Sugar is one of the most addictive substances in the world and it has a devastating effect on your health. Excessive use contributes to long term health problems and diseases. It seems to be in just about every product you pick up in the supermarket so it is hardly surprising that people are asking how to detox sugar?
A sugar detox simply means avoiding sugar to improve your health but because it is in so many foods it is hard to do so. Because it is so addictive you might not realize how much you were depending on it for a quick energy or mood boost. Shocking statistics reveal that the average American and British person consumes about 150 lbs of sugar a year.
Why do you need to detox sugar?
Your body is designed to use glucose that it obtains from carbohydrate as a fuel for energy. Protein and fat can be used as well but they have to be turned into glucose first. When you eat whole grains, vegetables, beans or lentils the carbohydrates they contain are broken down and the sugars are released slowly into your blood stream. These foods contain the minerals and vitamins that are needed by your cells to convert the glucose into energy.
Refined carbohydrates and sugars like white flour products, white sugar, glucose, honey, syrup, dextrose and high fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, get absorbed rapidly into your blood stream causing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels which triggers the release of the hormone insulin. The refined sugar has been stripped of all its nutrients so your cells have to rob your tissue stores of minerals to turn it into glucose and then energy.
Health problems associated with refined sugar
Although the sudden rush of sugar into your blood stream can give you an quick energy boost it triggers the release of insulin which lowers it and over time as you body becomes depleted of nutrients, your metabolism becomes inefficient resulting in poor energy and weight control. Your liver converts excess sugar to triglycerides (blood fats) and bad cholesterol. Eventually this leads to a number of health problems such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, heart disease, mood swings, yeast overgrowth, osteoporosis, premature aging, poor immunity, degenerative diseases and increased risk of cancer.
A sugar detox is well worth it if you want to lose weight, curb sweet cravings, control diabetes, improve your energy levels, and lower your risk of many health problems. However, if your diet is high in added and hidden sugar you may get some withdrawal symptoms such as headache, fatigue, anxiety, depression, irritability and sleep problems.
How to detox sugar?
Avoid adding sugar to your food and drinks and avoid obviously sweet foods. Read labels to exclude sugar hidden in many processed foods such as ketchup, many sauces, pickles, soups, dips, peanut butter, salad dressings, frankfurters and even bread. Many fruit drinks and sodas are laden with sugar. It’s in everything isn’t it? A real eye opener when you see how much you eat every day.
Don’t panic. There are plenty of other foods you can eat. Replace sugar foods with fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, salad, unsweetened yogurt, almonds, almond butter, a handful of seeds, hummus. It may be hard at first to avoid sugar if you rely a lot on convenience foods but it can be done. Don’t fall into the trap of using artificial sweeteners or buying food or drinks containing them as they are not safe either. Try Stevia, a natural sweetener, instead.
What to eat instead on a sugar detox
Here are a few suggestions: buy plain unsweetened yogurt instead of sweetened and add your own fruit. Take time to make oatmeal for breakfast and add some raisins or other fruit to sweeten instead of having a sweetened cereal. Look out for sugar free muesli. Make your own dressing with virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Replace candy bars with more healthy fruit sweetened bars. Eat fruit instead of dessert.
Eating a diet of whole grains, vegetables, beans and lentils or lean, free range poultry, meat and eggs helps to stabilize blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings. Refined carbohydrates like white flour, white rice and refined cereals have the same effect as sugar.
Reduce the sugars gradually if you have been used to eating high sugar foods as it will take time to get used to the less sweet taste. . For some people high carbohydrate foods can have the same lifting effect as alcohol and cocaine. Sugar and starch addicts say they feel energized, relaxed or comforted. In fact alcohol is a chemical cousin to sugar. It upsets blood sugar too so avoid it when doing a sugar detox.
Nutritional support to reduce sugar cravings
If you have a serious craving for sugar you may have to support your body with nutritional supplements to restore the nutrients that you are lacking. The B vitamins, chromium, zinc and Vitamin C can help with sugar withdrawal symptoms. L-glutamine, an amino acid can help reduce sugar cravings. Try 500mg 30 minutes before meals 3 times a day. Increase dose to 1000mg three times a day if you still get cravings after 1 week. Combine with Chromium 200 mcg three times a day with meals.
Following this sugar detox plan will help you will break any sugar addiction and consume much less of it. As a result you should have more energy, lose weight more easily and improve your health.