SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If you have a sweet tooth, you may be familiar with the feeling that comes shortly after having something sweet.
Sugar crashes can cause low energy levels, and according to experts even anxiety.
Brenda Lynch is a month into a big diet change. With the help of registered dietitian Tiffany Krogstad she’s embarking on a more plant based diet, and that includes cutting down on her sugar intake.
“I’ve gotten to the point now where like I do, sugar does affect me if I have too much, it’s like I don’t feel as well as I did if I’m eating something a lot more natural,” Lynch said.
She’s substituting added sugar for more natural options now, like all-natural maple syrup in her coffee. While that’s a positive swap, Krogstad says it’s important to remember even naturally occurring sugar should be consumed in moderation.
“A sugar crash can come from anything that has carbohydrates in it. So let’s say somebody ate even an abundance fruit, that can spike your blood sugar and even drop it,” Krogstad said.
She says women and children should consume no more than 26 grams of sugar per day, and men should have no more than 36 grams.
“The symptoms that you can experience after having a sugar crash would be decreased energy, anxiety, fatigue, and for diabetics those symptoms can even be more severe into like a coma, loss of consciousness, a seizure,” Krogstad said.
Fortunately, you don’t have to say goodbye to sweets altogether. To avoid the crash she says always pair a carbohydrate with a fat or protein.
“If you’re just consuming a carbohydrate food that’s going to spike the blood sugar and then bring it down. But if you have that carbohydrate paired with that protein or fat that’s going to help stabilize the blood sugar, and that actually keeps you more satisfied throughout the day,” Krogstad said.
And cutting down on sugar isn’t easy. Experts say overtime it can even become addicting.
“Let’s say you just have one cookie, and then it leads to another cookie, and it leads to another cookie. Let’s say you do that every night, that leads to addictive behavior and it’s really hard to break that cycle,” Krogstad said.
“You know I wish I had learned much sooner to pay attention to you know, children’s nutrition and to family nutrition, maybe sooner than I did,” Lynch said.
For a list of substitutes for sugar in your kitchen, click here.