You’ve probably noticed kids at birthday parties running around, jumping up and down, and completely exhilarated. No one can deny that clowns, balloons, and music have a lot to do with it; however, all the candies, cakes, and chocolates play a huge role too! This energy boost that we often have when we overdose on sweets is called a sugar rush.
What is a sugar rush?
A sugar rush, or a sugar high, is the physiological effect of consuming too much sugar or glucose in cakes, cookies, chocolates, sodas, etc. In fact, after ingesting a large amount of sweets, your blood sugar level spikes. This causes hyperactivity because sugar breaks down very quickly to be converted into energy. You experience alertness, shakiness, and sometimes tremors; sitting still becomes very difficult. This phase only lasts 15 to 40 minutes.
What is a sugar crash?
A sugar crash is your body’s reaction to a sugar rush. When your body detects this high blood sugar, it will try its best to bring back normal levels. Your pancreas will overreact and secrete large amounts of insulin, the hormone responsible for eliminating sugar from the bloodstream. This will allow all the glucose to enter the cells and cause an adverse effect. Blood sugar levels will dramatically drop causing fatigue, nausea, weakness, hunger, irritability, and sleepiness. You will feel even more tired than the initial stage because your body used a lot of energy to get rid of the sugar from the bloodstream.
Why do we eat so much sugar?
I’m sure we all know the answer to this question! Each one of us craves sugar for at least 3 of the following reasons:
- Taste: Let’s face it, sweet food tastes a whole lot better than anything else. The best edible items are sugary, and you simply can’t get enough!
- Convenience: Sweet products are very convenient and easy to find. Most of them don’t need preparation in advance.
- Emotional distress: The best comfort foods are the ones that are high in sugar. The brain’s need for serotonin, the feel good hormone, gets us to crave sweets even more.
- Habit: Most eating behaviors come from a certain pattern we became accustomed to since childhood.
- Yeast imbalance: An excess of harmful bacteria in the gut could be a reason for those cravings. In fact, these pathogens feed off sugar in order to grow and duplicate. Thus, they send signals requiring consumption of this type of food.
- Need for energy: Stress and sleep deprivation can disrupt the function of adrenal glands causing exhaustion. During those times, we go for sugar to feed our need for energy.
- Dehydration: Our brain often confuses thirst with hunger, and most of the time, we feed off high sugar food. If you’re craving sweets within an hour after finishing a meal, then you are probably just dehydrated.
What should you do in case of a sugar rush?
Even though this episode lasts less than an hour, it could be really exhausting. You can try to ease the symptoms by:
- Drinking plenty of water to remove excess glucose in the urine.
- Going for a run; any physical activity will help you lower your blood glucose level.
If you are one of those people who often experiences sugar rushes, then you must pay attention to the quantities you are consuming. Try to figure out why you are having those cravings and resort to different strategies to calm them. But of course, don’t forget to enjoy something sweet from time to time!