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The scientific reason why sugar makes you thirsty

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Photo: Stocksy/Hung Quach

You know how it’s tough to enjoy cookies without big glass of macadamia milk in hand? (Milk and cookies as a combo is practically the original fruit and yogurt, after all.) Well, there’s actually a scientific reason why all that sugar makes you so thirsty.

The instant boost in your thirst after eating something sweet is actually due to a spike in your blood sugar levels: “When you put sugar in your system, it first goes to your stomach, and then into your bloodstream,” Caroline Apovian, MD, told Health.

When water moves out of your cells after you consume sugar, your cells alert your brain that they need additional water for replenishing—and that’s when you’ll reach for something to drink.

After you consume sugar, water moves out of your cells and into your bloodstream to balance the spike. When water leaves the cells, they alert the brain that they need additional water for replenishing—and that’s when you’ll reach for something to drink.

“This [chain of events] happens pretty quickly,” said Dr. Apovian. “Since glucose is absorbed by the gut and into the bloodstream fairly fast, you might feel thirsty within 5 or 10 minutes.”

Although milk—of any variety—may sound more quenching than water, Apovian said trusty H2O is optimal for your body. (Why chase sugar with…more sugar?) Especially considering that consuming more than the recommended six teaspoons a day can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, the Cleveland Clinic reports.

So have your cookies and milk (because #balance, duh!), but make sure you’re staying hydrated: Your body will thank you.

Want to snack on some edible cookie dough? Here’s where to pick up healthy options. Speaking of cookies, a little sugar rush might actually fuel your next workout.