The Eight-day War: How to Cope With Hanukkah Calories

Limor Gilat
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Limor Gilat

Hanukkah, which begins this weekend, is one of the most beloved Jewish holidays of the year. But one setback to the festive holiday is the gluttony that accompanies the holiday's eight nights of celebration.

The traditional food eaten during Hanukkah is unhealthy, to say the very least. The biggest health culprit of the holiday is the jelly doughnut, known in Hebrew as a sufganiyah.

There is an unwritten law commanding everyone to eat doughnuts during Hanukkah; this in spite of their hefty calorie sum: each one contains between 350 - 800 calories, depending on size, filling, and coating.

Here is a little perspective on the gravity of eating one of these doughnuts: in order to burn off the calories taken in from one, you would have to run at the pace of a sprint for an hour straight.

The combination of hot, puffy, fried dough, filled with jelly and other sweets, is more than the human body can cope with. Digesting one of these treats is an arduous task for the body to perform.

The main ingredient in the doughnut is white flour, whose digestion is highly demanding on the body. Vitamin B plays an essential role, but without proper vitamins, the body's neural activity is inhibited, affecting the production of blood cells as well as one's mood.

The pancreas must create insulin in order to cope with the large amount of sugar in the doughnut while its fats cling to the sides of your intestine where they stay for several days.

Doughnuts are, without a doubt, a delicious holiday treat, but they come with a heavy price.

To help bear the burden, here are a few tips on what to do and what not to do to combat the doughnut temptation:

Don't touch a doughnut before Hanukkah begins.

During Hanukkah, choose two times when you allow yourself to eat doughnuts with abandon. For the remainder of the time, exercise restraint.

Before attending a Hanukkah party where you know doughnuts will be present, eat something small.

Strong mint-flavored gum can help ward off cravings.

The author is a nutritionist and leads a weight loss support group.