What To Do When You Eat Too Much Sugar
It seems like at any time of the year, you can find a great excuse to indulge in sugary foods. It’s February now, so Valentine’s Day just passed (and candy is one of the quintessential Valentine gifts!)
At the end of the year, there are all of the holiday sweets and treats… in summer, you have ice cream and popsicles… and the list goes on and on.
With candy and cakes and all manner of sweet goodies available all the time, it’s easy to overdo it. It doesn’t matter if you typically eat a lot of sugar or “special occasions” present a unique challenge.
Either way, you’re likely to overindulge at some time or another.
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There are, thankfully, a few things you can do to reduce how often and by how much you overdo your sugar intake. And, when you do go over, you can limit the fallout by eating the right food and caring for your body.
Before you reach for the desserts, however… you should know the effects that sugar has on your body and why you might want to cut back.
Why Is Sugar Bad For Me?
As delicious as sugar can be, it has a lot of nasty side effects that not many people know about. Sugar can cause you to gain weight and damage your heart health.
And that’s only the beginning.
Recent studies have made it clear that sugar is more to blame for weight gain than normal dietary fats are. Dietary fats give you long-lasting energy, pack more flavor into your food, and help you feel full after you’ve eaten a meal.
Sugar, on the other hand, holds no nutritional value. Despite what most people think, the much-dreaded “sugar rush” isn’t even a real thing. Science has known this since the early ‘80s and confirmed it again in 1995.
Sugar also causes your system to generate a ton of insulin all at once. Over time, this reduces how sensitive your body is to insulin.
In some cases this can lead to pre-diabetes or even diabetes itself. These insulin surges can also cause you to feel hungry all over again, so you end up eating more in the long run.
Insulin fluctuations can also cause mood swings. Science is still uncertain whether it is the spike or the crash that causes moodiness… and most of the current studies focus on insulin-dependent diabetics.
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But more studies are being done to determine how much of the “hangry” experience—when someone is angry & irritable because they’re hungry—is tied to blood sugar fluctuations.
Finally—and possibly more importantly—sugar causes inflammation. Your body’s insulin response causes your cells to hold on to more water. This, in turn, leads to bloating.
And, for some people, it can lead to something much more dangerous.
When your cells hold on to extra fluid, it raises your blood pressure. Most people might not notice the increase. But if you have heart problems, sugar can get you in serious trouble.
In fact, sugar is scientifically proven to be worse for your blood pressure and heart health than salt is!
Cutting sugar out completely is impossible. At least, it is if you count sugars that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables.
But you can seriously reduce or cut down on added sugars to decrease the negative effects listed above. To do that, however, you need to know what names you’re looking for.
What Other Names Does Sugar Go By?
Added sugar can pop up in the weirdest places… so reducing the amount of sugar you eat won’t always be easy.
It doesn’t help that food companies have come up with over 60 names for the sugars they add to their ingredients. And that’s without getting into artificial sweeteners, which are a topic unto themselves.
Some of the most common names for added sugars include maltodextrin, glucose, sucrose, and fructose. And if fructose sounds familiar, there’s a good reason.
Yes, it’s the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit. But it’s also part of high fructose corn syrup.
That ingredient can be found in everything from soda to salad dressing to ketchup. And it has its own nasty reputation on top of what sugar already does.
If you want to cut down on sugar, the first thing to do is check the ingredients list, as well as the nutrition label. If you see any ingredients like maltodextrin or fructose, do a quick search on your phone or pull up this link.
It takes a little bit of extra time to check for all of the names sugar goes by… but the health benefits are worth it.
How Will I Know I’ve Eaten Too Much Sugar?
Now you know what sugar does to you in the long run… and you know how to look for hidden sugars in the food you buy.
But that doesn’t mean you’re immune to overdoing it on the sweet stuff. Luckily, there are a few common symptoms that you can look out for.
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The symptoms of eating too much sugar are usually the same. They do change, however, depending on whether the sugar shock is a one-time binge… or if it’s part of a diet that routinely contains too much sugar.
If you eat too much sugar as a general rule, you’re going to find yourself craving it all the time. Even after you’re full, your body will try and get you to eat some sugar.
This is because your tastebuds and brain have adapted to the way sugar makes them feel. Sugar activates the reward center of our brain.
It’s why sweet things seem to make us happier. And it’s also why you might find yourself craving sugar when you’re sad.
Consistently eating too much sugar can also make you feel tired. All the sugar you take in makes it harder for your body’s insulin to do its job and break down the sugar into usable energy.
This means that your body is using more energy than it’s getting when it digests sugar. This drops your energy levels and leaves you feeling sluggish.
These are symptoms that you might not notice unless you use a symptom tracker. A simple printout and a few minutes each day can help you pinpoint when your symptoms show up and what you before they did.
This, coupled with a doctor’s advice, can help you crack down on the way sugar impacts your body.
If you don’t generally eat a lot of sugar… but find yourself binging at special occasions or holidays, you’re going to notice a slightly different set of symptoms.
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You will feel sluggish, just like you would if you regularly ate too much sugar. You’ll get mood swings for much the same reason.
And you’ve probably experienced the stomachache that often comes with eating too much sugar.
But prolonged sugar binges can lead to other, less common, symptoms. You might find that your urine becomes cloudy.
This happens when your body can no longer process all the sugar you’re eating. At that point, it just dumps the sugar into your urine, causing the discoloration.
If you find this happening more often, you need to see a doctor. It is one sign of pre-diabetes, diabetes, or another form of insulin resistance.
You will also feel bloated after binging on sugar. It might be a relief to know that bloating is making your jeans tighter, since bloating tends to wear off eventually. But there are definite downsides too, no matter how temporary the situation is.
Bloating is a type of inflammation. And, as mentioned above, this inflammation can negatively affect your blood pressure.
This isn’t a problem for most people. But if you have heart problems, you definitely want to keep an eye on how swollen you feel.
You might want to be careful if you have arthritis as well. Any additional inflammation will only make your arthritis worse.
How Do I Shake My Sugar Symptoms?
The easiest way to avoid these nasty symptoms is to eat less sugar. This article has several great tips to help you if that’s the route you’re ready to go.
But all the sugar reduction tips in the world won’t help when you’ve already eaten too much sugar.
Once the sugar is in your system, there is no magic way to flush it out… but there are a few things you can do to help your body recover from the sugar shock more quickly. Some of these remedies will also help reduce the severity of your symptoms.
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The first thing you will want to do is ignore your cravings. Eating a lot of sugar lights up the reward center of your brain, as I mentioned before.
So your brain and body are going to tell you they want more sugar. It won’t be easy, especially when your energy slumps. But do whatever you have to so you don’t reach for leftover sweets, candies, or sugary drinks.
When you do reach for something to eat, opt for meals with a focus on vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.
Fiber helps your body process sugar more effectively. Dietary fiber slows down the rate at which your body absorbs sugar.
This means that your body can use its insulin more effectively while getting nutrients from other food. Ultimately, your body will end up dumping more sugar as waste than it would have without that fiber.
To get more fiber into your system, try this roasted vegetable medley. You can also use fiber supplements to help get in even more fiber if vegetables aren’t quite cutting it.
While the fiber helps your body process the sugar you ate, protein and fat will help keep your energy levels up. They will also keep you feeling full so you’re more easily able to ignore your sugar cravings.
Try something like this easy roasted chicken. Coupled with some avocado salad for a dose of healthy fats, it will make for a filling meal that helps your body kick that nasty sugar-sick feeling.
You will also want to make sure you’re drinking a lot of water. The sugar in your system will cause your cells to soak up as much available water as they can.
This leaves less for your body to use for normal functions, which will leave you feeling thirsty. A water tracking app like this one can help you keep track of your intake.
Finally, make sure you take in extra potassium and salt. Your extra water intake—and the extra trips to the bathroom—will quickly drop your electrolyte levels.
This deficiency can lead to headaches and other symptoms that will pile onto those you’re trying to shake. Something like this homemade sports drink will give you the electrolyte boost you need without the added sugars that come in store-bought drinks.
Most people love cakes, pies, candies, and all the other delicious things we usually associate with sugar. But overdoing it can ruin your experience.
And if you overdo it for too long, you can do serious harm to your body.
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So, as Julia Childs said, “All things in moderation.”
Enjoy your sweets… but keep an eye on the way your body responds to them. And, when it starts giving warning signals, reach for the fiber and protein to help you shake the sugar blue and keep your energy up.
Eat More Of THIS To Decrease Sugar Cravings & Peel Off The Pounds Faster…
While it’s true that a diet high in fiber can help slow down the rate your body absorbs sugar… there’s another secret powerhouse you can eat more of to practically eliminate any late-night sugar cravings… AND burn more calories the next day:
If you’re really trying to reduce your weight, studies show a diet high in protein can lead to more fat loss and lower blood pressure than a diet high in fiber.
And adding more protein to your diet can even help you burn more calories the next day(!).
A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people added 15-30% more protein to their diet… they burned 441 more calories per day on average.
(That’s nearly an ENTIRE pint of Ben & Jerry’s right there!)
And this is especially helpful if your sugar cravings tend to strike late at night.
Because I don’t know about you… but after 8PM, I pretty much transform into the Cookie Monster.
Even when I’m trying to be “good”… or brush my teeth right after dinner… or tell myself that if I can just wait until the morning, I’ll “treat myself”…
Like clockwork, I find myself reaching for “just one” Milano cookie (my partner likes to buy them for himself, but I just can’t resist when they’re in the house)… and then another… and then all of a sudden the bag is empty. Oops.
Though thanks to this brand-new science, instead of starving yourself the whole night… locking up the pantry with a padlock and hiding the key… or chaining yourself to the elliptical for 2 hours the next day…
You CAN enjoy a late-night treat… as long as it’s got just a little protein. 🙂 (Looking at you, peanut butter cookies!!)
Here’s the incredible science behind how eating a little more protein can reduce sugar cravings… potentially increase your metabolism… and help you burn more calories the next day:
Click Here To See How Eating More Protein Can Help You Lose More Weight & Reduce Your Sugar Cravings
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