You drink a flavored latte. One moment you’re wired; the next, you’re making a beeline to the couch. What gives? You’ve just downed too much sugar. Your body goes on a physical and emotional roller coaster after having too much of the sweet stuff. “The minute you put a sweet in your mouth, you get a surge of dopamine, a feel-good hormone with addictive properties,” says Amanda Bontempo, RD, a nutritionist at NYU Langone’s Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center. But the high doesn’t last.
Step 1: Realize what’s going on
As sugar floods your bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin to control blood glucose levels. This suppresses the “fullness” hormone leptin, which makes your brain give you the green light to grab more candy. Glucose is rapidly digested, and your spiked dopamine and blood sugar levels fall quickly. “The crash depends on the person. It can be 15 minutes to a couple of hours after eating,” says Bontempo. “Your instinct is to eat more sugar to get another jolt of energy, but it’s really important to resist. Once your willpower bank is tapped, it becomes increasingly challenging to make healthy choices.” Here are more scary things sugar can do to your body.