For many years, people assumed fat was the culprit for society’s obesity problems. However, that theory has changed, and sugar has become a common cause. You can detox from sugar, but it’s hard if you don’t know how to do it.
Research backs the idea that it is sugar that causes high obesity rates. It doesn’t stop at obesity, either. Sugar plays a role in many chronic diseases, including heart failure, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and depression.
While sugar is harmful to your body, you likely still have cravings for it. Studies show that sugar is addictive, with some reports saying it is up to eight times more addictive than some drugs. As if that isn’t bad enough, sugar addiction is growing.
Some estimates say up to 70 percent of Americans are overweight, and one in two have pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes thanks to sugar addiction. Many people probably wonder if they are addicted to sugar but don’t know what to do about it. Learning what a sugar addiction looks like and how to detox from sugar can help you live a healthier life.
How to Know if You Have a Sugar Addiction
There are a few things to watch for if you want to know if you have a sugar addiction. Some signs of sugar addiction are more challenging to notice than others, but you are more likely to recognize the characteristics if you know what to look for.
You’ll want to watch for the following:
- craving certain foods and indulging when you aren’t hungry
- you allow certain foods that you know you shouldn’t
- feeling tired, bloated, and depleted energy after eating.
- frequently overeating
- having an energy slump in the afternoon
- you feel tired most of the time
- making a habit of after-dinner sweets
- you prefer sugary treats with your coffee
- consuming soft drinks and soda frequently
- you don’t enjoy greens
- always choosing sweet food over healthier options
- wanting chewing gum often
- frequently using artificial sweeteners
These habits aren’t easy to overcome, as starting to detox from sugar can be challenging. You’ll need motivation and willpower, but knowing what to watch for will help you.
How Long Should a Sugar Detox Last?
A sugar detox is different for everyone, and it is up to you to decide how long you want it to last. Most of the detoxes last for one or two weeks, but some last for an entire month. When you set your timeframe to detox from sugar, make sure it’s reasonable so that you don’t get burnt out and give up.
Five Easy Ways to Detox from Sugar
Try these easy methods to break this high-carb habit.
1. Go Cold Turkey
Going cold turkey sounds complicated, but it is the best way to go with a sugar detox. Sugar is an addictive substance, so even a little sugar intake will keep the addiction alive and have you craving more. Going cold turkey means eliminating most packaged foods, flours, including whole grain flour and artificial sweeteners.
It’s essential to read labels and pass up anything that contains trans or hydrogenated fats or MSG. The problem with food labels is there are often hidden sources of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
Additionally, when it comes to hidden sugar, you’ll want to watch in some unexpected food sources. Some of your favorite foods that don’t seem sweet contain high amounts of sugar. Get into the habit of reading the labels on any food, even if you assume it’s healthy.
Some of the less apparent foods you should watch out for include the following:
- barbecue sauce
- pasta sauce
- reduced-fat salad dressings
- baked beans
- flavored coffee
Aim to eat only whole, non-processed foods, including these:
- fresh meat
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
- high-fiber foods
Another way you can help yourself when you go cold turkey is to eat regular meals with snacks in between. You don’t want to let yourself get too hungry because extreme hunger can cause poor food choices.
2. Choose The Right Carbs
Some carbs are healthy, but you have to choose the right kind. Carbs from low-starch vegetables are the way to go. You can choose from greens, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and much more.
Avoid carbs from starchy vegetables, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and beets. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid refined and white carbs because they lead to sugar cravings. Avoiding these foods means that you should avoid bagels, chips, French fries, white bread, pretzels, crackers, and pasta.
Starchy foods are complex carbs, and your body breaks them down into simple sugars. It can make your blood sugar spike and crash, resulting in more sugary cravings.
3. More Fat And Protein
Stabilizing your blood sugar helps dimmish cravings and keeps you feeling full. You can stabilize it by consuming good fats and protein at every meal and snack throughout the day.
Good proteins are grass-fed and raised without hormones and antibiotics. They include nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken, and meat. That’s because proteins take longer to digest, which is why they make you feel full longer. Plus, proteins give you an energy boost that lasts for longer than sugar does.
Good fats include olive oil, coconut butter, avocados, and Omega 3 fats found in fish. These fats help control your blood sugar and keep you feeling good throughout the day.
Aim to start your day with a protein-rich breakfast with a healthy fat option, too. Many breakfast options are high in carbs, so be careful to avoid those foods. Instead, opt for things like omelets or poached eggs paired with avocado.
4. Toss Trigger Foods
We all have foods that are more problematic for us, and it’s usually easy to pinpoint them. Whether it’s a tub of ice cream, a bottle of soda, or any other sugary treats, trigger foods are hard to resist. Any food that causes you to over-indulge is a trigger food, and it’s best to get rid of it.
When you detox from sugar, it’s too tempting to keep your trigger foods in the house. The first few days are the hardest, but it’s sometimes best to keep them out of your home for good. It’ll be hard to throw good food in the trash, but it’ll be worth it to remove the temptation.
If you’re a frequent coffee drinker, you’ll want to cut back to one cup a day if you don’t want to eliminate it. Consuming too much caffeine triggers cravings, making the detox from sugar more difficult. It’ll be hard at first, but you’ll quickly notice that you feel better with only one cup of coffee.
Another trigger you should consider eliminating is alcohol. While it’s not a food, alcoholic beverages can trigger sugar cravings. Plus, most of these drinks are full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
5. Get Good Sleep
Sleep is the best way to recharge and energize your body, so you won’t crave the energy that comes from a sugar high. A lack of proper sleep affects our appetite hormones by increasing our hunger hormones and decreasing the hormones responsible for appetite suppression.
People tend to overeat when they aren’t well-rested and what we choose to eat when we are tired are often sugar and refined carbs. Get a whole night of sleep, at least seven hours, to help ease the detox symptoms.
Work on developing a regular sleep schedule and before-bed routine to help you relax a little. As you implement patterns, you’ll find that you can get enough sleep. You can also try mantras that help you sleep better at night.
What About Artificial Sweeteners?
When you give up sugar, you also must give up artificial sweeteners. While they might seem like a good alternative, they are unhealthy. Plus, they can trigger sugar cravings just as much as the real thing would, too.
Using artificial sweeteners also prevents you from curbing your sugar addiction. You’ll still get that taste for sweets, so you’ll never stop craving sugar. The only way to overcome your sugar cravings is by eliminating artificial sweeteners, too.
It’s also important to note that craving something sweet likely means your body requires something nutritious. Opting for something with artificial sweeteners leaves you feeling hungry and wanting more.
What to Look for On a Food Label
When checking your food labels, you must look for more than just the word “sugar” on the ingredients list. Sometimes, sugar is listed as other names, including these:
- Brown rice syrup
- Evaporated cane juice
- Agave nectar
- Malt syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
Final Thoughts on Ways to Detox from Sugar
If you want to live a healthier life and feel better, detoxing from sugar is the way to go. With sugar being highly addictive and the cause of many health concerns, it’s essential to make a change in your life. Remember, the first few days of your sugar detox are the hardest, so keep pushing through, and it’ll pay off.
Stay hydrated during your detox to help flush the sugar out of your system quickly. The sooner it’s gone, the easier it will be to avoid sugar whenever possible. You’ll also quickly find new favorite foods, and healthy options will taste better for you.
As you detox from sugar, stay diligent and listen to your body. By listening to your body, you’ll begin to understand your cravings and determine which vitamin or nutrient you need. As you end the vicious cycle of poor food choices, you’ll quickly feel better overall.