Geeta Sidhu-Robb is Founder and CEO of Nosh Detox – UK’s first home detox and weight-loss delivery service with clients including Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. For those suffering “sugar hangovers” after the holiday season, she offers a guide to beating the sugar overload and introducing healthy alternatives into your diet.
With the harsh reality of winter very much in fruition, it’s no secret that many of us opt to stay within the comforting confines of our four walls – often polishing off the remainder of our sugary Christmas exploits – instead of exercising in the (overly) fresh air! As TV binge-watching becomes the hobby of the month, so too does the temptation to binge on sugary snacks and drinks. This can often lead to what is known as a ‘sugar hangover’, an occurrence which takes place several hours after the sweet treat marathon.
What is a Sugar Hangover?
It is an unpleasant feeling of tiredness, headaches, brain fog and sickness. Although not officially recognised by the medical community, these issues are certainly commonplace in society and the symptoms are not too dissimilar to the effects of a hangover from alcohol. Excessive sugar consumption impacts hormones throughout your system and can ultimately unbalance the body. Although your pancreas is trying to correct the imbalance, it can often end up lowering the blood glucose which creates the after-effects. So, how can we combat the sugar hangover? The good news is that you can help reduce the effects with some simple changes which will help you recover should you fall into the sugar trap.
Ensure to Stay Hydrated
Sugar is very dehydrating on the body and will really overwork the liver if too much is consumed. Therefore, to avoid the maximum impact of such effects it is important to regularly have a glass of water throughout the day to flush out the toxins that are wreaking havoc on your system. In addition, as water fills you up, it will also help curb cravings and play a role in preventing you from reaching for that extra piece of confectionary. For the morning after, ensure to have a glass of water as soon as you get up or some warm lemon water to help alkalinise the body.
Get Yourself Moving
Lying down and feeling sorry for yourself is not going to make anything better. Although it can be too easy to fall asleep after eating a lot of sugar, it is important to break the habit and do some light exercise. This does not have to be an hour-long session of cardio, but instead, it should be something more relaxing and enjoyable. This can consist of doing a 15-minute yoga session or a brisk walk near home and it will make you feel more energised and fresher, rather than tired. Exercise helps balance the blood sugar by getting the blood pumping, allowing it to absorb glucose much easier. Such physical activity will also reload the brain with endorphins to make you feel more positive too, providing better focus and motivation.
Eat the Right Foods Throughout the Day
It is important to strike a balance and realise that we need to eat other foods to help lessen the impact that sugar will have. This is especially important if you know you are going to eat a lot of sugar in the day. Firstly, eliminate starchy foods as these will quickly turn to sugar in the body which will only add to the hangover. Instead, consume more fresh fruits and vegetables as these provide vital nutrients and vitamins. In addition, eating more protein will also be beneficial as it can help tame insulin secretion. Antioxidants like coffee, green tea, raspberries or blackberries will also help the body repair itself. Combined, these will contribute to helping make you feel more satisfied for longer and this means that you should keep stocked up on these to turn to them and avoid the pitfalls of cravings.
It is no secret that sugar helps dopamine levels increase considerably, which leaves us feeling good. However, this can be dangerous as it could encourage us to continue eating sweet treats, therefore it is important to identify other ways that can give us that feeling of pleasure without the need for a sugar binge. Fortunately, there are a wide range of sugar substitutes available, both natural and artificial, to help you reduce the amount of sucrose in your diet some of which are agave nectar, honey, molasses, apple sauce, coconut palm sugar and yacon sugar.
About the expert
Geeta Sidhu-Robb founded her company Nosh Detox a decade ago in 2008 having quit her job as a corporate lawyer to retrain as a nutritionist and raw chef in a bid to nurse her critically ill son suffering from severe food allergies, eczema, asthma and anaphylaxis as a child. In the face of adversity, Geeta overcame the odds to set up the UK’s first home detox delivery service in Nosh Detox and independently find a cure for her son, at a time when no medic was able to help, whilst also going through a divorce. From that moment, she fast learnt how to provide a nutritious, balanced and safe diet for her son and in turn, the whole country. Find out more at noshdetox.com