One Simple Step to End Your 3pm Slump & Sugar Cravings

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Afternoon fatigue

It’s 3pm. You are at your desk at work. You can hardly keep your eyes open. The day seems like it’s barely dripping by.

Ahh dripping…visuals of coffee are conjured. Coffee… Yes. That will give me energy. Coffee… Ooh and maybe there’s still a donut left in the break room that the sales guy dropped off at 10am. Oh wait… Maybe there’s still a piece (or two) of cake with that pink frosting left over from Marge’s birthday party break at 1! Yes, that’s it by golly. I’ll have coffee, a donut and cake…. Then I’ll be awake… Then I can make it through the rest of my day.

Sound familiar? This is a story I hear over and over again confessed from clients, usually accompanied by much embarrassment. The loss of control, as though a demon takes over, at 3pm EVERY day. EVERY day it seems that people all over get “the afternoon slump,” where they have no energy and turn to sugar and refined carbs, unconsciously to boost their energy through a boost in blood sugar.

So there it is… Balance your blood sugar before 3pm so that you don’t unconsciously crave sugars to boost it when it’s low. That’s it. But how, you might ask…

If there ever was a magic bullet for how to balance your blood sugar it would be this… Eat breakfast that contains healthy protein and fat within an hour of waking. Simple huh? Yeah, I hear you–the frustrated groans, the agitated “hurumphs” and the scowling (yes, even scowling can be noisy). No, really hear me out. And besides, just so you know, if giving you advice that you don’t want to hear frustrates you that bad, you probably have low blood sugar right now and need to take my advice to heart ASAP! Just sayin.

Yes, I get it. I hear it from clients all the time: “I can’t eat breakfast, I’m not hungry in the morning” or “The idea of eating in the morning makes me nauseous,” or “I don’t have time for that.” Well, those answers give me even more insight, so check it.

Not hungry in the AM?

If you aren’t hungry or are even nauseous in the morning when trying to eat, than you definitely have blood sugar problems and are riding the “blood sugar roller coaster.”   Your blood sugar is extremely low in the morning and if you don’t eat but continue to raise your energy and metabolism level, your blood sugar will spike extremely high when you finally decide to nourish yourself.

And if you checked out my post about why balancing blood sugar is critical for overcoming alcohol or drug abuse than you know that every time our blood sugar spikes really high after a low, our body has to release insulin which results in a cataclysmic drop in our blood sugar again. Hence the afternoon lows, when you might crave coffee, a nap, a soda, a cigarette, refined carbohydrates, sugar, alcohol or other drugs because your body is trying to raise back up your blood sugar. The problem is that it’s too late, you started it on this roller coaster ride in the morning by not eating breakfast, so every time you increase your blood sugar, your body will compensate by lowering it too much and you will compensate in turn by raising it too much by reaching for what you shouldn’t and the cycle continues.

Quick and Easy Breakfast for the Time Crunched

So, what’s a person to do… I know it sucks, but suck it up and eat something for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be much, but it needs to be something to even out your blood sugar first thing in the morning. Avoid sweets and refined carbohydrates (aka donuts, bagels, sugary cereal, etc.)–the so called “breakfasts of champions.” Instead go for some healthy protein and fat. Even a small handful of nuts or seeds will do it. Start here and soon you will find that you are becoming less nauseated in the morning and soon after that, you will find that you are starting to be hungry in the morning. Imagine that? It will depend on the person and how long you have been on the “roller coaster” before that happens, but it will, so be patient and eat your nuts.

Within just days of doing this, I had a client who told me that she stopped hearing ravenous voices that told her to eat refined carbohydrates and sugar–yes, actual voices. With the quieting of these voices, she was finally able to lose the weight that she has been trying to lose, since she finally could nourish herself instead of giving in to her low blood sugar cravings and those ravenous, demanding voices.

For those of you that think you don’t have time, you are wrong! You don’t have time to not eat breakfast. With the afternoon “sugar comas” and the problems with concentration that accompany really low and really high blood sugar, you are not being productive and not fulfilling all of your possibilities for the day. Plus, really… Are you honestly telling me that you don’t have time to eat a handful of nuts or seeds first thing in the morning? Come on, you know you’re being silly (or maybe you like those little mind-controlling afternoon voices)! Or package up some leftover from dinner to eat for breakfast. You can even hard boil some eggs the night before. For more, quick and easy breakfast tips, check out this post.

And, to learn about other health-promoting foods that keep your blood sugar balanced, check out our free Anti-Inflammatory Video Training Series.

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42 Replies to “One Simple Step to End Your 3pm Slump & Sugar Cravings”

  1. Fantastic! I have been putting off eating this morning as I wanted to complete some goals. Before I finished this article I went and made myself a fruit salad.
    Great blog!

    1. That’s great Julie! You’ll be so much more productive for the rest of your day for making the choice to eat breakfast! Just make sure to add some healthy protein and fat to your fruit salad to counter the fruit sugars’ affect on your blood sugar. Fruit can definitely spike blood sugar, particularly for breakfast when our blood sugar is low from not having had food since the night before. A good choice is to add yogurt (whole milk or coconut) or some nuts to your fruit. Have a great day! It’s night here, so I’m getting ready to go to bed and you’re just getting up! Gotta love that! 🙂

    2. Thanks for posting this. It should really watching my diet at a young age so I can prevent rather than treat. (I’m 19)

      @Julie Nelson
      WOW! you are beautiful. I got infatuated with a girl that looked just like you. She didn’t want the relationship to go anywhere cause she was 9 years older. Live and learn haha

      1. Hi, Dr. Amen,I’ve identified over time what I’m rellay craving when I crave some unhealthy choices. Often I just need water! Current favorite flavoring is nettle/spearmint tea, cold or hot as preferred. For me, salt is a common desire, and when I crave salt, I figure I’m low on minerals (yes, I probably had adrenal fatigue a while back, for most of a year). Love those salt alternatives made from dried and ground veggies! I like seaweed so I eat more seaweed, parsley (blender drink with apple and citrus), take supplements and so on. I’ve learned to recognize when I am craving oil or fat rather than just craving fast foods, so have healthy oils and fats when I want them (flax seed oil on salads, avo, nut butters). When I crave sugar, I’m probably low on sleep and/or B vitamins. When i get sad or overwhelmed/depressed briefly, most likely blood sugar is low, I forgot to eat. Carry some nuts and dried fruit in my bag or purse. Sometimes, in NW winters, I cheer up by taking a bit more vit D. now if I can just quit coffee a mentor suggested capsules of cayenne and ginger with breakfast does seem to have help with mental clarity that is also very calming/balancing. She told me later that one stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, the other the parasympathetic system. Have you ever heard of research on this? (Duh, I should ask for her sources). Oh, here’s a treat at our house mix plain yogurt with a little berry jam or flavoring of your choice, serve in ice cream cones. Another is to mix psyllium seed powder in a glass with part juice, part water; wait five minutes and eat with a spoon for a jello-type texture and coolness. experiment for your favorite thickness.

        1. Gina, sorry for the delay in responding–your comment somehow ended up being diverted into spam. You have an incredible awareness about your body and your resulting cravings. No, I’ve never heard about the research on ginger/cayenne for nervous system stimulation, but it makes sense. If you end up getting your fried’s research sources, please post them–I would love to read more. I never would never have thought to combine psyllium with juice for a jello consistency–great idea and much healthier than jello! Thanks so much for posting and sharing your ideas for satiating a sweet tooth and all the info on cravings–very helpful!
          Katie Bauer recently posted..Declare Your Independence Today

  2. Great article, Katie.  I’m one of those people who has a hard time facing food in the morning, even though I know I should have something.  Sometimes I have a little TJ’s trail mix that’s raw nuts and raisins, but sometimes I just have a big mug of chai tea with lots of almond milk in it and a little coconut oil.  Unfortunately, I just looked at the label and found out the almond milk has sweetener added!  And it seemed like such a great idea.  I’m curious why you don’t recommend fat free or low fat yoghurt. 

    1. Hi Dorine, yes, you are not alone with having a hard time eating first thing in the morning. For most people, if they force themselves to eat first thing in the morning (within an hour of waking) something with protein, their body will start to crave foods in the morning, as their blood sugar balances out. If that doesn’t work, and they continue to not be able to eat first thing in the morning, I usually find that their cortisol is switched. This means that they are producing high cortisol at night and have low production in the morning, instead of the other way around. Usually the high cortisol in the morning gives us that get up and go feeling, along with hunger in the morning to fuel that “up and at em” movement. I would suggest testing your blood glucose levels and doing a saliva test to test your adrenals and cortisol levels throughout the day. Of course, they are quite connected. When our body is stressed, we release cortisol, every time our blood sugar spikes or drops, it causes a release of cortisol and over time if this happens all the time, we stop producing cortisol correctly and it switches its natural production in our bodies. You may need to nourish your adrenal glands to support your blood sugar balancing out so that you can eat breakfast in the morning. 

      You are doing right to try to eat something. Chai Tea isn’t a bad idea, since it has cinnamon in it too that helps balance blood sugar and you are getting healthy protein and fat from the almonds. Yes, frustrating about almond milk. I would suggest you make it yourself. Just soak raw almonds over night and in the morning, drain them and blend 1 Cup of almonds with 4 cups of water. Strain out the pulp and use that pulp in baked goods or add to yogurt or dehydrate it for granola. The strained liquid is almond milk without all the preservatives, sweeteners and junk added. This is much, much cheaper and healthier than what you would buy at the store. If you want a little sweetener, I would suggest adding a pinch or few drops of stevia to it. Store your left over almond milk in the fridge–it won’t last as long as your store bought almond milk because it doesn’t contain all those preservatives. 

      You need to read your body and see if the amount of protein you are getting in the morning in ratio to the amount of sugars (raisins are quite sweet or the sugars in the almond milk) is enough. If you are still getting that 3pm (afternoon time) slump where you are tired and craving sugars and refined carbohydrates than the protein you are having int he morning for breakfast isn’t enough and you need to up the protein level or lower the sugars (even the natural ones). You could always stir in a spoonful of rice protein to your chai tea–don’t boil it, but adding it to the hot drink after taking it off the stove, is fine.Good question about why I don’t suggest nonfat/lowfat yogurt. I wrote a blog post, just to answer that question for you. The short of it is that fat is important to slow down sugars in our blood stream (dairy contains lactose which is a sugar and quite sweet) so our blood sugar is balanced, fat is what satiates us so that we will get full, that our brain needs fat and that protein only functions correctly to build bone and muscle tissue with the support of fat. Oh and usually, lowfat/nofat yogurt has some pretty nasty ingredients added to it to make up for the lack of fat. For the full article and explanation, read my “Ode to Fat”: http://www.nourishedhealth.com/fat/

  3. This is a really good article Katie!  You definitely pulled  the carpet out from under my hubby’s feet with all his no-brekkie excuses. Now tell me what to say when he tells me, “I listen to my body and when it tell me I’m not hungry I don’t eat” or “when it tells me to nap, I nap”. Grrrrr. I’ll be reading your article to him. Thanks!
    Lynn

    1. Glad to pull the carpet out–I guess! : ) You bring up an important discussion point. Yes, we are supposed to listen to our bodies, but what is it that our bodies are really trying to tell us. When our body says I’m tired, should I take a nap? Yes, by all means, but it also means that something is wrong if I am tired ALL the time, especially if I sleep a full night and still wake up tired. At that point, it becomes time to nourish our adrenals, look into thyroid health, make sure our blood sugar is balanced and ensure we have enough neurotransmitters… Whereas, just taking a nap would sure be easier and is the solution if it isn’t chronic. 

      People with blood sugar issues, especially low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), tend to not be hungry first thing in the morning and in fact, the idea of eating can make them nauseous yet the only thing that will get them off this blood sugar rollercoaster ride is to eat something with protein first thing in the morning–the exact opposite of what we think our body is telling us!

      Should I nap if I’m tired? Heck yes! But if I am tired all the time or tired even after a full night sleep, than I need to use that as a cue that something else is out of whack–be it blood sugar, thryoid, adrenals, neurotransmitters or that I have food intolerances.

      We misread what our body is trying to tell us for sooo many things. Am I craving chocolate at the beginning of my menstrual cycle because I should eat chocolate or because menstruation makes us low in magnesium and iron (something women tend to be low in anyway)? Or because my mood is low and I need a serotonin boost which chocolate stimulates? Granted, regardless of the answer, I’m still going to eat the chocolate, but I also need to use it as a cue to do some sleuthing and see if my nutrient levels are low or my neurotransmitters are imbalanced.

      Another common problem is we often crave the foods we have an intolerance for, because when we eat foods that we have an intolerance to, our body releases stress hormones which have the side effect of feeling oh so good! For instance, eating corn makes me feel high and speeds up my heart rate–it actually feels quite good, but inside my system is inflamed and attacking what to my body interprets as a toxic invader–corn! It results in quite the endorphin rush for me! But I know that’s actually not a good thing and that it does not mean I should eat more of it!

      Likewise, with addictions… Often people that are addicted to coke continue to crave it and have a hard time getting off of it because they are low in catecholamines in the brain and coke stimulates production of them. Does that mean they should continue to do coke? Nope, it means they need to supplement with neurotransmitters.

      Oh, lots more examples, but you can see it’s really tricky business. Yes, we need to listen to our bodies, but it’s not always simple to decipher what they are trying to tell us! Hmm… Clearly I should write an article about this, because there is so much to say!

  4. Hi Katie: Thanks so much for making this blood sugar roller coaster effect easier to understand. What goes on in our bodies has such a significant effect on what goes into our mouths! I love my breakfast of fruit and protein…apples and yogurt or rice protein and coconut milk, or occasionally tofu. I find that caring for my body by taking time to feed it properly and regularly is one of the best ways to actually build self-esteem; I am telling the universe that “I matter!” Great post!

    1. Thanks Tricia! Great point about self-esteem. I think too many people, especially women, are care-taking everyone but themselves and eating a healthy breakfast is a critical step in self-care. And if we can’t take care of ourselves, we certainly can’t help those around us. Don’t you just love coconut milk!!!! I am inspired to see more and more people make the decision to tell the universe, “I matter by golly and what I eat and when I eat matters.” Thanks! 

  5. Great post  Katie,  I guess I seldon miss breakfast these days.  I have learned that I do not get tired during the day when I’ve  had protien for breakfast.    Another thing I have found is not drinking enough water will cause me to feel tired and yawning.  Drinking a good glass of water in the middle of the day will perk me up to continue what I’m doing.  

    1. Joyce, that’s great! It’s amazing isn’t it that a protein breakfast does so much to prevent fatigue! Such a simple solution! And thanks for the tip about water–that’s a great one to keep in mind. 

  6. Thanks for the article!  I had wondered why I am never hungry in the am (unless I eat a regular meal right before bed) and the idea of food makes me sick!  I usually drink coffee and an hour or so later I feel I can eat, but by then I’m really sick!!  Also glad to hear you making sure people know fat is needed and protein is important for blood stabilization.  I know soooo many people who think it’s okay to simply consume sweet things to get blood sugar back to normal levels, not realizing they need fat and proteing to balance the levels throughout the day.  Thanks again

    1. I so apologize that I just saw your comment! I hope that you are well on the way of being hungry now in the AM! Yes, even if you feel sick first thing in the morning, it is important to get a little protein and fat in your body to gently bring back up your blood sugar. A handful of nuts will do it. Over time, once your blood sugar is more balanced, you will no longer feel sick in the morning at the idea of eating breakfast!
      Katie Bauer recently posted..Kick the Crack (aka Sugar) Addiction

    1. David, just as everybody is different so is every BODY different. For some folks, oatmeal will be fine for their blood sugar as long as they couple it with a protein- and fat-containing milk or milk substitute (which is most any of them, but rice milk). It is more likely to not be too high glycemic if you do oat groats as opposed to quick oats or rolled oats, if you don’t add sugar, if you do add nuts and if you choose to add fruit to use lower glycemic fruits like berries and not go fruit overboard. Cinnamon is a great spice to add to any meal that may be higher glycemic as it helps balance our blood sugar. That said, for most people, oatmeal is too high glycemic. You can determine if it is too high glycemic for you by paying attention to how you feel in the afternoon. If you get an energy drop in the afternoon (around 3pm for most people) and have sugar, caffeine or refined carbohydrate cravings than it is too sugary of a breakfast for you and you would do better to increase the protein level of your breakfast and/or decrease the sugars. I do find that for folks that have blood sugar disregulation, grains of any kind for breakfast are too high glycemic. You can also do an experiment and eat a higher protein breakfast for a week and compare how you feel. I love experiments!!!
      Katie Bauer recently posted..Kick the Crack (aka Sugar) Addiction

  7. Oh, boy. It seems I learn something everyday about this stuff. I do eat breakfast now everyday, and a big one at that with all the macros BUT I haven’t gotten it right yet to eat FIRST thing when I get up. I wait a few hours but it seems to work OK. My cravings are SO much better BUT they’re not perfect. I’ve been reading (and hit on this blog) about eventhough you feel fine, not hungry, doesn’t mean your blood sugar isn’t out of whack. In fact, it probably means it is. Thank you so much for laying it out so well.

    1. Yes Rayca! You hit it right on. Especially people that can’t bring themselves to eat in the morning and feel a little nauseous if they try to eat are having a low blood sugar episode and really do need to eat first thing to get their blood sugar under control. Even a handful of nuts or seeds or 1 hard boiled egg within an hour of waking–just something containing protein and fat will turn around their blood sugar and before long they will be hungry first thing in the morning and have no problem eating a regular breakfast. But first thing is to do what you have done and just notice cravings and associate it with what and when you eat breakfast. That said, there are other things that can cause cravings beyond blood sugar which I explore in other articles, including:

      1) subconscious cravings for the endorphin rush that eating a food we have an intolerance/allergy to causes: http://www.nourishedhealth.com/food-cravings-all-in-your-head/

      2) Cravings for foods that attach to the opiate receptors in the brain as some foods contain opioides (most notably gluten, dairy and soy but there are others) and coupled with leaky gut and “leaky brain” can cause intense cravings like an addict with heroin: http://www.nourishedhealth.com/food-cravings-all-in-your-head/

      3) Hormonal imbalances, including thyroid and sex hormones

      4) Opportunistic critters in the gut such as parasites, candida and bacterial overgrowth can cause us to crave sugars and refined carbs because that is what they feed on: http://www.nourishedhealth.com/maybe-you-just-need-some-good-bacteria-in-your-life/

      5) Habit, especially comfort foods from childhood

      6) Adrenal stress and fatigue, as well as poor or not enough sleep can cause us to crave uppers (sugars and refined carbs) or foods that cause the endorphin rush: http://www.nourishedhealth.com/fatigue-induced-cravings/

      7) Omega 3 essential fatty acid deficiencies can cause us to crave fats (and not necessarily or usually the good fats just fats) and also eating a low fat diet can just cause us to be hungry all the time and never satisfies or satiated: http://www.nourishedhealth.com/fat/

      8) Nutrient deficiencies: We often crave chocolate around our period because we are lacking in magnesium and iron which chocolate has loads of (plus hormonal imbalances). Likewise, we often crave salty foods when we are low in electrolytes in our body, but if we just eat processed foods that contain table salt we aren’t getting the full minerals that are naturally in salt. And there are others.

      But first and foremost and for most cravings… it’s all about blood sugar balance.
      Katie Bauer recently posted..Get Your Juices Flowing and Combat Constipation

  8. It looks like some folks have a hard time eating anything in the a.m. I have some tips. Try a smoothie. Whey protein, almond milk, frozen fruit, blend and go. After you get used to tasting food in the a.m., it will get easier, then you should start adding, scrambled egg whites (they melt in your mouth. Really easy to get down). I make a mean lentil/oats mock meatloat that I have with egg whites + the smoothie + oatmeal. It does get better and the more you can eat for breakfast, the less you need later on. And you’ll have oodles of energy. My 2 cents. Good luck everyone.

  9. Gosh Katie! Thank you soooo much for the subconscious cravings articles and mentioning addiction. I used to have (heavy) addiction problems years ago and it also runs in my family. The only thing still attached to me are darned cravings for sweets! I have it all conquered except for night time, like most everyone. Why is that? Is it boredom? Is it genetic? Is it hormonal? My mom had a horrible addiction to sweets and used to get up in the middle of the nite for cake and stuff. She has diabetes now (of course) and that runs in the family too. High blood pressure too. I’m trying to learn from these mistakes but cravings KILL me at nite. It’s only a couple of hours a day but anyone that knows about how addicts feel should be able to understand. You MUST have it. I’m a work in progress and I almost have it nailed. Looking for the brass ring, I guess. 🙂

    1. Yep, I have a super addictive personality and it is very easy for me to get addicted to something. I am off all sugars right now including fruit because if I eat fruit it might spiral me back into craving other sugars. At some I’m hoping to “go back on” fruit, coconut sugar and the like, but for now it needs to all stay away.

      Interesting about your night time cravings. Are you food logging? Do you have cravings absolutely every night? If not, I would compare what is different on the days that you do have cravings at night versus the occasion that you don’t. Is there a stress/emotional eating component? A sleep or lack thereof the night before component? Are you eating every 3 hours meals and snacks that contain protein and fat? Are you eating breakfast within an hour of waking? Is your breakfast high enough in protein and low enough in sugars? Some people can have dairy and/or grains and/or fruit in their first meal of the day, but for others that is too much sugar and it affects their cravings and blood sugar for the rest of the day. I love that all of our bodies are different and need different things and it is definitely a life-long journey to discover what our body needs.

      The only other thought I have is that it could be connected to serotonin. When we have a serotonin deficiency we tend to crave sugars and refined carbs because that causes it to boost up. Our body produces more serotonin when it is sunny and just plain light out. If your cravings for sugar are happening after the sun goes down, it’s possible that you are low in serotonin. Do you get seasonal affective disorder (aka not as happy in the winter or on overcast days)? That can also indicate a serotonin deficiency. Hmm… Food for thought!
      Katie Bauer recently posted..Kick the Crack (aka Sugar) Addiction

      1. Yes, I figure it’s serotonin. No way to test or sort that out really. I’m post-menopausal, have horrible insomnia so what can I say? Dieting makes all that way worse too. When I stop “dieting” I sleep much better. Unfortunately, I have weight to lose. About 20 lbs. It is every nite I get cravings. As soon as I walk in the door from my commute. Definitely psychological. I’ve tested it. I’m not hungry when I leave work. I’m not hungry on commute home. As soon as I close the door and lock it behind me, BAM! Eating super clean, doing everything in slow-motion has really helped. I found exercise to be a huge help. I was doing early am. Everyone says it will hype you up at nite. Not me. It really relaxes me. Following exercise with a good 10 min. stretch is super. And I’m finding (in summer), a nice 1/2 hr. walk after work is super relaxing. So it’s stress related. Doesn’t help my sleep but definitely “feeds” the cravings.

        1. Great awareness around stress and your cravings! Great self-testing. Don’t you absolutely love testing things out on yourself! As an fyi, you mentioned that there is no way to really sort out whether it is serotonin or something else. If you are really curious, you might work with a health practitioner to help you order some tests. I order urine tests for some clients to test their neurotransmitters, adrenals and/or sex hormones. Or it can be done via saliva. The neurotransmitter test will let you know if you are low in serotonin, dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine and the like and natural treatment considerations if serotonin or others are low include supplementing with amino acid precursors and nutrients, consuming the right proteins and improving your digestion of those proteins.

          It sounds like you hit on the perfect form of exercise for you at the perfect time! I used to love to workout at night, as it helped me sleep, but now it wakes me up. I appreciate that our bodies are constantly in a state of flux.

          It’s always great to hear from you. Thanks for popping in!
          Katie Bauer recently posted..Declare Your Independence Today

  10. I eat breakfast everyday after riding my bike for half an hour to work. I have a bowl of activated nuts/seeds for breakfast everyday. I eat a good mix of proteins and healthy carbs and veggies for lunch and by 3pm everyday I still crave sugar and am soo tired! I think our bodies were wired to sleep in intervals not in one 8 hour period.

    1. Possibly. Though I would suggest you run an experiment on your body. Try eating breakfast before you ride your bike. Your metabolism is shifting into such high gear through bike riding that by the time you do get to work and have the opportunity to eat breakfast it may have dropped your blood sugar too much. The only way to know is to try! Are you just eating nuts and seeds or do you have some fruits in there too? I know for me, I can’t have any fruits or starchy vegetables (and definitely no grains for me) in my breakfast or I sugar crash at 3pm, but that’s just me. If you are having the fruit, grains or starches in with those nuts/seeds after your bike ride, I would just try the nuts/seeds or a different high protein breakfast. Can’t hurt to try! I know for my own body, I can’t work out before eating, it speeds up my metabolism too much and sets my body on a blood sugar rollercoaster, but everyone’s body is different. Let us know how it goes!
      Katie Bauer recently posted..Want Cake? Got Sugar Cravings? Listen to this…

  11. Thanks Katie for this article!

    I’m having my three pm crash– had a green smoothie (homemade, no added sugars-banana, 5 strawberries, apple and tons of kale and spinach) and two low sugar, high protein snack bars. Lunch was bison patty and veggies… Did I over do it with the fruits in the smoothie? Calorie and nutrition tracking tell me Ive had plenty of protein. Fructose from smoothie causing crash susceptibility? thanks for your advice!

    1. Kelsi,

      There is only one way to find out. For me, I can’t do any fruit in my first breakfast or I will crash in the afternoon. You may be able to do some fruit or not. I know that this may feel weird and different than what you are used to but try switching your breakfast and lunch choices. Try having the bison patty and veggies for breakfast and not having any fruit, grains or dairy with breakfast. Just try it and see. Do you still get those 3pm crashes? If not, you can start experimenting with how much fruit your body can tolerate for breakfast.

      Even with a lot of protein, for breakfast, you may not be able to tolerate that much fruit sugar. Bananas are one of the highest sugar fruits and are there dried fruits in your protein bars because those are extremely high too. Of all the fruits, berries tend to be the lowest in sugars and green apples (Granny Smith’s) are much lower in sugars than the other apple types.

      The other consideration is time of breakfast. Are you getting your breakfast in within an hour of waking?

      Good luck and please let us know how it goes!
      Katie Bauer recently posted..Want Cake? Got Sugar Cravings? Listen to this…

  12. So….I eat breakfast…normally an egg with toast, a piece of fruit and a cup of tea. I also eat lunch …a salad with a piece of toast….And…I still can’t keep my head up between 3-5 PM.
    Interestingly, at 5PM I get new energy and am at full speed at 6PM, when I normally would start heading home.
    Maybe it’s just lack of sleep (6-8 hours).
    Would you share portion size on the yogurt and nuts breakfast?
    You don’t say anything about lunch…should I skip it?

    1. Hi Solo58,

      Sorry for the late response. Your comment ended up in my spam filter for some reason…

      A few things..

      First, experiment. Try removing the toast and the fruit which are sugars from your breakfast and see if that improves your 3-5pm energy. Are you eating this breakfast within an hour of waking?

      Second, if not, it may not be a blood sugar issue but an adrenal issue. You might want to have an adrenal saliva panel which tests your adrenal hormones throughout the day so you can track if your body is releasing DHEA and cortisol in the correct amounts at the correct times. Perhaps your cortisol is dropping mid-day and your circadiam rhythm is off. Often blood sugar imbalances can cause adrenal issues, but could be from some other stressor. Your cortisol levels may be bottoming out around 4pm and then going back up in the evening.

      Third, yes it could be lack of sleep! Do you have the same issues when you get a full 8 or 9 hours of sleep?

      As for the yogurt breakfast, I don’t suggest that as it is higher in sugars than your current breakfast potentially. Yogurt may contain enough proteins and fats for some folks but for others the dairy sugars would be too much (and even higher in sugar if there is fruit or sugars added).

      I only suggest intermittent fasting (skipping meals) for folks that are predominantly fat burners, not sugar burners, so those who are paleo and don’t have a lot of sugars in their diet. These folks can do well skipping breakfast even and yes, then skipping lunch may or may not be okay.

      However, seeing that you are eating toast, I’m assuming your body runs on sugars for energy which means I would not suggest skipping lunch. Eating lunch is definitely important for balancing blood sugar and maintaining energy. You just don’t want to eat so much that all your energy is taken to digest that food. I didn’t go into all the other meals because for folks with hypoglycemia (which is usually the cause of the afternoon energy drop), I was just providing one simple step. If your blood sugar is imbalanced, you won’t want to stop with just changing breakfast but also take other steps too.
      Katie Bauer recently posted..Are Your Sugar Cravings all “in Your Head”?

  13. Pingback: 6 Morning Rituals That Will Never Fail on Boosting Your Spirit | Entro Post
  14. I am wrtinting an article on Christmas dessert myself and I stumble upon this article while researching more on sugar slumps. Is it ok If I link back Katie?

  15. I wish I could say I tried this and it worked, but I eat eggs for breakfast daily,on a low carb diet, and still get the 3Pm crash. I am also gluten free for two years.I am a marathon runner as well, so lots of exercise, too much probably. I’m trying to break the caffeine habit, but I’m so sleepy. I do have Adrenal Fatigue so that is why I’m cutting out coffee. Thoughts?

    1. Hey Paula, it sounds as though you have answered your own question! It sounds as though you may be over-extending yourself via exercise and that your adrenals may need work. I do usually suggest for folks with adrenal fatigue and/or other hormone challenges that are on the paleo diet to make sure they are getting enough carbohydrates. Since you are a marathon runner and exercise a lot, make sure that you are getting enough root vegetables. You likely need to be getting some form of carbohydrates at every meal. This article is about blood sugar balance and is usually not an issue for someone that is well adapted to a low carbohydrate diet. Your issue sounds as though it is hormone related, adrenal and possibly other, but not so much blood sugar related. Also make sure that you are getting enough sodium which is often depleted with adrenal fatigue. I suggest the book Adrenal Fatigue by James L. Wilson. Have you gotten your thyroid tested? Make sure to test for antibodies as well as the normal panel for TSH, T4, T3, etc. Granted, being that you are already gluten free and low carb, you probably wouldn’t have antibodies even if you are autoimmune thyroid, but it is still important to test the antibodies whenever you test thyroid. I have some more information on fatigue in these articles: http://www.nourishedhealth.com/fatigue-induced-cravings/ and http://www.nourishedhealth.com/the-solution-to-ending-fatigue-that-will-actually-make-you-worse-what-they-arent-telling-you-that-you-need-to-know-to-banish-fatigue/. Best of luck to you!
      Katie Bauer recently posted..Sugar-Free Coconut Peppermint Patties (I mean Peppermint Paddies)

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