Have you ever had a Sugar Hangover ?
Do you even know what one is? It’s when you are unable to wake up easily—you feel parched, lethargic and fuzzy headed. A sugar hangover may cause you to skip your morning workout and go for that large latte with three shots if espresso instead. Does this remind you of how you feel after too many martinis only without the craving for fried foods? If so, this is a sugar hangover-- when you eat more sugar than your body normally processes, causing your body to produce an inflamed and toxic response.
A couple weeks ago, I posted a picture of a wonderfully delicious Vegan Chocolate Sea Salt Tart.
It was dense and rich, but not heavy since it was made with coconut oil and agave syrup. However, it was intense. After indulging in a nice-sized piece in the evening, the next morning I had a sugar hangover. Seriously. My husband even asked me “why are you so tired?” as I lay groggy eyed in bed with our 17 month-old who was anxious to start the day. Not fun. I shuffled downstairs muttering about motivating myself to do one of my self- directed workouts. I was tired, lethargic and my stomach was achy. I decided to test my hypothesis. The next two nights, I abstained from the cake and instead had some peanut butter on rice cake and a piece of dark chocolate. The result? No sugar hangover the next two mornings. It worked without fail. I was able to get up without difficulty and I slept well each night.
So why did I get a sugar hangover? Not because the cake itself was too sugary, but because I had reduced my sugar threshold at this point. Ever since my husband and I joined forces to complete a food based detox, we had reduced our nightly dessert intake and vowed to eat only homemade desserts on occasion. I now make 95% of our desserts and I do it using less sugar. I can’t imagine what a mass produced, high sugar cake would have done to our system or my morning.
Why does sugar have such an effect on us? It’s because sugar is addictive. As kid, candy was one of my favorite foods. My first job after college was the Assistant Manager of the Candy Department in a specialty food store. To this day, I MUST have snack/”dessert” after dinner and usually something “sweet” after lunch. If you asked me what would I bring to a desert island – cake or fried chicken – I’d choose the cake without a second thought.
However, when I cut or reduce sugar, I’ve noticed the following: clearer, younger looking skin, less facial lines, a stronger stomach, less bloating, little moodiness, less cravings and an overall better bill of health.
So how does one address a sugar hangover?
- Sugar can have the same effect as alcohol on your body.
- Reduce your sugar threshold and you’ll notice that you will crave sugar less.
- If you love dessert – move it to the afternoon. Your body will burn some of it off and it won’t impact your sleep.
- If you have dessert at night, eat two hours before bedtime. Otherwise, skip it.
- Choose low sugar or fruit based desserts. Berries, watermelon, or nuts. Peanut or almond butter on a rice cake. Avoid baked goods, intense chocolates and tarts with lots of sugar.
- Drink water when you feel the urge to nosh.
- Slowly wean yourself off the by having lower sugar items. Try having toast with Nutella and some jam. Or peanut butter and jelly on rice cakes. Even berries with plain yogurt is a great snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth just a little.
- Rather than having a cut off time and gorging up until that point, have your snack, be done with it, and drink tea or water.
- GO TO BED EARLIER and read.
- Be wary of sugary alcoholic drinks. Sugar is a byproduct of fermentation, so adding more sugar to a cocktail or mixed drink more doubles the effect of the sugar/alcohol hangover.
Aside from desserts, sugar is everywhere, especially in processed goods. So be aware, be conscious, and stay committed to your goals. The energy in the morning, improved sleep and reduced aging effect on your body will be well worth it. Contact me if you need help conquering sugar!