It’s normal to experience a mid-day slump, but that tired feeling can get particularly troublesome when your body is sensitive to certain foods. Reactive hypoglycemia — more commonly known as a “sugar crash”— happens when your blood sugar spikes higher than it should, most commonly a few hours after a carb-loaded meal. Anxiety, lack of focus, a down-turn in mood, and sleepiness can all be a sign that your blood sugar is out of whack.
People with diabetes are most at risk for hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, but blood sugar fluctuations can absolutely affect anyone. Whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be helpful to monitor your blood sugar to understand what your body reacts to most.
If you’re new to this easy habit, know that it’s common to record your blood sugar reading first thing in the morning, before you’ve eaten, and then again two hours after eating. With even just a few days of recorded information, you and your doctor will be much better-equipped to notice and understand the triggers for your blood sugar spikes.
Common culprits include:
- Fruits. Healthy, but fructose can still raise blood sugar. Whenever possible, pick fresh fruits over jams and jellies which tend to have even more sugar added in the process.
- Sugar drinks like juice and soda. Don’t forget — drinks cause spikes too. Skip the pump of caramel flavor on your next latte, and enjoy a sugar-free sparkling water when a craving for something bubbly strikes.
- Carbohydrates. Carbs are a common problem because they break down into glucose and impact our blood sugar very quickly. Avoiding sweets like cookies is obvious to most, but bread, pasta, and rice are also triggers.
- Dehydration. Falling short on fluids can lead to a blood glucose spike, as the sugar in your circulation becomes more concentrated.
- Alcohol. Alcohol raises blood sugar immediately, especially when mixed with juice or soda, but can also cause low blood sugar hours later. No matter how you slice it, drinking won’t help you get over your slump.
Once you’ve narrowed down the foods your body reacts most to by measuring blood sugar more consistently, it’s easy to develop a plan or work with a nutritionist to determine which foods to cut from your diet altogether.