Having a little bit of sugar isn’t bad but if you constantly find yourself being dependent on sugary foods, then a detox from sugar can help you overcome your cravings and become healthier.
Sweet foods are a natural reward system and they stimulate your brain. Sugar releases dopamine and adds a spark of energy that people tend to enjoy. Sugar can also cause the release of endogenous opioids, which leads to a rush and thus may cause future cravings. The reward system helps us survive, and we develop an addictive behavior, causing us to eat more of it.
Added sugar and refined sugar that are found in processed foods are unhealthy. An average American consumes more amount of sugar than recommended. Sugar addiction leads to long-term effects like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and it is a risk for people with stress, anxiety. The effects of the sugar rush are immediately felt by your body and over time without even realizing your body becomes accustomed to the abundant amount of sugar.
The concern is that sugar is sneaking into your daily routine, items that are not even associated with being sweet. Packaged foods items like tomato sauce, salad dressings, bread are a few sources of sugar that don’t even taste that sweet. These items lack nutrients and lead to unhealthy weight gain.
You start reaching out for sugary substances after every meal which turns into an unhealthy habit. Even if you’re not a sugar addict you can take a break from sugar. If you have no idea of how much added sugar you are consuming, or have a bad sweet tooth then doing a sugar detox can make you feel better and more radiant. This is your sign to give sugar detox a try and break the unhealthy relationship with sugar.
Signs you are consuming too much sugar-
Poor skin health
If you are consuming too much sugar then the most common skin condition you might experience is acne. High sugar triggers the secretion of androgen which causes acne.
You feel tired
Increased level of sugar intake drops your energy levels and you feel sluggish and face difficulty in doing your daily chores. When you consume food high in sugar your energy goes up suddenly which is followed by a sudden drop in energy.
The most common effect of consuming sugar is weight gain, it adds extra pounds around your belly. Sugar is one of the reasons why you are not able to lose weight.
You are hungry all the time
Sugary items lack nutrients due to which you may feel hungry all the time. You should have food rich in fiber and nutrients to satisfy your stomach. You constantly reach out for sugary foods.
Overconsumption of added sugar can lead to issues with vital organs
Added sugars harm your body and damage your body parts. By eating sugar in excess, your arteries are affected by the extra insulin in your bloodstream. It causes the walls to grow thicker, stiff, and it stresses your heart and damages it over time.
This causes heart diseases, failure, heart attack, and stroke. Eating less sugar can help to lower blood pressure. Excess sugar causes cavities in your mouth. Sugary foods worsen your joint pain and develop the risk of arthritis and also make your skin age faster. Obesity rates are rising worldwide and added sugar, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, are one of the main culprits that lead to weight gain.
The Pancreas pumps out insulin when you eat. But if your sugar consumption is more, then the body stops responding to insulin, then the pancreas starts pumping out more insulin. Your pancreas breaks down because of the overwork and your blood sugar levels rise, and you develop the risk of type 2 diabetes.
How long should you do sugar detox?
There are many ways to do a sugar detox some people take a moderate approach and some like to go cold turkey. You can start by doing a 3-day detox from sugar extended by 7,21 or 30 days whatever works the best for you. Don’t dread the time instead think of it as a way to nourish your body. A detox doesn’t mean you should not consume anything, Identify the difference between craving and hunger and eat healthier foods.
Sugar detox withdrawal symptoms-
Similar to other addictive drugs, added sugar can produce changes in neurochemistry when cutting off sugar after a long time one can experience withdrawal symptoms. Sugar detox symptoms get resolved within a few days, but may include-
- Changes in Sleep Pattern
Get rid of sugar cravings by doing a sugar detox-
Even making small changes in your sugar intake can significantly affect your health. Here are a few tips on how to detox from sugar and break the sugar habit-
Start small and be realistic
If you find going cold turkey too difficult, then start by gradually reducing your sugar intake. Be realistic and focus on cutting added sugar one source at a time. For example- If you drink diet soda a lot then try to cut out sugary beverages from your diet before trying to quit everything at once. The focus should be on reducing your added sugar and not on a certain period. Slowly and gradually you will achieve your goals.
No added sugar
Start by ditching or reducing added sugar intake like barley malt, cane sugar, coconut sugar, or anything that has –ose at the end in your packaged foods. Say big no to artificial sweeteners, they cause a variety of health problems. If you want to you can also avoid natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and dates.
Replace sugary beverages with water
It is important to stay hydrated. Start by cutting out sugary drinks, soda, and energy drinks, replace them with water or coconut water. Water is tied to detoxification and helps in flushing out toxins and waste from your body. Water helps to prevent sugar cravings. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses (around 2 liters) of water every day is essential. You can squeeze a lemon or add slices of cucumber to boost the flavor.
Avoid too much sugar and start your day with low sugar
Have a protein-packed breakfast instead of reaching for the sugary cereal. Protein and fats like nuts, beans, eggs, meat, seeds, etc stabilize your sugar level and make you feel full for a longer period. Try to consume food that assists the liver in natural detoxification, instead of donuts as they are not healthy. Start your day with less sugar and fuel your body with a fiber-rich breakfast and fruits.
Many products have added sugar without even realizing sugar sneaks into your daily routine. Items like tomato sauce, salad dressings, bread are a few sources of sugar that don’t even taste sweet. It is important to read labels.
Choose snacks and desserts carefully
While snacking be aware and choose whole, nutrients filled snacks instead of eating granola or protein bars as they may have added sugar. Before reaching out for your favorite snack ask yourself if you are really hungry? And if you are then eat something rich like nuts, fruits, vegetables, etc. Replace your sugar cravings with drinking water. There is no need to be fully deprived of sugar you can eat a piece of dark chocolate if you crave it.
Focus on your whole diet
It is important to focus on your overall health and eat foods that improve your health and are rich in vitamins, proteins, healthy fats, etc. Eat healthy fats like those found in nuts and fatty fish they help in reducing sugar craving.
These nutrients have specific roles to keep the body healthy, improve eyesight and keep your skin vibrant. A few good things to have a hand on are nut butter, sweet potatoes, avocados, hard-boiled eggs, vegetables, some fresh fruit as they make you feel full and curb cravings.
Move your body
Exercising is your best friend. Looking after your whole diet is important but at the same time, it is necessary to move your body. It gives a boost of energy, improves your mood, and reduces stress levels. You can go for a walk, run, hit the gym, or do any form of exercise it doesn’t have to be too intense just something that you will enjoy. Getting your heart rate up helps in detoxification, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
Get enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep can worsen the symptoms of added sugar reductions such as low mood, fatigue. Insufficient sleep increases sugar cravings and other harmful foods. Getting good sleep helps you make healthier food choices, boosts your energy levels, and lowers your stress.
An example of what your diet would look like when on a sugar detox-
For Breakfast- For breakfast make sure to have food that is high in quality protein and healthy fat. These foods will keep you fuller longer and give you energy. Whole eggs (either in an omelet or scrambled) or plain yogurt with nuts, and seeds.
For lunch-A combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. You can have a salad with a variety of vegetables, legumes, and healthy fats or Chicken stir fry with vegetables. Also, check-in with your hydration levels as water is necessary to the body’s metabolic processes and it keeps you energized and alert.
For dinner- For dinner have something simple like roasted vegetables with salmon, brown rice, and avocado or wholewheat pasta salad with some mayonnaise, chopped pepper, and tuna that is not only appetizing but filling.
Benefits of sugar detox
Sugary foods are digested fast and they provide you with a hyper feeling. Added sugars are simple carbohydrates that are quickly digested and enter your bloodstream, but once metabolized you’re in a sugar crash and it replaces your energy with sluggishness. Instead when you fuel your body with nutrient-dense food, and healthy fats your body and brain feel the positive effects. So it is important to add leafy vegetables, nuts, almonds, etc to your diet. You no longer experience sudden crashes instead you will have a supply of healthy energy.
Improved Weight Management
If you are trying to lose weight then after quitting sugar, it will become easier to lose weight and maintain it. Sugary beverages, candies, sweet treats are the culprit for empty calories. You should add enough fiber to combat and metabolize sugar. Eating sugary foods can make the body resistant to insulin, which increases belly fat storage. In a sugar detox, you eliminate all the empty calories that were preventing weight loss, which would help you lose weight easily. Cutting sugar and exercising also make all your organs work fine and you are less likely to get any chronic disease.
Mental Clarity, better focus as your blood sugar levels stabilize
When you cut down sugar, you achieve mental clarity, and all your cognitive functions improve as your blood sugar levels stabilize. Your focus improves fewer mood swings. We often associate sugar as a source to feel better but sugar does more damage. A sugar detox can lead to sugar headaches which is the symptom of the body suffering from sugar withdrawals. Soon replacing sugary items with brain food the headaches will disappear.
Reduces Inflammation and improves digestion
Sugar increases inflammation in the body, which leads to chronic pain, food allergies, and headaches. When you stop consuming sugar the inflammation level decreases. Your digestion improves and leads to better bowel movement.
The benefits of quitting sugar, do not seem important and very obvious. But nowadays serious sugar problems have led to obesity, health problems in children and adults. So it is time that you consider quitting sugar or cut to an optimal level, the results experienced will be remarkable and you will feel healthy and energized. While doing a detox, be sure to eat proper protein, fruits, fiber, and healthy fats. To keep withdrawal symptoms like headaches and irritation, drink plenty of water. You are one step away from healthy life!