Sugar Hangover — How You Get One & How To Cure It

rexusa_1184317fPhoto: Andrew Williams/REX USA.
Feeling that post-sugar high/low today? Maybe you hit the mini Milky Ways a little too hard, leaving you a bit burned out. While it's not as severe an actual hangover (you know, the kind where you went full-tilt on a few too many martinis), your body does actually react to sugar and, often, feels worse if you binge.
First, it's important to understand what happens when you eat too much of the sweet stuff. It enters your bloodstream in the form of glucose, triggering your pancreas to create excess insulin to deal with all that glucose. Because the kinds of sugar in candy — typically sucrose and fructose — are so easily converted into glucose (the form of energy you body prefers to use), your blood-sugar skyrockets. Your body is having a field day with all that sucrose — transforming it to glucose in a snap. But, once all that excess glucose is gone, your blood sugar drops precipitously, triggering the crash.
All this excess insulin can make you feel hungry. You might crave more sugary foods. But, the key to ending this cycle — and therefore your sugar hangover — is to resist this impulse! Try eating things that will be slowly broken down by your body — things like proteins. This will sate your hunger without beginning the crash anew.
After an intense bout of sugar consumption (i.e. the entire week leading up to Halloween) the levels of the bacterial and yeast colonies living in your body can be disrupted. Yeasts enjoy feeding off of simple sugars, so they flourish in ultra-sweet environments. For women, this can sometimes take the form of a yeast infection (though yeast can live in places other than the vagina). Taking a probiotic supplement or eating healthy, fermented foods (like yogurts, kefir, and sauerkraut) can help to restore bacterial and yeast harmony — and keep the unwanted bugs in check. FYI, you should also halt on eating tons of sugar or else the probiotics can't really help you.
If you've overdone it, drinking tons of water will also help your body recover. If you've eaten way too much sugar, your body will try to get rid of the excess glucose by filtering it through the kidneys and eliminating it as urine. At very high levels, sugar can cause dehydration. So, bottoms up! (By that we mean H20).
Sugar crashing and hangovers aren't reserved for the day after Halloween — high-sugar content foods are a staple of many people's diets. But, if you've been wondering what might be causing that headache, fatigue, or constant craving for more candies, you may have found your culprit.

More from Diet & Nutrition

Halloween (prime vampire season) is coming up, so it's only natural if you've been eating more garlic lately. The only downside of all that supernatural ...
When you get pregnant, the food advice you receive tends to revolve around what you supposedly can't eat or drink: sushi, seafood, alcohol, soft cheeses...
If you live in the Northeast of the U.S., you might want to check on the meat in your fridge. The CDC announced on Saturday that it is investigating a ...
On Wednesday, I was in one of those elevators with a news and advertising screen when I was faced yet again with the results of the month of sobriety ...
How many times have you woken up with a disgusting hangover after a heavy night and vowed never to drink again? Well, this common plight could one day be...
It seems like everyone’s looking for ways to eat more protein. And there’s a good reason for it, too: Often known as the “building block” of the body, ...
While you'll probably never hear anyone raving about the deliciousness of their school cafeteria hot lunch, it's a much better alternative to not having it...
On Monday, Kellogg's recalled 10,000 Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles packages that were potentially contaminated. And on Wednesday, Blue Bell Creameries ...
If you haven't yet heard the word “gluten,” you've probably been living under a rock. Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Miley Cyrus have embraced the...
If Stranger Things reawakened your childhood love for the ubiquitous Eggo waffle, we have some pretty upsetting news. On Monday, Kellogg's voluntarily ...
Apple cider vinegar's (ACV) reputation as a miracle cure certainly isn't new — supposedly even the Ancient Greeks were into the stuff. Today, though, the...
Hackers leaked the medical files of Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Venus Williams, and basketball player Elena Delle Donne early Tuesday, the World Anti-...
This article was originally published on April 26, 2016. Yes, it's true that health food can be staggeringly expensive — especially if it's something ...
We don't do diets. But we still love to eat — and we want to eat well. In her column, How To Eat, Refinery29's favorite intuitive eating coach Christy ...