For many years, it was assumed fat was the culprit for our society’s obesity problems.
The latest research says it’s not fat, it’s sugar that is linked to the 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.
So why do we crave it so much if it’s so bad for our bodies? Studies show that sugar is addictive, with some reports saying it is up to eight times more addictive than cocaine. This sugar addiction is growing. There are some estimates that say up to 70 percent of Americans are overweight, and one in two have pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes thanks to our sugar addictive ways.
Many people probably wonder if they are addictive to sugar and probably dismiss it. Well, here are a few clues that might tell us a sugar addiction exists. We may be addicted to sugar when:
- We crave certain foods and eat them even when we’re not hungry.
- We make allowances for certain foods even when we know we shouldn’t.
- We feel fatigued, bloated and lack energy after we eat, usually because we overeat.
Just like any addictive substance, detoxing from sugar can be challenging. Anyone doing it will need the motivation and the willpower to stay the course. The first three days are the most challenging, but with determination and mindfulness about what you’re putting in your body, it can be done.
Here are five ways to detox from sugar without making it difficult:
1. Go cold turkey
Going cold turkey sounds difficult but it is the best course of action in a sugar detox. Because sugar is an addictive substance, even some sugar intake will keep the addiction alive and have us craving more. No sugar means eliminating most packaged foods, flours, even whole grain flour, and artificial sweeteners. It’s important 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 negative ingredients. You can use this list as a guide for how some ingredients might be found on food labels.
2. Choose the right carbs
We’re talking the vegetable kind of carbs, specifically vegetables that are lower in starch such as greens, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and more. The vegetables you will want to avoid while you are detoxing from sugar are potatoes, including sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets. Another carb to skip during your detox is grains and beans. The goal is to try to keep your blood sugar levels as low as possible during the detox period.
3. More fat and protein
Stabilize your blood sugar with good fats and protein at every meal and snacks throughout the day. It will help diminish your cravings and keep you feeling full. Good proteins are proteins that are grass-fed and raised without hormones and antibiotics. They include nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken, and meat. While good fats include olive oil, coconut butter, avocados and Omega 3 fats found in fish..
4. Toss trigger foods
We all have foods that are problematic for us and most of us know what they are. Maybe it’s that jar of Nutella on the shelf or the pint of ice cream in the freezer. They are the foods that cause us to turn one spoonful into eating the whole jar or carton in one sitting. Toss your trigger foods in the trash and then empty it. They are too tempting to keep while you are detoxing especially during your first few days. It’s not pretty, but you have to remove the temptation.
5. Get good sleep
Sleep is the best way to recharge and energize our bodies, so we don’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-suppressing. We tend to overeat when we are not well-rested and what we choose to eat when we are tired are sugar and refined carbs. Get a full night’s sleep of at least seven hours to help ease the symptoms of the detox.
Doing these five things will help minimize the effects of a sugar detox. Because sugar is an addictive substance the first days are always the most difficult and it’s important to keep properly hydrated to flush the substance from your system as quickly as possible.
Whatever type of detox you do, keep the extreme portion of it short so it is doable and achievable. It is hard to approach a detox if the time frame seems unrealistic. The biggest problem with a detox that is too long is just quitting and going back to your old ways.
We need to be diligent as we complete any detox. We need to learn to listen to our bodies more and understand our cravings, so we don’t get caught back up in a vicious cycle of poor food choices. And when feel we are losing control, then we start again by repeating the detox. The important thing to remember is that we are doing this to support our long-term health goals. And that it is a marathon, not necessarily a sprint that we will win today.