Sugar high. Seven years old Lily, had a sweet tooth like no other. Lily adored sugary treats – from lollipops and chocolates to gummy bears and ice cream, she could not resist their tempting allure.

One sunny day, Lily stumbled upon the most famous candy factory in her town, Sweet Delights. The factory was renowned for its extravagant creations and mouthwatering confections. Lily’s eyes widened with excitement as she entered the magical world of candy-making.

Inside the factory, Lily met Mr. Sweetman, the master candy maker. He showed her the fascinating process of crafting delicious candies from scratch. She watched in awe as he mixed ingredients, boiled sugar syrup, and carefully shaped the candy into various shapes and sizes.

Aware of Lily’s fascination, Sweetman offered her a taste of one of his newly created treats – a rainbow-colored lollipop coated with sparkling sugar crystals. Eagerly, Lily took a bite and savored the explosion of sweetness on her taste buds. The sugar rush surged through her body, filling her with an exhilarating burst of energy.

With her newfound energy, Lily couldn’t sit still. She started bouncing around the candy factory, laughing and giggling uncontrollably. She felt like she could fly, as if she had discovered the secret to unlimited joy.

However, as the hours ticked by, Lily’s sugar high started to take a toll. The initial rush of energy waned, leaving her tired and irritable. A feeling of fatigue and restlessness replaced her once happy and energetic demeanor. It took a few hours for her to return to her usual behavior. 

She understood that while sugary treats may bring temporary pleasure, they can also leave you drained and out of balance. 

Lily’s story is a classic example of “Sugar High”. A “sugar high” is commonly used to describe the increased energy or euphoria some people experience after consuming high amounts of sugar. This is because of the increased glucose levels in the bloodstream, which can cause a spike in insulin production. This temporary surge of insulin can lead to a short-term burst of energy and an elevated mood, but a crash in energy levels often follows it as blood sugar levels drop back down. This phenomenon happens because the body releases insulin to stabilize blood sugar levels, leading to a drop in energy levels and causing feelings of lethargy. This process results in the so-called “sugar crash.”

Lily’s perspective on sweets has shifted now. She still enjoys the occasional treat but has learned to indulge in moderation and make healthier choices. She discovered a love for fruits and found that their natural sweetness provided a longer-lasting energy boost without the crash that follows a sugar high. 

 According to pediatric Dr. Sarah Smith, “When sugar is consumed in moderation (such as in fruits and vegetables), the body can process it without causing significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels. However, consuming large amounts of refined sugar (such as in candy, soft drinks, and desserts) can lead to an excessive intake of calories, damage to dental health, and an increased risk of developing conditions such asobesity and type 2 diabetes. However, everybody responds to sugar differently, and not every person will experience a sugar high after consuming excess sugar.” 

Some people may feel a temporary surge of energy after consuming sugary foods, while others may not experience the same effect. Factors such as metabolism, overall diet, and individual sensitivity to sugar can influence these responses.

Nevertheless, experts often draw attention to the fact that consuming sugar in moderation is not necessarily harmful. Still, it is essential to maintain a balanced and healthy diet to ensure proper nutrition and avoid the adverse effects of excessive sugar consumption. 

What is a sugar crash?

Also known as a sugar low, a sugar crash refers to the sudden drop in blood sugar levels after consuming excess sugary foods and beverages. The condition develops when the body releases a large amount of insulin in response to an abnormal increase in blood glucose. That is why Lily experiences sudden fatigue after an episode of euphoria.  

The symptoms of a sugar crash are:

  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Shakiness
  • Concentration problems
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 

A sugar crash is not exclusive to diabetes patients. However, it can occur frequently to them. In addition, people who consume large amounts of sugar can experience a rapid rise and fall in their blood sugar levels. 

What are some ways you can do when a sugar crash occurs? 

When a sugar crash occurs, there are several steps you can take to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. These are as follows:

  • Choose a balanced snack that includes a mix of complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. This combination helps slow down sugar absorption and provides a more sustained energy source.
  • Refrain from eating more sugary foods or beverages, as they can lead to another spike and subsequent crash in blood sugar levels.
  • Drink water to stay hydrated, as dehydration can worsen feelings of fatigue and dizziness.
  • If possible, rest and relax. Stress and exhaustion can exacerbate the effects of a sugar crash.
  • If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels to ensure they are not dangerously low. If you experience frequent sugar crashes, discuss the issue with your healthcare professional to adjust your treatment plan if necessary.
  • Prevent future sugar crashes by maintaining a balanced diet, eating regular meals and snacks, and avoiding excessive consumption of sugary foods and beverages.

What is the connection between sugar high and diabetes? 

The connection between a sugar and diabetes is related to how the body regulates blood sugar and how consuming sugary foods can affect this regulation.

Here’s how the process works: when someone consumes food rich in carbohydrates, the body converts those carbs into glucose, which then enters the bloodstream. In response to the increased blood sugar levels, the pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that helps transport glucose into the body’s cells for energy use and storage.

However, in people with diabetes, this process becomes impaired, and there are different types of diabetes, including type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

While the concept of a “sugar high” cannot be directly associated with diabetes, it is important to note that scientific studies do not support a direct causal relationship. In people with diabetes, fluctuations in blood sugar levels can lead to symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue or lethargy. Therefore, individuals with diabetes must monitor their blood sugar levels and follow a treatment plan that suits their needs.

Managing blood sugar levels effectively is essential for individuals with diabetes to prevent complications and maintain overall health. This often involves a combination of medication, dietary choices, regular physical activity, and ongoing monitoring of blood sugar levels.

Does it real?

The concept of a “sugar high” has been debated and controversial. Some people claim that consuming sugar can temporarily increase energy levels and hyperactivity, while others argue that the idea of a sugar high is a myth.

Scientists across various institutions have conducted studies and research that consistently fail to establish a scientific connection between sugar and hyperactivity.

A double-blind, controlled study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1994 concluded that sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children. Similarly, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) combined data from 23 experiments. They found no scientific evidence to support the idea that sugar increases hyperactivity in most children. Medical News Today also highlights that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that sugar increases hyperactivity in children for most cases. Furthermore, another study conducted at Yale University found that a large amount of sugar consumption for breakfast led to a deterioration of attention span, compared to having no breakfast or consuming whole grain cereal.

These findings suggest that it may be more of a cultural belief than a scientifically established phenomenon. 

The controversy surrounding the concept of a sugar high highlights the complexity of the relationship between sugar and energy levels. While excess sugar consumption is linked to various adverse health effects, including an increased risk of obesity and diabetes, the immediate impact of sugar on energy levels is not universally agreed upon. It’s worth noting that the concept of a sugar high differs from conditions like hyperglycemia, a medical term used to describe abnormally high blood sugar levels often associated with diabetes. If you have concerns about sugar intake or its impact on your health, consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.