Learn what a sugar detox is and why it’s necessary for your health. A sugar detox can help you lose weight, improve your energy levels, and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
What is a sugar detox and why is it necessary?
Nowadays, on Instagram and other social networks, you can frequently find challenges like “21 days without sugar” and so on. Many say that after such an experience, they feel light, fabulous, and noticeably more energetic. Many specialists and nutritionists mention that there are specific nuances in performing a sugar detox, and one should be familiar with them.
Many people love sugar because it brings pleasure, but it does not contain any micronutrients, vitamins, etc. In essence, our body does not need sugar at all; glucose can easily be obtained from products like fruits, rice, legumes, and so on. Sugar was artificially produced; it was synthesized, and then added to many foods. Essentially, a legal synthetic drug was created.
In one teaspoon of sugar, there are only 16 calories, which might seem trivial. However, these calories accumulate in your body without bringing any benefits. Yet, the risk of obesity and diabetes noticeably increases. Whether this is something you want is up to you to decide.
What is a sugar detox, and why discuss it?
The issue is that you consume sugar almost all the time. However, this leads to problems, including weight gain, an increasing number of bacteria in the body, hormonal imbalances, and so on. Sugar disrupts metabolism and negatively affects the brain and nervous system. If there’s too much sugar in the body, there will be problems with the digestive system since sugar adversely affects enzymes. If blood sugar levels are high, the necessary cholesterol levels decrease, and there’s a risk of developing high blood pressure.
You’ve probably heard of ischemic heart disease? Consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to this condition. And from there, it’s a short step to strokes, heart attacks, and arrhythmias. All these facts have been scientifically proven.
Essentially, sugar is foreign to the human body, and apart from promoting the growth of bacteria and fungi, it doesn’t offer any benefits. Thanks to sugar, cancer cells also thrive. If there are molecular-level problems in a person’s body, only the body can address them on its own. Cells with incorrect DNA can be destroyed automatically. But due to sugar, they can develop into cancerous tumors, and the more you crave sweets, the easier such formations can survive.
Remember that both overconsumption of anything and a deficiency of substances in the body will have adverse consequences. Naturally, Western marketing skillfully presents how one can undergo a sugar detox, continuously alarming us with new information about disease developments and deviations. For example, if someone is always stressed, there will be significant wear and tear on the adrenal glands, and stress hormones will be activated.
These hormones play a crucial role in insulin production in the body. So living in constant stress can harm the body more than continuous sugar consumption. A sweet pastry, for instance, might boost serotonin production, known as the pleasure hormone, and to some extent, can make a person more productive. That’s why it’s essential to understand the difference between a restrictive diet and blindly following trends.
A Brief Overview on Cutting Out Sugar from Your Diet
If you decide to stop consuming sugar abruptly, it can lead to a nervous breakdown. It’s vital to gradually eliminate sugar from the body to avoid significant stress. The first day of detox will be the most challenging, as you will essentially experience withdrawal symptoms. Think about how many years you’ve consumed sugar and consider how hard it will be to give it up all at once.
To cleanse your system, minimize sugar in your food, increase the amount of greens you eat, and hydrate with plenty of water to help ease the detox process. Try replacing refined sugar with natural alternatives. These could be candies and pastries made from dried fruits and nuts, cocoa, health bars, and the like. Consume fresh or frozen fruits and make smoothies using bananas as a base. Need a snack? Opt for dried apples.
If you’ve committed to a sugar detox, consume as much protein as possible, especially for breakfast. This will help balance blood sugar and insulin levels, reducing cravings for sweets. Include fish, oils, nuts, avocado, and seeds in your diet.
For some, transitioning can be emotionally challenging, so avoid thinking in terms of restrictions, like “I can’t have.” Reframe this thought as “I choose.” Essentially, you are making a choice to be healthier and can select the foods you genuinely want. This mindset can broaden your horizons. Naturally, you’ll need to revisit not only your diet but also your lifestyle.
Ask yourself introspective questions, and write down the answers in advance. Reflect on why you periodically eliminate certain foods from your diet and then overindulge during celebrations. Once you have answers to these questions, navigating the detox process will be much easier.
Here’s another tip from experts: Use erythritol and stevia instead of sugar. Stevia is a plant used to make infusions, which tastes somewhat like tea with a distinct aftertaste. That’s why it’s often used in cooking. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol found in foods like cheese, pears, melons, mushrooms, etc. This natural component is produced through the fermentation of yeast and glucose.
A bonus is that it doesn’t contribute to tooth decay and has zero-caloric content. It’s frequently used by diabetics. Note that these aren’t artificial sweeteners and don’t harm the body. So, examine closely what you’ll be incorporating into your diet in place of sugar. Don’t just grab the first thing off the supermarket shelf!
What changes will occur in the body? What is sugar detox, and why is it necessary?
Initially, right after starting the sugar detox, you might experience hand tremors, headaches, and blurred vision. Stress, irritability, and a loss of concentration may also be observed. However, with a serious approach to the detox process, you can easily avoid such negative effects. Prepare in advance, stock up on plenty of sweets: fruits and also healthy fats. Nuts, pumpkin seeds, bananas, berries – these should always be close at hand.
Experts also note that during the detox period, internal problems often manifest externally. This could be in the form of dandruff or acne. The essence of this is that the fungus living inside the body stops receiving the nutrients it needs and tries to break out in search of them.
Where to start Sugar Detox?
Initially, replace low-quality products with high-quality ones. For instance, remove bad chocolate from your diet and only purchase quality products instead of canned vegetables. Try to replace them with fresh ones. Make a maximum effort to eliminate sugar from your diet, and consider other possible sources. Approach this task without fanaticism.
If you want to cleanse your body temporarily and then return to consuming sugar, think about whether or not it’s worth it. Abstaining from sugar is quite challenging and painful. This isn’t just because of the habit, but also because of the significant changes that will occur in the body. Therefore, approach this challenge with thorough consideration, calmly, methodically, and thoughtfully.
Eliminating Sugar from the Diet
If you decide to exclude sugar from your diet once and for all, it’s likely that sooner or later, you’ll relapse. Hence, the removal of sugar should be gradual, over several days, to ensure the body doesn’t experience stress. “In the first days of sugar detox, one will experience cravings. It’s not so much the body that gets used to sweets, but rather the pathogenic organisms that thrive on this sugar.
It would be beneficial if, along with sugar, one also reduces the intake of many carbohydrates. For instance, chips, pasta, crackers, rice cakes, white rice, and wheat products – everything that is quickly digested by the body and enters the bloodstream, raising sugar levels. To compensate for the sugar withdrawal, one should consume a larger amount of greens to accelerate body detoxification. It’s also advisable to drink even more water.
To make the “sugar detox” easier, artificial sweeteners can be replaced with natural ones. Chocolate can be substituted with real freshly brewed cocoa; candies or pastries with dried fruits, nuts, and superfoods, or healthy candies and bars made from these substitutes. An excellent dessert would be a fruit salad, frozen grape fruits, an energizing banana-based smoothie, and for a snack – natural chips made from dried apple or mango.
During the sugar detox, it’s essential to include more protein in every meal, especially breakfast – this leads to balanced sugar and insulin levels in the blood and reduces sugar cravings. Also, the diet should be supplemented with as many healthy fats as possible – nuts, seeds, fish, oils, and avocado.
Everything should be done wisely, using the brain but not overloading it. Gradually, progressively, not through a mindset of ‘I can’t’, but rather ‘I choose’. When you engage in positive reinforcement through legalization (not to be confused with allowance), you start to select, review, and think more broadly and flexibly.
You don’t have to quit abruptly; reevaluate your diet and life in general. Ask yourself a couple of questions: How much refined food is in my diet, and why do I occasionally exclude potatoes and fruits from my daily menu, only to overeat during holidays, feeling guilty afterward?
Experts advise replacing sugar with stevia and erythritol. Stevia is a plant whose leaves are mainly used to prepare a decoction that is consumed like tea but has a specific herbal taste. Therefore, it’s much better for culinary uses to utilize stevioside – a chemical derived from stevia extract. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol found in many products (pear, melon, mushrooms, cheese) and is a completely natural component obtained through the fermentation of glucose and yeast.
It doesn’t contribute to tooth decay, has an energy value of 0 kcal, and is entirely safe for diabetics. In no case should these be confused with synthetic sugar substitutes, which can be more harmful than regular sugar. Thus, their selection should be approached with great care and not be impulsively picked from supermarket shelves.”
Basic Rules of Sugar Detox
Rule #1: Determine if you need a detox
Do you eat when you’re not hungry? Ever felt food coma where you want to sleep right after lunch? Can’t feel good without a pack of chips, a chocolate bar, or your favorite drink? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need a sugar detox!
Rule #2: No carrot, only stick
To stop eating sweets, simply don’t have them at home. Say a firm “No!” to flour products, sugar, and artificial sweeteners. Why avoid sugar substitutes? They only induce a craving for sweets, retain fat, and slow down metabolism. In essence, even stevia can be harmful.
Rule #3: Just add water
Doctors agree: sugary drinks are several times worse than any chocolate bars. Store-bought juices and sodas, sports cocktails, teas, and coffee with sugar are sources of extra inches on the waist. You’ll get nothing from these drinks except diabetes. No matter how cliché it sounds, the best thirst quencher is plain non-carbonated water.
Rule #4: Proteins to the rescue
Proteins without carbs help control blood sugar and insulin levels and are also a source of energy. The perfect breakfast is a couple of soft-boiled eggs, without the yolk. Seeds, nuts, chicken, meat, and fish should be staples in your diet. Also, confidently add olive oil to salads.
Rule #5: Vegetables, vegetables, and more greens
So-called “good carbs” include sweet potatoes, beets, peppers, cabbage, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, artichokes, cauliflower, and broccoli. As for greens, you can munch on them anytime you have a “sugar craving.”
Rule #6: A girl’s best friends are snacks
To make the “sugar coding” easier, always carry a box of healthy snacks in your handbag. It’s better to eat more of the right food than to break down for one candy.
Rule #7: Healthy sleep is paramount
In America, studies were conducted in which participants were asked to sleep six hours a day instead of the usual eight. As a result, all participants craved sugar and fast carbs.
The first three days of sugar detox will be the hardest. After them, you’ll feel that you hardly crave sweets, and after 10 days, no one will be able to tempt you with chocolate cake or ice cream. But this is only if all the rules are followed!