The chances are high that you consume more sugar than you know. Perhaps you have cut out sweet treats, but do you still enjoy things like salad dressing, dairy foods, and fruits like bananas? Even foods that may seem healthy can contain a lot of sugar, natural, and processed. If you are having issues dropping extra weight, feel sluggish, and generally unwell, it may be time for an all-in sugar detox. Don’t worry, you can add back in healthy foods with natural sugars. A sugar detox is a great way to jumpstart your 2020 health objectives. Let’s see how it works.
Navigating the murky waters of detoxes
A simple search on Google for the word detox brings up hundreds of options for detoxing your body of all sorts of things. You will find juicing detox, soup detoxes, and various fasting protocols all claiming to be the best detox yet. However, many of these programs involve drastically cutting out food, which is not effective as a long-term approach to wellness. If you try to stay on these detox regimens for too long, you will find that you experience such side effects as fatigue, dizziness, and low blood sugar.
So, you may ask, what is the best detox that can help move me forward with my health objectives? The best sustainable detox that you can undertake for long-lasting health improvement is sugar detox. Reducing sugar in your diet can help you minimize unwanted weight, clear up your skin, improve your mood, and give you energy to spare. Plus, it can reduce your risk of certain health conditions like premature aging, diabetes, and heart disease.
Brooke Alpert is a registered dietitian and co-author of the book “The Sugar Detox: Lose the Weight – Look and Feel Great.”. According to Alpret, “Sugar makes you fat, ugly and old.”…ouch! Clearly, too much sugar is keeping Americans overweight and under energized.
Sugar addiction is a real thing
The highest of highs can be reached when we regularly consume sugar. Up, up, up we go and down, down, down we crash, which drives us to consume more sugar to get that rush back. It is a vicious cycle that has resulted in what many call a real sugar addiction.
According to Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, about 10% of the US population are true sugar addicts. Research paints a grizzly picture of the truth of sugar addiction, showing that it is very much similar to the rewards and cravings induced by addictive drugs.
Added sugar hides in our diet
The food industry is notorious for adding sugar to just about anything, including salad dressing, bread, sauces, and more. Consuming foods with added sugar can really add up quickly, and before you know it, you have been consuming sugar-laden foods all day long.
The need for a sugar detox diet is real and the benefits huge
Even if you are not a sugar “addict”, you can benefit from a sugar detox. According to Lusting, “There is no one person who wouldn’t benefit by eliminating added sugars from their diets.” It is not only adults who can benefit from this detox but also children. When obese children eliminate sugar, they have improved health in as little as nine days without making any other changes to their diet or lifestyle.
Many people who undergo a sugar detox lose considerable weight, especially around the midsection, where a sugar-rich diet shows itself most!
Cold turkey is hard but best
Just trying to reduce the amount of sugar that you consume on a daily basis is not as effective as going completely cold turkey, at least at the beginning of the detox. Moderation is not effective, according to Alpert. It is like asking an alcoholic to drink just two beers instead of a whole pack… it is just not a good approach to take.
One of the big benefits of going cold turkey is that eventually, you will be able to taste the natural sugar in things like fruits, vegetables, and dairy that added sugar in your diet has dulled.
The best way to conduct a sugar detox is to lay off all sugar for the first three days. No fruits, no starchy vegetables including peas, corn, sweet potatoes, etc, no dairy, no grains, and no alcohol. Eat only protein, low carb veggies, and healthy fats.
Here are some ideas for days 1-3:
Breakfast: Eggs any style
Lunch: 6 ounces of poultry, fish or tofu and a salad ( no sugary dressing)
Dinner: 6 ounces of poultry, fish or tofu and steamed vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach
Snacks: 1 ounce of nuts and sliced peppers with hummus
Beverages: water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee
Artificial sweeteners are not permitted because they get our palates salivating for the real thing and make us less likely to taste real sweetness. Additionally, it has been found that consuming artificial sweeteners causes you to store more fat and can lead to overeating.
Moving on with your detox
After the first three days, you can add an apple and you will find that this apple tastes like candy. Onions taste sweet, almonds taste sweet – it is an amazing thing that happens when we recalibrate our palate to taste real sweetness.
You can start to add some higher-sugar vegetables like snow peas and carrots as well as five high-fiber crackers and two glasses of wine (if desired) weekly.
In week two, you can add a serving of berries and an extra serving of dairy. You can also enjoy starchy vegetables like yams and winter squash.
In week three, you can enjoy grains, including barley, quinoa, and oatmeal, and also add in more fruits like grapes and clementines. You can also enjoy one ounce of dark chocolate daily and another glass of wine per week if you wish.
Week four puts you in the last phase of the detox, and by now, you should be quite comfortable with your diet and experiencing fewer cravings for bad stuff. Week four represents a maintenance phase that is sustainable long-term.
According to Alpert, the addictive behavior should be gone at this point, so having the odd bowl of ice cream should not set you back into an addictive mode. Once you finish 31 days of detox, no fruit is off limits, and you will find that having an orange or a bowl of berries is just as satisfying as the soda you used to enjoy.
What about withdrawal symptoms?
Like any addiction, there may be signs and symptoms of sugar withdrawal. These may include such things as brain fog, fatigue, and moodiness. Lutig found that children experienced an increase in irritability during the first five days on a sugar detox. If your symptoms get out of hand, have a piece of fruit and remember to drink plenty of water.
Check with your physician before embarking on the sugar detox. This plan may not be appropriate for persons with diabetes, extreme athletes, or those who are pregnant or taking medication to control blood sugar.
Lean on friends and family during your detox and inform them of what you are doing. Having a close support group is invaluable, especially if you have a longstanding addiction to sugar.
Soon you will be celebrating the sweet rewards of a sugar detox!
-The Alternative Daily