Being a sugar addict is definitely not a good thing because refined sugar is known to lead to the creation of addictive patterns in the brain and negatively influence on the whole body. Sadly, the average American citizen eats between 22 and 30 tsp of sugar per day. To put an end to the hold sugar has over us, it is never a bad option to detox the body from sugar. The detoxification process is based on cutting all sugar sources from your diet, both the natural and artificial one.
The Difference between Natural and Added Sugar
As the name itself reveals, natural sugars are naturally present in fruits and veggies and when bound to other nutrients such as fiber and protein, they are easily broken down and are a healthy energy source.
On the other hand, added sugars are refined and during the process, their nutrients are taken out and what remains are empty calories. This sugar is present in processed foods and drinks. They do trigger a short rise in energy, but this quickly ends and it is known as a sugar crash that leads to a sudden spike in blood sugar and increase in insulin, followed by a drop in blood sugar, which results in hunger.
When combined with a sedentary lifestyle, this vicious circle can cause serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, and high levels of oxidative stress.
Why is Refined Sugar Addictive?
According to studies, this addiction is very similar to a drug addiction because when we eat sugar, the body secrets dopamine and opioids that stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain, similarly to drugs. And, the process of giving up artificial sugar has withdrawal symptoms, though they are less intense than the ones caused by a withdrawal from hard drugs like heroin.
The Advantages of Sugar Detox
Cleansing the body of all harmful sugar is beneficial in so many different ways. Namely, it will trigger weight loss, reduce headaches, elevate your energy levels, and improve your overall health. When your sugar tolerance is restored, apples will start feeling like candy. What’s more, when you give up sugar completely, cakes, donuts, cupcakes, etc. will no longer attract you like they did before.
How to Properly Do the Sugar Detox
For optimal effects, the cleansing should last for a full month and since restaurant food is often full of added sugar, you should make your own food and plan meals ahead. For example, plan your weekly menu on a Sunday and then purchase the necessary ingredients.
Foods you should avoid:
- Foods with a high GI
- Ice cream
- Soda drinks
- Energy drinks
- Foods that have hidden sugar like dressings, pasta sauces, granola bars, cereals, canned fruits, smoothies, etc.
- Condiments like ketchup
- Foods made from bleached white flour like bagels, bread, pasta, cereals, and crackers
- Starchy veggies like corn, sweet and white potatoes, pumpkin, and squash
- Bananas, pineapples, watermelons, and dried fruits
- Artificial sweeteners
Foods to eat:
- Veggies like dark leafy and cruciferous ones
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Avocados, olives, coconut oil
- Alternative healthy grains like quinoa, buckwheat, kamut, millet, etc.
What Happens after the Detox?
At this time, it is crucial not to go back to your previous bad habits and whenever you crave a sweet treat, opt for a natural alternative. Instead of sugar, add honey, molasses, stevia, or maple syrup to your cup of coffee. One thing’s for sure; you will feel and look much better and you should make this new habit a way of life, not just a permanent solution.