Why Do I Get So Tired After Eating Sweets?

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Many people feel so tired after eating cake or cookies they have to lie down. That's because sugar wreaks havoc on your metabolism, quickly raising your blood glucose (sugar) levels and, in turn, forcing your pancreas to release insulin. The insulin then lowers your blood sugar levels quickly, which makes you feel tired.

Candy and other sweets raise your blood sugar levels quickly.
Candy and other sweets raise your blood sugar levels quickly.

What Makes Food Sweet

Anything that tastes sweet has either sugar (a type of carbohydrate) or synthetic sweeteners in it. These substances interact with taste receptors on your tongue, communicating the sweetness to your brain.

Something that tastes sugar or an artificial carbohydrate in it.
Something that tastes sugar or an artificial carbohydrate in it.

Causes

If you consistently get tired after eating high-carbohydrate foods--not just sweets but also pasta, potatoes and other foods that are metabolized into glucose (sugar) by your digestive system--your body is probably having trouble keeping your blood sugar levels even.

If you get tired after eating food that has artificial sweeteners in it, your body, thinking it is about to get a lot of sugar, might be increasing your level of insulin, which makes you hungry and lowers your blood-sugar levels, making you tired.

If you get tired after eating high carb foods your body is probably having trouble keeping your blood sugar even.
If you get tired after eating high carb foods your body is probably having trouble keeping your blood sugar even.

Effects of Food on Blood Sugar

When you eat, your body converts the food into glucose. This raises your "blood sugar" levels (the amount of glucose in your system). In response, your pancreas releases insulin to help your cells keep their glucose levels within a safe range.

When you eat, your body converts the food into glucose.
When you eat, your body converts the food into glucose.

Glycemic Index

Foods that greatly and rapidly raise your blood sugar levels--such as sugary sweets, white bread, pasta, corn and white potatoes--are said to be high on the "glycemic index." They make your blood sugar levels "spike." Foods that raise your blood sugar level less or more slowly, such as whole grains, vegetables and proteins are low on the glycemic index.

White potatoes are high glycemic index foods.
White potatoes are high glycemic index foods.

Prevention/Solution

You can prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels by sticking to a diet consisting mainly of low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic foods such as fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid foods with sugar and artificial sweeteners, both of which can cause quick changes in your insulin levels.

Stick to low glycemic index foods if you've got blood sugar level problems.
Stick to low glycemic index foods if you've got blood sugar level problems.

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