After snacking on Valentine’s Day candies, you may notice that you’ve been experiencing more back pain than usual. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, high amounts of sugar have been shown to increase chronic inflammation (1), which means the chocolate you enjoyed during the holiday may be the cause of your increased back pain. It can be difficult to get back to your diet after enjoying Valentine’s Day treats, so Houston Physicians’ Hospital has laid out some helpful tips to get your diet back on track and reduce your post-holiday back pain:
- Start Tracking Your Meals
Wean yourself off of the sugary food by tracking what you eat. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that those who track their meals become more aware of their eating habits (2), leading to both healthier meal choices and weight loss. Smartphone applications have made tracking your meals easier and more convenient than ever before. Check the meal tracking apps available on your phone to find the right one for you and get back to making back-friendly meal choices.
- Choose the Right Snacks
Ditch the leftover chocolate as a snack and opt for foods rich in protein instead. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, protein has been shown to be more satiating than fat and sugar (3), meaning you will feel full longer and will be less likely to reach for multiple sugary snacks. Some great, protein-packed snack options include hard-boiled eggs, plain yogurt, and nuts.
- Skip the Added Sugar
After a candy-filled Valentine’s Day, you may find yourself adding more sugar to your diet than normal. You may be adding more sugar to your daily coffee, find yourself craving sugary fruit juices, or feel the need to go out and get more candy. According to Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, sugar has the potential to become addictive (4), meaning the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you crave. Take steps to reduce this sugar addiction by skipping the foods or drinks with added sugar. If your sugar craving becomes too great, try snacking on some fruit. They are a healthy source of dietary sugars and can satisfy your sweet tooth without increasing your back pain.
- Eat More, Rather Than Less
It may seem too good to be true, but eating more can actually get your diet back on track after the Valentine’s Day holiday. After days of snacking on leftover candy, you may feel as if you need to skip meals to “make up” for the amount of calories and sugar you consumed, but this isn’t the case. In fact, skipping meals can lead you to crave sugar and fat-loaded foods, leading to an unhealthy binge and increased back pain when you do eat (5).
While Valentines Day candy may be the culprit behind your increased back pain, it’s not too late to get your diet back on track and help your back feel better. For those in Webster, Texas, looking to return to a life free of back pain, give the Spine Solutions Center at Houston Physicians’ Hospital a call at 832-340-2134.