Yes, It’s Possible To Have A ‘Sugar Hangover'

January 2017

If you inhaled Halloween candy last night and feelless than your best this morning, you may be wondering: Are sugar hangovers athing?

Of course, they aren’t in a literal sense ? real hangovers involve drinking toomuch alcohol. But a sugar crash can certainly have shades of a hangover:including symptoms such as brain fog, irritability, headache and fatigue.

“Sugar hangovers are real in that you feel lousyafter consuming a hefty dose of sugar,” Kim Larson, a registered dietitiannutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics toldThe Huffington Post.

Initially, refined sugars increase your endorphinsand make you feel good. “Then our blood sugars drop and we can become cranky,irritable and tired,” Larson said. 

One sugar binge and crash is no big deal, butregularly consuming excess sugar can take a toll on health over time. Inaddition to weight gain, an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, regularly eatingtoo much sugar can actually change your brain. 

Too much sugar too often and you run the risk ofcreating sugar habit, although Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy atthe University of California at San Francisco stops short of calling that habitan addiction.

“We don’t have specific research on hangovers, but wehave pretty good evidence on withdrawal and cravings with sugar,” Schmidtsaid. “You can, in large quantities over time, change the reward system inyour brain. That’s something to think about.”

Sugar elevates dopamine levels ? the pleasure part ofthe brain ? and if outside dopamine regularly floods into the system, overtime, the brain thinks it can make less of its own dopamine. If that outside sugar source is cut off, that’s wherecravings kick in.

“The brain is saying, ‘Hey, where’s the dopamine?’”Schmidt told HuffPost. 

Cravings may be more intense for some people thanothers. A small study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2014took brain scans of 23 children while they tasted sugar. The brains of obesechildren in the study lit up differently thanthe brains of kids of average weight, indicating that they wereexperiencing an enhanced response to, and a greater psychological reward from,the sugar. 

The best way to avoid those short- and long-termsugar effects? Limit how much you indulge in food with added sugars, such assugary drinks, candy, cookies and desserts. 

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend ahard limit on added sugar, saying it should make up no more than 10 percent of your dailycalories.

“Eating sugar daily isn’t something most people needto do,” Larson said.



November, 2017

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