You know how drunk people stagger, lose coordination, and get mentally confused? Well, if you’d seen me earlier this week, you might have assumed I was sloshed on booze.
But I wasn’t recovering from alcohol overuse. Instead, recently, I had a horrible Sugar Hangover.
And I felt utterly a-w-f-u-l!
What irks and embarrasses me is that I ate sugar by mistake. Because I know better, it should have been easy for me to avoid.
For those of you who haven’t heard my story, I’ve been sugar-free since the spring of 1998, when I quit all sweets and processed carbohydrates on doctor’s orders.
As a result, all 44 of my baffling ailments vanished. They went poof! Nagging symptoms, such as horrid headaches, overwhelming dizziness, and unsettling anxiety disappeared. I was truly “reborn.”
Now, 17 years later, that’s why staying off sugar and quickie carbs is so important to me.
I feel awesome when I’m sugar-free. Eating cleanly makes me energetic, focused, and puts me at the top of my game.
But I feel horrible if I partake of any sweeteners.
Although I haven’t been totally perfect—I slipped a few times early on in my sugar sobriety—I’m always diligent about reading food labels and quizzing waiters so I can avoid all hidden sugars.
But, recently, I let my guard down and inadvertently ingested the sweet stuff.
Here’s what happened a few days ago, while I was at the movie theater.
How Hidden Sugars Nabbed Me
My accidental Sugar Poisoning was my own darn fault.
I know how important it is to always, always, always read food labels very, very, very carefully, —even if a food is allegedly “healthy.” That way I can identity any hidden sugars.
By hidden sugars, I don’t just mean sucrose or brown sugar. I also mean honey, agave nectar, barley malt, coconut sugar, inulin, evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, maltodextrin, monk fruit, eand so on
It doesn’t even matter if these sweeteners are organic.
Sugar is sugar. And they all do me in.
Here’s how I made my mistake.
Recently, at the health food store, I discovered a wonderful new snack. One version, which I love, has No Sugar Added. But another flavor contains cane sugar.
A couple of weeks ago, I accidentally bough the sweetened version. After one bite of the ultra-sweet item, I immediately tossed it out.
But then, last week, I went into another store and made the same mistake again because it was a smaller package, and I misunderstood the label. More like, I didn’t turn it over to see the ingredients list.
Hungry, I sunk into my theatre seat and began munching
In all, I consumed 4.25 teaspoons of sugar—enough sweet stuff to plunge me into a sugar stupor.
In short, earlier this week, I was reeling from Sugar Shock.
Incidentally, Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, says 4 teaspoons of sugar can throw your body out of balance.
Clearly, after eating so cleanly for 17 years, I’m probably more sensitive than most. Plus I also have had hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, and to feel better, it’s imperative to stay sugar free.
To make a long story short, I suffered through three to four days of a nasty Sugar Hangover. These were my current symptoms:
- Staggering like I’m a dunk.
- Being mentally confused. (For instance, the day after my Accidental Sugar Overdose, I drove all the way to the computer store but then forgot to buy another item I needed.)
- Massive vertigo. Darn, the room just wouldn’t stop spinning for four days.
- Utter exhaustion. All I could do was dragg myself around.
- Being wired, then tired and back again. (Too many sweets can wreak havoc with your energy levels. The first night after my Accidental Sugar Overdose, I slipped into oblivion for about four hours. Then, in the middle of the night, I awoke and became jumpy, edgy, and ramped up. It took lots of meditating and muscle relaxing to help me get back to sleep. For three more night, I then felt so drained that I had to crawl into between 5 and 7 pm. After watching some TV, I then konked out around 7 pm. Admittedly, I was on East Coast time after a recent visit there from the West Coast.)
- I just didn’t feel “right” and I couldn’t think straight.
- Lethargic, drained and sluggish. (Where did the energetic Connie go?)
- Working out was a big challenge, because I just don’t have my normal energy to do high-intensity bursting or lift weights.
- Stamina. Didn’t have any.
- Unmotivated and not as goal-oriented as usual. It’s hard enough to get through the day.
Over the years, I’ve learned a number of strategies to bounce back after mistakenly ingesting sugar. These 16 Ways to Recover from a Sugar Overdose are my secret “feel better” weapons. They can help you, too, whether your sugar overdose was accidental or intentional.
- Go to bed early.
- Nap. A lot if need be.
- Drink lots of water. Aim for two liters a day.
- Eat a protein-rich meal or drink a protein shake every three hours.
- Get plenty of fiber (from chia, flax or vegetables).
- Drink some green juice. (Just make sure it’s either fresh or a no-sugar blend, because some bottled green juices have 20, 25 or even 53 g of sugar per serving.)
- Take a good multivitamin.
- Meditate once or twice a day.
- Work out as much as you can. (But bear in mind that on the first two days after Accidental Sugar Overdosing, you probably won’t have enough energy to exercise rigorously.)
- Enjoy a lot of down time, especially in nature. Just “do nothing” such as meander in a park, by the ocean, or in your neighborhood, if it’s safe.
- Don’t tackle or commit to anything too challenging. (That means don’t have an important conversation with your honey or boss.)
- Take ample Vitamin C, suggests my friend, Roberta Ruggiero, founder of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation.
- Consider ingesting a probiotic and a liver health supplement formula. (So suggested a nutritional consultant.)
- Be kind to yourself. That means you may want to hug and comfort yourself. Wrap your arms around your precious body, and reassure yourself that soon, you’ll feel better again.
- Don’t use your relapse—whether intentional or not—as an excuse to overdose on sugar again. You’ll only feel worse.
- Remind yourself that soon, you’ll feel better again. When you eat healthily, you’ll become vibrant, energetic, and focused.
Now that I’ve recovered from my Sugar Poisoning, I’m concerned about all of you eating lots of sugar.
If my Accidental Sugar Overdose can make me feel so awful, what could a lifetime of eating too many sweets do to your poor body? If you struggle with sugar, consider the following:
- How unsafe is sugar if even a little bit can so throw a person out of whack?
- Have you ever suffered from a Sugar Hangover?
- What were your ailments?
- What has your Sugar Hangover made you realize?
- Have you concluded, as I have, that the awesome taste just isn’t worth it?
Share your thoughts now. I look forward to having a Sugar Hangover conversation with you.