In the spirit of the upcoming religious holiday, let's be totally honest. Just how many Lindt bunnies and Cadbury Creme Eggs have you scoffed mindlessly at your desk/on your lounge this week already? While we're certainly no puritanical paleo subscribers ourselves, it does lead us to question the impact of said binge-eating behaviour. What exactly does all this excess sugar do to our system?
According to Buro's resident nutritionist, Louise Cavanough, "The rush of sugar into the bloodstream will stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas - this is the body's way of dealing with sugar by trying to use it as energy." So far, so textbook. But here's the uncomfortable bit. "Of course, the sugar that comes from heavy bingeing cannot really be used effectively - unless you follow it up by running a marathon - so what isn't used is then sent to the liver to be stored as fat," adds Louise. Moreover, regular sugar binges place increasing demand on your insulin levels which can lead to a system that's less efficient, eventually causing what's knows as insulin resistance - or as Louise says, "the precursor to diabetes." Niiiiice.
We know the obvious choice here is to abstain from sugar altogether, but let's get real - it's Easter and chocolate is everwhere. So what to do if you've pigged out and a marathon is out of the question? "Engaging in exercise will prompt the body to use some of the sugar as energy," suggests Louise. Or, try counteracting the sugar with some high quality proteins and fat - Louise suggests nuts, a boiled egg or a piece of cheese. "This may slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, reducing the sugar 'high' or 'rush', thus preventing the associated 'crash down' later on." And as an added bonus, the protein and fat will work to keep you satisfied and hopefully prevent a round two of demolishing that chocolate Lindt bunny.
And if you're the type who prescribes to the 'eat now, pay later' mantra of health and fitness, we have some good news for you: it is possible to make up for the pig-out post-Easter. "Our bodies are pretty forgiving," says Louise. "Ditch the sugar, include protein and fat at all meals and snacks and get regular exercise and you will recover from an Easter binge fairly quickly. That being said, a long-term high-sugar diet does serious damage and will require much more work to stabilise and repair, so make it a one off!"