Can You Get Thirsty After Eating a High-Carb Meal?

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A young girl holding a glass of water. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Feeling thirsty after eating a large amount of carbs is often a symptom of diabetes, a group of diseases in which the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes to regulate blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause complications in the body, including blindness, kidney damage and digestive problems. It is critical that you be tested for diabetes if you feel thirsty after eating a large amount of carbs.

High Carbs

The number of carbs in a serving of food is usually indicated on its label. Diabetics should know the number of carbs they are allowed to eat at each meal by following their doctor's or dietitian's recommendations. Foods with carb numbers that exceed these recommendations are considered high carb. Examples of high carb foods include candy, soft drinks, baked goods and other foods that contain large amounts of sugar.

Diabetes Symptoms

It makes sense that if you feel thirsty after eating a high number of carbs that you will be drinking a lot of liquids and urinating frequently. This is the body's way of eliminating excess sugar in the bloodstream. However, prolonged periods of thirst and urination to remove blood sugar can cause kidney damage. Other diabetes symptoms include unusual hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurry vision, poor healing of cuts and scrapes and irritability.

Diagnosis

A doctor will test your blood sugar level to determine if you have diabetes. People without diabetes will have a fasting blood sugar level below 126 mg/dL. Hyperglycemia, or a blood sugar level above 160 mg/dL, is considered to be high and an indicator of diabetes. Your doctor might prescribe medication and dietary and exercise changes to help reduce your blood sugar levels to prevent diabetic complications.

Carb Counting

Controlling the number of carbs you eat will help you control your blood sugar levels and prevent high blood sugar spikes. These high levels of blood sugar can be dangerous, as they can cause you to pass out or induce a coma. A dietitian can recommend the number of carbs for each meal. The American Diabetes Association recommends counting carbs accurately by subtracting half the grams of dietary fiber when they are 5 g or over from the total carbohydrates in one serving of food.

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