Our dietitian tells you how to combat your sugar hangover.
At Cooking Light, we think you should have treats in moderation (read: a fun-sized packet of Skittles or an occasional donut is totally fair game). But there’s something about Halloween that makes us want to binge eat anything with sugar and throw healthy eating completely out the window.
The problem is that when you eat candy by the fistful, your body can take a major hit (and we're not just talking added calories). If you’re a sweets lover, you’ve probably experienced a stomachache, felt shaky, or crashed after a particularly large serving of sugar.
Cooking Light's Food and Nutrition Director, Brierley Horton, MS, RD, explains: "When you binge on the sweet stuff, your body breaks sugar into glucose, which is released into your bloodstream. As a response, your body then releases insulin to help bring your sugar levels back down and help your cells 'mop it up'. Whatever sugar your body doesn't use gets stored as fat."
Horton also adds that eating too much sugar can make your blood sugar levels spike—making you feel hungry and craving more sugary foods—so ending the cycle is key. If you’ve hit the candy a little hard today, here’s what to do.
Eat some protein and fiber
Stabilize your blood sugar by eating some slow-digesting protein and fiber. If you don't, your blood sugar will crash and you'll potentially feel hungry and want to eat again. Great snack options are an apple and nut butter, a hard boiled egg and pistachios, or hummus and veggies.
Go to a yoga class
Eighty percent of people say they eat more sweets when they're stressed out. A recent study by the University of California, Davis, found that when stressed women drank a sugary beverage, their body's response to stress was tempered. Translation? Tame your stress, tame your sweet tooth.
Prep a healthy meal for later
Eating sweets makes you crave more not-so-good for you food. Throw a healthy meal in your slow cooker for later so that you won't be tempted to order takeout or swing through a drive-through.
Eat some probiotic foods
A recent study from Oregon State University showed that the "bad" bacteria in your gut feeds on sugar and may affect your cognitive function. Next time you overdo it on the sugar, try drinking kombucha or eating some Greek yogurt, cultured cottage cheese, or refrigerated sauerkraut to add some "good" bacteria to the mix.