Did you let yourself indulge in Halloween candy this year? Feeling the after effects? Whether you’ve been grazing on candy corns all month long or saved yourself for a one-night binge, there are some things you can do to counteract the impact of sugar overload. Here are five ways to reduce sugar cravings and recover quickly from those extra-sweet moments.
Throw out any leftovers
Don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s economically sensible to save leftover Halloween candy for next year. If you let it stick around, it won’t make it to next year. Avoid the temptation by throwing out any candy that didn’t make it into the bags of trick-or-treaters. Same goes for any leftover restaurant desserts or birthday cake. If you really want to reduce your sugar intake and recover from a binge, into the trash it goes.
When you eat a lot of sugar, your body has to figure out how to process it. One way it does this is by filtering excess glucose through the kidneys, which you get rid of through urination. You can help speed the flushing of your kidneys by drinking a lot of water. The more you drink, the more you pee, which means faster recovery from all those mini Snickers bars.
Keep nuts around
If you’ve been spending a lot of time around sugar, you know that it gives you an initial boost followed by a dip in energy. When you dip, you may feel fatigued, lethargic or mentally foggy—and hungry. This is because candy and other artificial sweets have almost no nutrients, so you digest them quickly without feeling satiated. To prevent this, when you crave sweets, try eating a handful of nuts, or a spoonful of peanut or almond butter. The fat and protein in nuts will hold you longer than sugar, and you’ll avoid the inevitable crash. If you find yourself really needing a sweet bite after a meal, reach for some berries or dried figs instead of candy or other processed sugars.
Too much sugar can throw off the bacterial balance throughout your body. This can cause digestive issues, yeast infections and lower immunity, among other issues. To help keep things in check after you’ve eaten a lot of sugar, start a regimen of probiotics. While you’re doing this, it’s a good idea to go as sugar-light as possible—yeast, for example, feeds on sugars, so you’ll be counteracting the benefits of the probiotics if you’re sneaking cookies.
Give up on perfect
Taking steps to reduce your sugar consumption or reverse a binge doesn’t mean that you can never have it again. If you find yourself in front of an amazing fresh-fruit pie or a bar of extra-dark chocolate, let yourself have it. Moderate sugar intake isn’t going to make or break your health goals. If anything, putting too much energy into resisting your cravings can amplify them. Do your best and accept that it doesn’t need to be perfect.