Sugar is my weakness. I wholeheartedly admit that Halloween is my favorite holidaybecause of how easy it is to get your hands on some sweets. Halloween hauls can cause a rush of sugar into your body and, after the initial spike, you are more than likely fighting to keep your eyes open.
What happens after sugar enters your body?
Amanda Bontempo, a nutritionist at NYU Langone’s Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, states that “the minute you put a sweet in your mouth, you get a surge of dopamine, a feel-good hormone with addictive properties” . Sugar enters your bloodstream, giving you that “wired” feeling that accompanies a sugar rush. The pancreas releases insulin, which signals the cells to absorb glucose and consequently control blood glucose levels.
Leptin is a hormone produced by fat tissue that essentially sends signals to your brain to tell you if you are hungry or full. Eating too much sugar can cause leptin resistance, which is when your brain cannot hear the signals given off by leptin, thus causing sugar binges and perpetuates the overconsumption of candy. Glucose is digested quickly and then your blood sugar level falls, resulting in lethargy and the dreaded sugar crash.
1. Nut Butter
Doesn’t nut butter have sugar as well? Yes, it does. It may seem counterintuitive to consume more sugar in rich nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter right after eating some sweets; however, the high protein and fat content help slow digestion. Instead of tumbling off a cliff from your sugar intake, think of nut butter like a parachute that floats you softly back to your norm.
Instead of lying on the couch to wait for your sugar-induced stupor, you can give your body a hand by moving around to burn off excess glucose. After you eat sweets, the glucose in your bloodstream is waiting for your cells to find a use for it. This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym right away; moving around to do chores or going on a short walk also helps take the glucose out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells. If left unused, the glucose will be stored as fat.
Don’t use exercise as a guilt-driven activity, but rather as a way to “earn” a Halloween candy. If you went for a good workout, give yourself that candy. Use candy as motivation if that works for you, not a demotivation tool. Don’t overindulge on the sweets and remember to fuel your body with the right nutrition by giving your muscles the protein that you need after a workout.
3. Don’t compound your sugar intake
Eating other foods high in sugar in union with Halloween candies can be a cause of a sugar high. You may have only eaten one or two sweets, but there are other factors that contribute to your blood glucose level. Knowing that you will have more chocolate and candies should nudge you away from sugary sodas. Pay attention to the labels on the food you eat and limit your intake of ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and molasses. This also means if you had candy before a meal, you should cut down on the carbs to limit sugar intake. Instead, replace it with more protein. If you mix yourself a smoothie, stick to veggie-rich ones and away from the fruity ones, as they are high in fructose.
4. Stay Hydrated
Think of your blood like five cubes of laundry detergent sitting in a washing machine. With a normal water level, it will take hours to wash the soap out, but with more water, the process is accelerated. Water helps wash out the sugar from your blood stream in accelerating its process through the kidneys.
After satisfying your sweet cravings, go for a cup of refreshing tea. Tea acts as a diuretic, which forces your blood to pump through your kidneys faster. Try something like Lorna’s Slim-T to potentially curb cravings in addition to staying hydrated. Consuming enough liquids is also important to contribute to the feeling of fullness and helps counteract leptin resistance.
5. Change your sugar consumption habits
This last tip is actually the first one that you should employ. Control of sugar highs and crashes start with how much sugar you consume. Practice moderation by limiting yourself to only one candy and resist the urge to reach for the next wrapper. Try to only consume these sugary treats only after you had a meal rich in protein and healthy fats to curb your yearning to continue snacking.