HCA East Florida - October 15, 2020

You've heard it a million times.

Consuming too much sugar at once isn't good for you. But what exactly does sugar do to your body when you eat lots of Halloween snack-size treats in a single sitting?

1 minute

In the first minute, sugar and bacteria in your mouth mix to form an acid, attacking tooth enamel.

15 to 30 minutes

Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Your pancreas releases insulin and converts what it can into energy.

Your brain releases dopamine, creating a happy or satisfied feeling, which your body will want more of.

Excess sugar is sent to your liver to be stored as fat.

Your body interprets the significant rise in sugar and energy as the result of stress, releasing regulating hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine – which cause your heart rate to increase. Your blood pressure may rise, and you may start sweating. 

30 to 45 minutes

Your sugar high peaks – and crashes.

Previously released insulin and stress hormones now cause a dramatic drop in blood sugar, leaving you with a headache and feeling sluggish or irritable. 

The sugar in your stomach continues to expand, causing pain and flatulence.

45 minutes

Quickly rising and falling hormone levels render your immune system temporarily disabled and less able to deal with harmful infections.

This can last for up to five hours.

How to combat the crash

Eat

Have a spoonful of peanut butter (not a peanut butter cup), hummus and veggies, or even a handful of nuts. The protein can slow digestion, moderating the absorption of simple sugars.

Let your muscles use the sugar with a walk around the block or a jog up and down a flight of stairs.

Plan

Break the cycle by prepping tomorrow's breakfast: high in protein, moderate in fat, low in carbs, like an omelet with whole-grain toast and avocado. Balance is key to a healthy diet!

Reset

Your brain will soon crave another dopamine rush, so be mindful of your intake or share it with friends if you are too tempted with it around.

Forgive

It takes about 3,500 calories to gain a pound of fat - the equivalent of 44 mini candy bars - far more than a typical Halloween candy overload.

Don't let Halloween undo your healthy choices. Enjoy a few of your favorite treats, spread out over the day, and enjoy the holiday celebration!

Are you concerned about your health? Find your
closest hospital or a qualified physician to help.