Perché ci viene sete dopo aver mangiato un dolce? 🍩

How many times have you felt thirsty after eating a sweet? In this article, I'll explain the reason why this happens. 😀
Why do we get thirsty after eating a sweet?

Summary

A few days ago, at the end of a dinner, I ordered the classic dessert. After finishing it, I felt the typical post-dessert thirst and wondered, "Why do we get thirsty after eating a sweet?"

How many times have you craved a glass of water after enjoying a slice of Sacher cake or even worse, cotton candy while perhaps at a fair? Well, you're not alone. This phenomenon has a simple explanation, or perhaps two. I'm not a biologist, so to find an answer to this question, I did what you're probably doing right now, I went on Google and searched for as much information as possible. I didn't read just one article, but at least 10, and also sought confirmation through YouTube. In this article, I have summarized the information I found on why sweets make us thirsty.

Sugar and Thirst: A Direct Relationship

The main character in this story is glucose (a monosaccharide, a simple sugar), and sweets like cakes, cookies, and chocolates are loaded, as you well know, with sugars. This leads to the two explanations I found, and since I'm not an expert in the field, I prefer to present them separately rather than creating a possibly incorrect mixture.

1. Glucose Slows Down Liquid Absorption from the Intestine

The first explanation I found on sites like, this link is useful only for readers who can read Italian, Focus is that glucose slows down the time it takes for the stomach to empty. This leads to a feeling of thirst because no liquids are reaching the intestine, where they can be absorbed.
Usually, at this point, we drink to quench the thirst, but the water won't reach the body quickly. We'll continue to feel thirsty until the absorption time is exhausted and the body can meet the demand, i.e., until the body has used up all the ingested glucose.

Amount of sugar in beverages

Si può dedurre facilmente che le bevande dolci non siano propriamente le ideali, anzi sarebbero proprio da evitare, per ripristinare l’equilibrio dei liquidi, l’acqua come sempre rimane il miglior dissetante. L’immagine sopra mostra proprio quanto zucchero, spero sia effettivamente zucchero quello contenuto nelle bustine, è contenuto in ogni bevanda, se 2 + 2 non fa 5 è facile immaginare che se la sete non passi “fino a che l’organismo non avrà utilizzato tutto il glucosio ingerito.” bere tutto quello zucchero non ci aiuterà per nulla a farci passare la sete.

2. Homeostasis, The Broken Balance

After eating very sugary foods, glucose enters our bloodstream. Our body has a very refined mechanism for maintaining an internal balance, known as homeostasis. An important part of this balance concerns the concentration of sugars in the blood, which is disrupted by the increased glucose concentration. To maintain balance, our body starts a process to dilute the excess glucose, and this is where thirst comes into play.

When there is too much sugar in the blood, our body tries to restore balance by absorbing more water. This is why we feel the need to drink: the body is signaling us to increase water intake to help dilute the blood sugar.

But how does our body communicate to us that we need more water? The brain has an area called the hypothalamus, which acts as a control center for thirst. When the hypothalamus detects that the concentration of sugars in the blood is high, it sends signals that we interpret as thirst, and the need to drink arises within 5-10 minutes.

The Role of Salt in Sweets

Another aspect to consider is the salt in sweets. Although we're not always aware of it, some sweets contain a certain amount of salt, which is used to regulate their acidity, especially for sweets prepared with sourdough (from what I found), but I also discovered that it's useful for enhancing the flavor of all ingredients. Like sugar, salt can increase thirst. Salt in the blood draws water from the cells, causing a sensation of dehydration and, consequently, thirst.

The Importance of Hydration

Both explanations highlight the importance of hydration. Drinking water not only helps us digest but also manages blood sugar levels after eating sweets, and is generally vital for the health of our body. Water helps transport nutrients, regulates body temperature, and is useful in many other processes.

Long-Term Effects of Sweets on Thirst and Hydration

Not only does the immediate consumption of sweets make us feel thirsty, but there's also a long-term effect to consider. Foods rich in simple sugars can lead to spikes in blood glucose followed by rapid drops, just like pasta, which can affect our hydration level and energy balance throughout the day. These rapid spikes and drops can influence thirst signals and even alter our ability to correctly interpret these signals.

When I read this, I honestly wondered if I had ever experienced this - am I in a glycemic peak or am I really thirsty? I've never thought to ask myself that.

Different Types of Sweets and Their Impact on Thirst

Not all sweets have the same effect on our sensation of thirst. Sweets with a high fiber content, such as those based on fruit or whole grains, may have a lesser impact on blood glucose levels. This is because fibers slow down the absorption of sugar, avoiding drastic spikes in glucose and the consequent intense sensation of thirst. On the contrary, very refined sweets or those with high added sugar content can cause a greater effect, as I said at the beginning, cotton candy is a perfect example as it is made almost entirely of sugar.

The Role of Physical Activity and General Diet

Your physical activity and general diet also play an important role in your sensation of thirst after eating sweets. If you are an active person or have a generally balanced diet, you might notice less of the effects of sugar-induced thirst compared to someone with a more sedentary lifestyle or an unbalanced diet.

Under this point, I should say that, as far as I'm concerned, after every sugary dessert, I should drain a water tank haha

Logically, it's easy to understand that if you have a balanced diet and exercise, you feel less of this "problem" having a generally better health level of the body, therefore more normal sugar levels and a more efficient body.

Conclusion

I hope this article has been helpful and clear. I repeat, I'm not an expert in the field, not even a little, so I didn't want to mix too many things, but at this point, I want to try to put forward a "theory." If there's an expert among the readers, although I highly doubt that an expert is reading "why do we get thirsty after eating a sweet?", they could let me know in the comments if I'm saying something correct or if it's MY OWN (I emphasize because it's not, it's NOT, something I read or am saying based on something studied, but on my very simple logic).

The theory is (combining the two explanations): Glucose slows down stomach emptying and consequently the absorption of liquids by the intestine. Once the liquids reach the intestine and do their job of absorption, the sugar enters the bloodstream.

This would explain why I didn't find a single explanation but two quite close to each other, one before the transport of sugar into the bloodstream and the other just after it entered circulation.

Anyway, the next time you eat a sweet at a dinner and feel the need to drink, you'll understand the reason(s) and what's best to do...drink water.

Thanks for reading!❤️

Alessio Serafini Signature

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