Time to crush that sugar habit once and for all and do a sugar detox! Get this simple sugar-free plan with foods and drinks to eat, side effects, and benefits to achieve a successful way to detox from sugar cravings.
Why a sugar detox
Today, it seems that high levels of sugar are found in almost everything from breads, soda, sports drinks, candy, and packaged foods way more than ever before. When too much sugar is consumed, there are a number of health problems that occur such as diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk for heart attack and obesity.
The US population consumes more than 300% of daily recommended amount of added sugar! Studies have shown the link of increased intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain as well as obesity in both children and adults [source].
Positive side effects of reducing sugar intake
What positively happens to your body when you give up processed sugar? In many cases there is a decrease in inflammation, boost of energy levels, and improvement in your ability to focus. Implementing a sugar detox may help reduce major health concerns and eliminate sugar cravings, so you actually stop craving sugar!
Reduced Chances of Diabetes
One of the most damaging effects of sugar is the havoc it does with insulin and hormones [source]. When the body uses insulin to control sugar spikes brought on by consuming too much sugar, the body stops being able to use insulin to regulate blood sugar. This is what causes diabetes. Reducing processed sugar intake can reduce your chances of diabetes dramatically.
Mental and Emotional Health
Mental and emotional health are greatly affected by sugar levels and have become a major health concern in recent years. Correlations have been found between depression and increased sugar intake. Eating too many simple sugars may cause mood changes, depression or anxiety. Sugar is even more addicting than cocaine [source]!
It has been shown that excess sugar may contribute to obesity and packed on pounds. Given the amount of added sugars in foods and drinks, it has become a widespread increasingly growing epidemic. This is why it is so important to consume natural unprocessed meals and foods that do not contain added sugars. Cutting back on sugary drinks and sugary foods will greatly improve you ability to lose weight and metabolize foods properly for long-term health. Be sure to check out our weight loss program for additional help.
Decrease Risk for Heart Attack
Statistically speaking, people with a higher intake of sugar have a higher risk for heart attack. A large portion of excess sugar intake usually comes from soft drinks, so curbing the intake of sugar by avoiding sugary drinks and sip on lemon water, tea, or infused water to help you avoid the cravings that make it difficult to stop drinking.
How to reduce sugar consumption
Clean The Pantry
Start by cleaning out the pantry and refrigerator of condiments, foods and snacks that contain sugar (details for detox kitchen hacks here). Then continue by eating food alternatives from the food and drink lists below. To flavor foods use lemon juice on salads and Primal Kitchen has a wonderful selection of naturally sugar-free condiments.
Eat Fresh Fruit or Dark Chocolate
At first, this might feel like a task that his hard to defeat but the truth is you will start to notice a decrease in sugar cravings as you change your diet. What you don't eat you start to not crave! If you start to crave something sweet, try eating fresh fruit like an apple, strawberries, blueberries or even frozen red grapes are a delicious treat. Many times the body is craving a nutrient, vitamin or mineral rather than the substance itself. For example, if you crave milk chocolate try eating 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter or a small piece of dark chocolate (1 ounce). Peanut butter contains magnesium which is a mineral that is also in chocolate. Or enjoy that small ounce of dark chocolate which is rich in antioxidants and actually good for you!
Do Not Consume Refined and Added Simple Sugar
It is important to note that refined and added sugar comes in many forms such white sugar and white bread, which is a carb that breaks down into glucose (sugar) [source]. When detoxing from sugar it is always important to eliminate breads and starches for a proper cleanse.
Avoid Soda and Sugary Beverages
If you are a person who is addicted to soda (I am first to admit that is me!) start sipping on infused waters throughout the day. Below are my favorite drink alternatives I suggest to help cut sugar cravings.
Hot Tip: Get a SODA STREAM: This is so helpful for a soda addict and I can not recommend enough purchasing a soda stream to make homemade bubble water or sparkling water. I religiously use mine every day and have 3 extra back-up CO2 containers because this way I get a soda fix without the sugar. It helps soda cravings and you can add sparkling water to the first four recipes listed below in place of regular water.
Sugar-free drink alternatives
These beverage alternatives are much better that sodas or sugary juices. They are all-natural and help to satisfy a sweet tooth when craving sugary drink.
- Fruit Infused Waters - Sip on any of these instead of soda. They are naturally sweetened with fresh fruit and herbs.
- Cranberry Juice Detox Water - Helps to flush out and cleanse the body.
- Cucumber Water - A tasty and refreshing beverage that is naturally sweet from orange slices.
- Lemon Cucumber Mint Water
- Lemon Water - I highly suggest this article, to read all about the benefits of drinking lemon water!
- Celery Juice - 100% celery juice and naturally slightly sweet!
- Detox Beet Juice Recipe
- Green Detox Juice for Weight Loss (Blender & Juicer)
Sugar detox food list
- Protein - Eat lots of lean protein from seafood and organic meats such as lean ground meat, chicken, turkey, and salmon. Eggs are also a nutritional source of protein.
- Plants - Eat the colors of the rainbow. Enjoy lots of fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Satisfying Salads - Try these salad recipes: Detox Salad (Chopped Kale Salad) and Detox Citrus Salad.
- Fats - Enjoy healthy fats such as that from avocados, nuts and seeds.
- For a 10-day sugar detox, try eliminating any whole grains as well for the first 7 days. After day 7, start adding in quinoa and brown rice.
Side effects warnings and symptoms
Detoxing from sugar can come with potential side effects that include low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and nausea. Sugar detox headaches are also very common just like when you stop drinking coffee cold turkey. To prevent these negative effects it is important to eat small balanced meals about 6 times per day to keep sugar and energy levels up. Make sure they are all clean wholesome foods from the lists above. If you start to feel "off", ramp up your water intake and try drinking lemon cucumber water. Remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Side effects may be on and off for up to 2 weeks and hydrating helps.
It is never a good thing to be controlled by something or a substance and sugar is addicting. The more we have it the more we want it. Sugar rots teeth, causes weight gain, and can throw hormones out of wack. Doing a sugar detox will help break sugar cravings and revamp the brain to want other foods instead.
Sugar in the blood can make you dehydrated so drinking more water can help you urinate out excess sugars and balance pH levels.
You may not feel great for the first 2 weeks then after that cravings start to subside. Try to stick with a sugar detox for at least 21 days. Think of it this way, it takes 90 days to rewire the brain and break a habit, so 21 days is doable, right!
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