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Fatigue After Eating Sugar

Fatigue After Eating Sugar? Here's What All You Need to Know

Do you feel exhausted and tired every time you eat an ice cream or a muffin? Read the following article to find out the reasons behind your experience of tiredness after eating sugar.
Aastha Dogra
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
We all love sweets and often consume them to satisfy our taste buds. Some of us even get sugar cravings, which no other foods can satisfy. Sweets or any other high sugar content food item, for that matter, can alleviate our mood or so we think. In some people however, it has an adverse effect. Following are the causes, certain accompanying symptoms and preventive measures to be taken to alleviate the condition.
Underlying Causes
There is a myth associated with sugar that it provides instant energy to the body. The truth is that when a person consumes sugar, the blood sugar levels rise. The pancreas then produce insulin to maintain homeostasis or stable blood sugar levels in the body. This causes a sudden decrease in the blood sugar levels, making a person feel tired. Thus, fatigue after eating sugar is your body's natural response to the increased sugar level. Most of the time, it goes away on its own, once the blood sugar levels become normal again. To stop this tiredness after eating sweets, limit their intake to the maximum you can. Also, refrain from foods containing refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta and rice, among others. Eat a balanced diet and maintain a regularity in the meal timings. Avoid any drastic change in your diet like going on a crash diet or a liquid diet, so that the blood sugar levels are stable.
Imbalance of Serotonin
Serotonin is a chemical that transmits signals from one area of the brain to another. It influences brain cells related to a number of body functions like sleep, appetite and memory. When a person eats foods high in sugar, the natural response of the body initiates. The blood sugar levels rise and the pancreas releases more insulin into the blood to balance it. In some people, excessive insulin production takes place, causing a protein building block called tryptophan to proceed towards the brain. Tryptophan joins hydroxylase in the brain to form serotonin. An imbalance of serotonin can make the body seem worn out and sleepy after eating sweets. This is another reason behind tiredness after eating sugar.
Reactive Hypoglycemia
If the fatigue after eating is accompanied by other symptoms like heart palpitations, nervousness, dizziness, light-headedness, headaches, sweating, insomnia and panic attacks, you could be suffering from reactive hypoglycemia. This condition can occur in both diabetics and non-diabetics. When a reactive hypoglycemic consumes sweets or high sugar content foods, his pancreas produce and release excess insulin in the blood stream. This causes the blood sugar levels to fall rapidly, hence causing fatigue after eating sweets.
It is a state when a person's blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to qualify for Type 2 diabetes. Reason for your tiredness after eating sugar could be that you are in a prediabetes state. It occurs when the pancreas produce less insulin or when the body does not utilize insulin released by the pancreas properly. Take a home glucose test to confirm whether you are in the prediabetes range. Prediabetes can be cured by losing excess weight, refraining from sweets and carbohydrate rich foods. However, if it remains undiagnosed or is overlooked, it can cause Type 2 diabetes.
Accompanying Symptoms

Other symptoms that might accompany the feeling of tiredness after eating sugar or sugary foods would differ from person to person. Please note that a person might experience one or more of the given symptoms or sometimes none of them. Certain possible and commonly occurring ones have been enlisted below for your reference:
  • Difficulty in Concentration: Due to irritability, nervousness and confusion, people face difficulty in concentrating. One might feel that he/she is unable to perform, otherwise simple activities, properly. Furthermore, those who suffer from hypoglycemia may experience headache, shivering and weakness.
  • Stomach Problems: If someone has a weak digestive system, fatigue after eating high sugar content foods may lead to an irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Dizziness: This is the most common symptom that accompanies fatigue after the consumption of excessive amount of sugar.
Foods to Avoid

As mentioned in one of the above points, it is advisable to control sugar or carbohydrates' intake in order to manage your blood sugar levels. Take a look at the foods that should be avoided or consumed less frequently if you suffer from fatigue after eating sugar:
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Corn products (corn chips, cornbread, popcorn)
  • Foods with high carbohydrate content like pizza, pasta, potatoes (chips), etc. These foods also contain artificial sweeteners that make you feel dizzy because they are mistaken by the body as real sugar and starts reacting to it.
  • Milk and milk products
  • Confectionery items (cakes, chocolates, candies, cookies, pastries, etc.)
  • Fruits (banana, fig, grapes, orange, apricot, apple, pineapple, etc.)
Preventive Measures
  • The first and foremost thing is to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can be a leading cause of tired feeling after eating excessive sugar.
  • Herbs have the ability to reduce sugar craving and you can use herbs like fenugreek, stevia and gymnema.
  • One of the best remedies for almost any minor digestive illnesses is taking smaller and frequent meals. This will not put pressure on the body's digestive system for using too much energy for digestion.
  • Diet should include more fibrous foods and less carbohydrates rich foods.
  • Do not stop sugar intake all of a sudden as it will have adverse effects on the body. If you want to lower it, take gradual steps till your body gets used to this change.
  • A good exercise routine is also a good way to prevent fatigue experience after eating sugar.
If you experience fatigue after eating some sugar occasionally, then there is nothing to worry about, as it is something very common. However, if the tiredness after eating is frequent, shows severe symptoms and does not go away on its own, it is recommended that you get yourself thoroughly examined by a doctor and start a proper treatment. Take Care!
This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.