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Americans eat a lot of sugar, it turns out—and if we weren’t already well aware of this, John Oliver’s piercing commentary on HBO’s Last Week Tonight shook audiences awake to the issue. What’s more, new findings that show sugar causes aging similar to the way smoking does. While studies have previously shown that sugar has similar effects to cocaine on the brain, research from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) now shows that, “high sugar consumption may result in increased aging in the same way regular smoking does.”

The study examined the length of telomeres, a part of the cell that acts as a buffer to DNA, protecting genetic material. Telomere length decreases each time cells divide, which contributes to the body’s aging process. The UCLA study found that drinking beverages with a high sugar content shortened telomere length, speeding the aging process.

Importantly, “Telomere length dwindles naturally as we age, but it may not be an irreversible process. Previous research shows that it’s possible to increase telomere length by as much as 10% over 5 years by stressing less and eating a healthy diet—no soda included.”

Research like this comes just in time for America’s biggest sugar binge of the year—Halloween. Knowledge is power, right? If that’s the case, then understanding the damaging effects of sugar on the body at the cellular level may be impetus enough to limit your candy intake over this weekend.

And in case you haven’t activated your ph360 membership yet, here are 5 easy tips to help you avoid the Halloween sugar trap:

  1. Eat full meals. Instead of not eating all day so that you can binge on candy later, eat three full meals that will give you long-lasting energy. If you’re full on foods that are actually fueling you, you’ll be less likely to crave empty calories.
  2. Bring pre-sliced fruit with you. Whether you’re taking your kids trick-or-treating or simply trying to avoid the overflowing candy bowl at work, a good substitute can help. Try slicing up your favorite fruit and bringing it with you wherever you go. Reach for that instead of the candy, and your body will thank you!
  3. Make healthy treats. It’s the added sugar that’s the biggest health problem in most candies and baked goods, so do yourself a favor and make your own healthy treats instead. Look for recipes that use unprocessed sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, and whole grains like oats.
  4. Sell your kids’ candy to the dentist. Many dentists will offer you cash for your kids’ candy—incentivize them to hold out for the money instead of the sugar rush!
  5. Less is more. If you must sneak a Snickers, decide exactly how much candy you’re planning to eat, and stick to it. If it’s two mini candy bars, eat them slowly over the course of the night. You’ll be amazed at how far just a little sugar goes.

Let ph360 help you discover the foods that will keep you young and sugar-craving free at!

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