).

While most of us might not even attempt to taste any of the Indian sweets fearing the weight gain, here’s a good news – it’s actually good and advisable to eat such rich, heavy food in winter. These halwas, laddoos and barfis provides body the necessary heat and helps in balancing the temperature. Take Jaggery, for instance. It is an heating food; In winters, Jaggery serves as an excellent ingredient to combat cold but eating it in summer can lead to nose bleeds and other complications. Saffron has the same properties. Ghee, the word itself makes you feel fatty but in winters it keeps the skin lubricated. And it is easily digested in winters due to the excessive body heat.
Most people, specially the elders, advice to make it a point to eat a saunth laddoo or any other sweet once a day during the winter months. So, grab the chance and gorge on those winter sweets you have been longing for from ages. At the end of the day, if these sweets are too sweet for you then go for a big mug of spiced hot chocolate. Nothing works like it !

In case, calorie intake still scares you, try loading yourself with more water and less of sweet foods during winters. In this way you can successfully manage sugar cravings with almost no weight gain. Too much of a good thing is bad, unless its water. Your kidneys will thank you if you have about 5-6 litres of water daily, which you can even consume in the form of warm herbal teas or just warm honey water. It’s a good idea for your skin too, since the dry winter air lacks much needed moisture.

Besides this, our advice would be to keep a food diary so that you can keep track of how much you eat and keep your guard up against the tempting sugar mermaids that will call out to you from the plates!

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