Updated: Mar 2
Majority of the world knows, that consuming sugar is bad news. But unless you live in a beautiful vegan retreat centre somewhere in Southern Spain or cook your own meals from scratch and barely have any interaction with the outside world, you will not be able to avoid sugar in your daily life.
Of course, there’s sugar in cakes, biscuits and sweets, but sugar also creeps into other foods that you might not be aware of. Check the label of your favourite stir fry sauce, crackers and even some brands of hummus. Yes, really.
Today it’s easier than ever to become a sugar addict without your consent. A few days of hitting maximum daily intake will leave your body wired on sugar, your brain ready for a next ‘hit’ and your body in havoc.
But do you know how to determine if your body is crying out for help? These are the subtle signs that you need a break from sugar.
You need something sweet after each meal
It seems like an impossible task to resist having a dessert or something sweet to finish a meal. Your body and brain are ready for the next hit of sugar and so, no meal is complete without a bit of sweetness, whether it’s chocolate, cake or simply fruit.
If you often struggle to fall asleep, experience insomnia or wake up 3-4 am, your blood sugar balance might be out of whack. Although it could also depend on your caffeine consumption and other factors, excess sugar is often one of the main reason’s way.
Heavy periods and PMS
Sugar affects your blood sugar balance, cortisol and adrenaline levels and it contributes towards hormone dysregulation. This can result in heavy and painful bleeds, increased cravings for sugar and increased hunger around PMS, as well as excess bloating.
Some call it a ‘sweet tooth’, but if the need to have sugar overtakes you on autopilot, know that you’re not in charge anymore. Watch out for unusual cravings for processed foods, flour and fried foods as these hit dopamine receptors, just like sugar does.
If your moods swing from ecstatic to snappy and irritable within 5 minutes, your body may be out of balance due to sugar consumption. Although people around might thing you got out of bed on the wrong foot, your body may be cruising the waves of blood sugar and showing signs of sugar withdrawals.
4 pm slump
Does your energy fluctuate through the day? Do you feel it skyrocketing and plummeting? If your blood sugar is out of balance, you may be experiencing a pronounced dip in energy in the afternoon.
Fungal infections and frequent thrush
Excess sugar consumption is often linked to overgrowth of candida, an opportunistic yeast. Although it’s tricky to see what is happening inside the gut without functional testing, you might notice signs of frequent fungal infections in your nails, experience thrush or frequent urinary tract infections.
Does your hunger hit you like a ton of bricks, unexpectedly? A sign that your blood sugar balance is slightly off is the hunger that comes out of the blue, accompanied by the shakes, low moods and tunnel vision.
Poor focus and memory
Although insulin is crucial to blood sugar regulation, excess insulin is also proven to cross the blood-brain barrier in the brain, disrupt learning and cause memory loss.
Frequent colds and flus
Consistently consuming excess sugar can suppress the immune system and lower body’s defenses. If you’re a regular at a GP’s surgery- this might be a sign to go easy on the sweet stuff.
You experience anxiety and high stress
Sugar is directly linked to increased cortisol and adrenaline levels (hormones, that contribute towards higher stress in the body and ‘fight or flight’ mode). If you find yourself stressing about the smallest of things and experiencing palpitations, sugar might be the answer.
You can’t sit still
In the society that sees ‘being busy’ as a virtue, unable to sit still might seem like a good thing, something to be proud of. Yet everything in nature moves in cycles of action and rest, so if you find yourself unable to sit even for 5 min, it might be much more than just ‘the way you are’.
Sugar hits dopamine receptors (and so do hard drugs), that are responsible for reward and motivation. If you feel your motivation is low and need for sugar is high- your brain chemistry might have been hijacked by sugar.
You experience bloating
If bloating, IBS-like symptoms and gas has become ‘the norm’, this might also be linked to candida overgrowth.
Technology and social media addiction
Surprisingly, being addicted to technology and social media checking might be another sign that your body could do with a break from sugar. Technology and social media also hit dopamine receptors, creating a fake sense of reward and achievement.