We've all been there: a single cookie that turns into two or three, a few too many pieces of sweets (we're looking at you, Diwali-ready shelves!), or just an extra- helping of kheer. Whatever you've eaten, you likely recognise one of the many unpleasant symptoms of sugar overload, whether it's a queasy stomach, exhaustion, a headache, or just feeling generally less than tiptop.
Of course, we always recommend trying to eat as intuitively as possible in the first place. Tune in to your body's needs, and eat as mindfully as possible (read: scarfing down anything while watching TV or scrolling Instagram isn't doing you any favours). For more on mindful eating, check out this post. We also recognise, though, that no one can be perfect all the time, and for those less-than-ideal moments, it's best to beamed with a plan of action.
Make your next meal super blood-sugar-balancing.
A qualified dietitian recommends making sure your next meal helps stabilize your blood sugar. "Think protein, fiber, and healthy fat. This trio of nutrients will help slow the rate at which nutrients enter the bloodstream, stabilizing your blood sugar curve and activating hormones that satiate your appetite." She recommends making sure your plate is filled with at least half colourful veggies, with 20 grams of protein (she loves high-fiber plant proteins like raw pumpkin seeds or lentils). For good fat, the dietitian loves avocado. "You could also make a beautiful chickpea scramble or a smoothie with plenty of greens, a good plant-based protein powder, and hemp ," she says.
Load up on fiber and water
Fiber and water might be the magic combo to help with the bloating that comes with excess sugar intake. The combination of fiber and water helps to flush out our system, which can mitigate those feelings. It also keeps us feeling full, which curbs hunger and gives us better control over our eating the following day. Recommending starting your day with a high-fiber carbohydrate at breakfast— likes hot raagi porridge or Whole Grain Khakhras—and aiming to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. "After a week of this, your system should feel flushed out, and your taste buds will be recalibrated so the cycle of sweet cravings will be broken," Dr. Shradha says
Load up on bitter greens.
"You feel pretty nauseous and sick to your stomach"; bitter greens—an ancient digestive aid—are a great balm for too much sweet. Make a bitter green smoothie that contains half a cup of corriander leaves, a couple of stalks of celery, some cucumber, and 1 inch of grated ginger. "I also like to include a slice of lemon, with the peel, as the acid will settle your stomach further, and it really brightens the taste of so many greens," Dr. Shradha says.
Focus on inflammation-fighting foods.
One of the primary reasons too much sugar can make you feel unwell is that it spikes your blood sugar, and thus tends to create inflammation in your body. "To help ameliorate the damage, make sure you pile your plate with anti-inflammatory all-stars at your next couple of meals," recommends dietitian. "Feast on cruciferous veg like kale,Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower; add plenty of turmeric and ginger to your meals or drinks; include a couple of servings of omega-3-rich seeds such as ground flax or hemp.”
Even better? Berries are packed with anti-inflammatory flavonoids and perfect for satisfying any residual sugar desires," says Dr. Shradha Sodhani-Agarwala.
Think about a long-term plan.
Sometimes, sugar cravings can signify other health imbalances that should be addressed. For the best sugar success, talk to your qualified dietitian about some vitamin and mineral deficiencies you might have that can be causing sugar cravings.
It is recommended doing a full panel so you can fill in the gaps on any nutrients you might be lacking. "I also have had a ton of success with supplementing glutamine, and glutathione specifically, for sugar cravings," Dr. Shradha says. "Glutamine is an amino acid that I've found to help reduce sugar cravings. It's a precursor to glutathione, which means it helps your body create it. Glutathione is our master antioxidant that aids in natural detoxification and reduces inflammation, which can help minimize the negative impact of sugar." Of course, you should talk to your doctor or dietitian before adding anything to your routine, but bringing up the supplement with them is a great place to start.