Whoa, Sugar Trigger!
Last updated: April 2023
I got in the Halloween mood a little early with snacking on those wee little chocolate bars. Sort of moot that they are small when you have 4. Resistance is futile, it seems.
Like some women out there, I have hormonal cravings. And mine are often on the sweet and salty side. Added to that, I can get some mighty powerful cravings before a migraine strikes, which is ironic since generally it then makes you nauseous. All I am saying is that I do love some good chocolate but don’t have much of a sweet tooth other than that.
I don’t drink regular pop or even fruit juices. I am aware I’m pretty sensitive to sugar, and if I have too much, I feel sick to my stomach. But, yeah, I do adore chocolate!
Halloween chocolate snack-a-thon
The problem is that my spouse does most of the shopping, and he comes home with a lot of goodies. And when Halloween approaches, that means a lot of chocolate. I can resist buying a chocolate bar any day of the week, but passing by a bowl of chocolate all day long and not having 1 or 2 or 5? Really not very likely.
I have tried telling him I really do not need that around. But he knows I like it and he likes to accommodate any craving I might have. Or buy me a treat just because. I can’t say that is wrong, really – just a temptation.
Sugar is a trigger for my restless legs
I have noticed that with this uptake in sugar in the early evening, my restless legs syndrome (RLS) onset is earlier more often and more intense at that early-onset as well. When it gets worse early, it is way worse later. It seems to be a trigger for worsening symptoms for me.
I often read about the main triggers: some medications, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, stress, and even too much exercise. I don’t see sugar ever specifically mentioned as a major trigger, only as a dietary consideration for weight maintenance. However, I noted references here on this site, so I know it is a familiar one.
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Sensitivities to sugar and caffeine in chocolate
So I asked in a Facebook support group for RLS, and many people agreed it is, in fact, a trigger for them as well. Although, some mentioned the caffeine in chocolate too.
However, I am not that sensitive to caffeine really, and changes I have made to that don’t seem to do much – but I may have to cut it out altogether one day soon.
Cutting back on my chocolate consumption
Nevertheless, I think my evening chocolate consumption is going to have to stop. As it was with the early onset, I ended up getting up late, late at night for another dosage of my medication. I do not like those kinds of severe days at all.
It could be that it is because I am so sensitive to sugar overall that, for me, it is a stimulant to the system. A lot of the time, too much sugar makes me queasy with my migraine disease so it is easy to moderate. It is just specifically chocolate that is my weakness.
Either way, best to be avoided in the late afternoon and later, like caffeine, in my case. I can say I wasn’t tracking sugar while tracking my RLS symptoms and changes to treatment. It was only when I changed my eating habits I even noticed it actually made a real difference.
Do you find that what you eat or drink impacts your RLS symptoms?