It’s 3 pm. Your stomach is growling. You are getting sleepy. Maybe even a little grumpy. You’re ravenous. You’re craving something sweet, maybe a coffee. You may reach for something quick, something sweet that hits the spot. Maybe some cake from the freezer (pictured above). And maybe your body is so tired that you can’t even lift your head to eat said cake. And maybe the cake is still frozen. Oh hi, low blood sugar!
I can’t tell you how many people tell me that they experience this very thing between 2 and 4pm. It truly is the blood sugar witching hour. Walk around your office and notice your colleagues in the kitchen, making a cup of tea, scavenging for something to eat, chasing the tray of leftover sandwiches from the lunch meeting. Or go outside and see the lineup at Starbucks. People lined up looking for something, anything, to pull them up from the low energy slump (sugary and caffeinated, with whipped cream on top!). You’re not alone.
I used to be this witch. Back when I worked in marketing, 4 pm was a baaad time for me. I’d look for something, anything to give me a burst of energy, feed my growling tummy and keep me focused on work.
Here’s me trying to get an energy boost with a headstand, which only provided a temporary fix. Once I was back to my desk, I’d crave sugar again, FYI. What I didn’t know was that controlling my blood sugar was the ticket to increased energy, alertness, and feeling awesome.
Why we love sugar…
We’re attracted to sweet foods. Breast milk, our first taste of food in the outside world, is sweet. And our ancestors learned to detect poison in foods based on their taste. Sweet foods were nearly always safe.
Carbohydrates are nearly always a little sweet. The problem is that we’ve refined our carbohydrates and have extracted the sweetness from foods into concentrated sweeteners. We simply love the taste so much!
The first step to halting your Blood Sugar Witching Hour is understanding which foods unleash your inner Blood Sugar Witch.
When we eat foods that are high on the Glycemic Index (which are typically foods that are high in sugar and low in dietary fibre and protein), we experience a SURGE of energy. Only to be right back where we started when our blood sugar inevitably drops again. Think of a line graph with many high peaks and low valleys. This is your blood sugar (and consequently your energy level) when you eat foods that are high on the Glycemic Index.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index measures the rate at which a food spikes blood sugar. Topping the list: baked potatoes, French fries, bread and bread products. And most foods with added sugar. And, I’m sorry to say, beer. These are the foods that will have the greatest effect on your blood sugar, and as a result, your energy and overall feelings of awesomeness.
Check back next week for tips for keeping your Blood Sugar Witch (BSW) in check. Until then, tell me, what does your witching hour look like and what do you do to keep your energy up and your BSW at bay?!
Wishing you balanced blood sugar and boundless energy.