Sugar withdrawal symptoms (and what to do about them)

When we’re cutting back on sugar, our bodies can sometimes go a little haywire at first. Scientists reckon this is because sugar has such a profound effect on our physiology and behaviour (read more about sugar withdrawal and addition here -

How our body reacts to giving up sugar is different for everyone. The symptoms can vary depending on how much added sugar we were eating and how often, and how we’re generally made up. 

While the symptoms can muck us about, take comfort in the fact that most of them are pretty normal and only temporary. Here are some of the most common sugar withdrawal symptoms to look out for, and what you can do about them. 

You might feel… a nasty headache 

You can… keep your fluids up, and treat with paracetamol if it’s messing with your ability to function like a human.

You might feel… serious sugar cravings
You can… make sure you’re fuelling your body with plenty of healthy fats, proteins and veggies to keep the hunger at bay.

You might feel… muscle aches

You can… take a hot shower, or better yet, a hot bath with some magnesium salts.

You might feel…. a lack of energy

You can… move your body throughout the day, and get plenty of rest.

You might feel… nauseous and bloated 

You can… stick to simple, comforting and nourishing foods, sip on a peppermint tea and lay off the booze.

You might feel… brain fog 

You can… take it easy on yourself, get moving, and make sure you’re getting plenty of down time

You might feel… like you want to kill everyone 

You can… try meditation, take a long walk, or take time to do the things you like to do

You might feel… depressed or anxious 

You can… if you haven’t suffered from mental health issues before, this is probably just a lack of dopamine and will settle in a few days. But never feel hesitant to reach out to a friend or therapist for support, especially if mental health is something you’ve dealt with in the past. 

Ultimately, a few days or weeks of feeling a bit yuck is SO worth it in the long run. Stick with it, and know you’re doing your body a service by living a healthier, low-sugar life!