Why Can Eating Sugary Foods Make You Sweat?

Everyone enjoys a sweet treat from time to time. However, these days, people are enjoying sugary snacks a bit too much, with Americans consuming up to 270 calories of the stuff every day, according to WebMD. This can become a problem when one considers the harmful effects that sugar can have on the body, including tooth decay, joint pain, liver problems, and heart disease. In fact, nearly every part of your body can be negatively impacted by excess sugar consumption, right down to your sexual health. 

In addition to the obvious effects that sugar has on your body, there are also some lesser-known, more insidious ways it can wreak havoc on your health. Sugar can cause your liver to store up excess fat, leading to a condition known as fatty liver (via HCF). It can tamper with your emotions, making you depressed and leaving you craving for more sugar. It can also have devastating long-term effects, according to a 2022 study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, which showed that sugar molecules, known as glycans, could be a factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease. When all of these harmful effects are considered, it's not surprising that sugar can cause a person to sweat. The only question is why it happens. 

Sugar can trigger an insulin spike

When you consume a meal that's high in sugar, it can lead to an overproduction of insulin in the body, according to WebMD. Insulin converts sugar into energy, and, when your body produces too much of it at one time, it can lead to a condition known as reactive hypoglycemia. Also known as postprandial hypoglycemia, reactive hypoglycemia usually happens within a few hours after eating and is marked by such symptoms as a racing heart, shaking, irritability, and, yes, sweating. Although it's not fully clear what causes the condition, reactive hypoglycemia is thought to be triggered by the release of extra insulin, leading to a drop in your blood sugar level (via WebMD). 

It's also possible that the sheer sweetness of whatever it is you're consuming could be activating this response, according to Columbia University. For example, table sugar ranks about 1.0 on a scale of sweetness, while fructose, while is found in fruits and soft drinks, comes in at around 1.7. Additionally, your average candy bar contains about 24 grams, or six teaspoons, of sugar, which could also cause a physical reaction. 

Sweating after sugar could be more serious

For some people, excess sweating could be a sign of diabetes (via Medical News Today). When the body's blood sugar runs low, it can bring about an acute stress response from the body, resulting in excess sweating. It could also be a result of nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels, known as diabetic neuropathy. This nerve damage can extend to the body's sweat glands, impacting how much, or how little, a person sweats. If you're concerned about the amount you sweat after consuming sweets, you should consult your doctor. 

Ideally, the best way to prevent adverse effects of sugar on your body is to reduce your intake (per Healthline). However, for those who consume a high-sugar diet filled with sweets and soft drinks, weaning themselves off of sugar may prove to be a difficult task. Cutting sugar out of your diet can lead to such symptoms as depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. You can also experience physical symptoms such as nausea and fatigue. Still, if you slowly lower your sugar intake with simple changes at the outset, such as drinking water instead of sweetened drinks, or having an omelet for breakfast instead of donuts, you can slowly begin to break the hold that sugar has on you.