Hangovers. Most people have experienced them at least once in their life, after drinking too much alcohol, but did you know there is another kind? The sugar hangover! It’s that slightly shaky, tired, headache-y or cranky feeling you get after eating too many sweets. I’ve had many clients come into my office complaining of those feelings without having any alcohol. When I realized the amount of sugar some of them were eating before bed, it was obvious that it was a result of sugar, not drinking!
The human body is meant to process some sugar—ideally, natural sugars from fruit or veggies. When you eat sugar, your pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to help store and handle the sugar there. When you bing on a large amount of sugar at once, it releases extra insulin to help contain that sugar. You might even get a little pep of energy from the sugar in your blood. But then the sugar crash can happen, and that’s where the hangover symptoms occur.
When the extra insulin pumps into your bloodstream to help with the sugar surge, it can cause a version of low blood sugar. Because so much insulin was released, it’s putting away all the sugar in your bloodstream, and that’s when you basically crash and burn, usually a few hours after you binged on sugar. It’s as if the insulin worked too well, and the plummeting blood sugar and makes you feel symptoms similar to a hangover.
While ideally you’re not overeating sugar, we’ve all been there at one point in time. But sugar hangovers are not inevitable even if you have too many sweets. Here are some steps you can take to keep those hangover symptoms at bay:
- Eat protein and fiber. Both of these food types help slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. This prevents those big insulin releases and even those big sugar highs—all which lead to a sugar hangover.
- Choose a sweet that contains fat. For example, pick ice cream over sorbet or a chocolate indulgence over a gummy candy because fat helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Fat can also make you feel fuller, so you’re less likely to overdo it.
- Know your weaknesses. Be honest with yourself and pinpoint when you need a helping hand to stop those cravings, and use Sweet Defeat to stop yourself from eating sugar. If you want a bite of dessert but don’t want to overdo it, have a Sweet Defeat on hand to use after you try that dessert.
- Get moving. You may not feel like it after eating too much sugar, but taking a walk can be very helpful to balance your blood sugar and clear your mind.
These tips are useful even if you’re eating sweets or a sugary meal in moderation. If you’ve had a sugar hangover before, you know how bad it feels. Be prepared, and you’ll avoid the binge-and-repeat sugar craving cycle so you don’t experience it ever again.