Do you feel tired and sluggish every day? Do you have constant aches and pain for no particular reason? You may be suffering from excess sugar in your diet. We know that continuous consumption of refined sugar can lead to serious health complications such as kidney damage. Avoiding sugary foods and snacks is easier said than done for those with constant sugar cravings and even sugar addictions. We’ll take a look at some sugar detox diet benefits and share tips on the best way to detox from sugar.
A sugar detox program is intended to teach you the benefits of avoiding refined sugar, the hidden sugar in processed food products, and tasty substitutes that will hopefully quash your craving for sugar. By following a sugar detox plan, you may have more lasting energy and improved mental, physical, and dental health.
13 Benefits of Sugar Detox
There are various sugar detox diet plans that have flooded the market over the past 10 years. We have collected a few of the findings of two health care professionals for this list of sugar detox benefits. Dr. Mark Hyman is the author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet and Traci D. Mitchell wrote the Belly Burn Plan book.
1. Better Health
Refined sugar can promote the growth of harmful bacteria in your stomach and produce inflammation. By consuming less sugar, you may avoid symptoms and diseases such as irritable bowel, indigestion, and diabetes.
2. Prevent Heart Attack
Eliminating sugar and toxins may improve the health of your heart. By eating processed foods with high sugar content, you are at a 400% higher risk for a heart attack, according to a 2015 study referenced by the Mayo Clinic.
We reach for a sugary snack to calm a rumbling tummy, but within a short time, the hunger is back—and even more forceful. Foods high in sugar content give a false sense of satiety. By consuming foods that do not stimulate a rise in blood sugars or insulin, you will feel fuller longer.
By cleansing your body of bad sugars and maintaining a diet of clean eating, you may experience increased energy throughout the day.
5. Good Mood
Sugar has been shown to lead to issues of depression and anxiety. The British Journal of Psychiatry published a study of middle-aged men and women who followed either a processed food diet or a healthy diet. Those consuming a high amount of refined sugar products were found to be more at risk of depression than those eating healthy.
6. Weight Loss
We have been told by different studies that weight is measured by the number of calories we ingest compared to the number of calories we burn. This does not mean you can eat refined sugar as long as you burn it off. In fact, refined sugar causes an imbalance of insulin and inflammation, effectively storing bad fat. Sugar detox weight loss, by ridding your body of sugar, will balance your insulin levels, blood sugar levels, and metabolism. This may help shed those unwanted pounds and keep them off.
7. Kill Cravings
By eliminating the toxins and refined sugar from your system, you can avoid those sugar cravings that appear suddenly. One of the key tools to stop cravings is to maintain your blood sugar levels. For many people, the craving is an addiction and by feeding that craving with good sugar found in natural foods, you can overcome a refined sugar addiction.
8. Less Wrinkles
When combined with protein, refined sugar creates a glycation product that can cause visible damage on the outside of our body as well as the inside. As the protein oxidizes, we can see dry wrinkled skin. The collagen that protects the tissue of our skin cells can also be damaged by consumption of excess sugar. Your skin has a better chance to appear young and healthy with no sugar effects.
9. Save Money
Although you may believe processed foods are saving you money with the high costs of many healthy food choices, it is actually quite the opposite. While the initial cost of purchasing the refined sugar is cheaper, you may end up spending more money by taking medication and missing paid work days as you combat related illnesses. You will also save money upfront by learning to cook healthy meals rather than ordering take-out food filled with refined sugars.
10. Better Sex
Our sex drive is associated with the interactions of our sex hormones, insulin levels, and any existing toxins. Our sex hormone balance can be affected by stress, environmental toxins, tobacco, and alcohol use. By following a sugar detox plan, you remove the harmful sugar toxins that lead to imbalances, which may improve your overall sex drive.
11. Discover Yourself
As you clear the toxins from your body, you also clear your mind with a sugar detox. It is recommended to keep a detailed journal of your meals, workouts, sleep patterns, and any relaxation methods performed. As you become a healthier you, you may also discover your inner desires and goals.
12. Simplify Food Choices
There are three simple food categories with a sugar detox. Maintain a diet of healthy fats, non-starch vegetables, and quality proteins to eliminate the refined sugars and toxins. As foods in this plan can be combined in numerous ways, you may want to incorporate them into your regular healthy diet plan once you finish the detox plan.
13. Be a Role Model
They say one of the best ways to inspire others is to become the model yourself. A sugar detox plan may alleviate and even eliminate ailments and diseases, if not prevent further complications. Friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances will wonder if they will be able to help their own health issues by following your footsteps. Imagine being the healthy role model in the lives of your children, grandchildren, and others.
Foods to Avoid for a Sugar Detox Diet
To help you have a successful plan, we have compiled a sugar detox food list of foods to avoid eating. Once the no-sugar days are completed, you can gradually introduce foods with natural sugar such as raw honey and fruit.
All grains such as bread, rice, noodles, cereal, wheat, barely, flour, oatmeal, millet, buckwheat, pasta, and tortillas are forbidden.
Toss out all those dairy products, including milk, buttermilk, cream, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, butter, and Kefir.
Most processed meats such as deli slices, sausage, and beef jerky are also off limits for the sugar detox.
Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, with a moderate amount of grape tomatoes, beets and carrots allowed.
You will have to cut out most fruits, fruit juice, and dried fruit, with the exception of lemon, lime, avocado, and Goji berries. A granny apple or a green-tipped banana is allowed once a day.
No surprise here! Get rid of all sweets such as sugar, cane sugar, sucrose, fructose, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, Agave nectar, honey, cane juice, cake, candy, and chocolate, apart from 100% dark chocolate.
All condiments such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, mayonnaise, vinegar, salad dressings, and barbeque sauce are strictly prohibited.
Eliminate all fat products such as trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and those foods that are fried.
Go dry by dumping all alcoholic products including wine, beer, and spirits.
You may be wondering what is left to eat and we have that answer as well. Enjoy an unlimited amount of:
- Organic poultry and meat
- Fish and seafood
- Miracle noodles
- Sashimi with no sauce
- Vegetable juice
- Brown rice
- Coconut and olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Ghee, clarified butter
Recipe Ideas for a Sugar Detox Diet
1. Spinach and Mushroom Omelette
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
In a bowl, whisk the eggs, sea salt, and pepper. In a medium non-stick skillet, add the extra virgin olive oil and sauté the spinach and mushrooms. Drain and remove from skillet. Add half of the eggs to the skillet and add spinach and mushroom mixture as eggs start to firm, Fold and cook on the other side. Repeat for second egg.
2. French Green Lentils with Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes, and Red Onions
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth, homemade
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- ¼ cup sliced red onions
- 12-14 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt, pinch
Add vegetable broth and lentils to a sauce pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Lower to medium and simmer for 13 minutes before adding the sea salt and simmer for another to minutes. Drain the lentils and add to a bowl of onions, spinach, and tomatoes.
Tips for a Successful Sugar Detox Plan
Cutting out sugar from your everyday diet may sound easier than it actually is. To help you along, we have a few tips for a successful sugar detox diet.
In the early stages of the detox diet, you may find you have both physical and mental cravings for the sugary taste. To offset the craving, start the detox during a time when temptation may not be so great such as the first day of the workweek. We often have more of an opportunity to eat sweets on the weekend and special holidays.
2. Quit Cold Turkey-Style
A bit harsh to hear, but sugar is an addictive product, and the craving can be controlled by your hormones. Avoid all sugar products including sweeteners and fruit for 10 days to be able to curb your taste and cravings for the future.
3. Avoid Hidden Sugars
To ensure you stay away from hidden sugars, do not consume any packaged foods, sauces, condiments, grains, and alcohol, as these stimulate cravings. Remember your fluids and avoid soda, energy drinks, and sweetened drinks.
4. Discover New Tastes
Enjoy discovering the raw, natural taste of healthy fats and protein-rich foods such as eggs, fish, greens, and nuts. Instead of a burst of energy from a sugary snack, you can maintain high energy levels throughout the day, as these healthy choices will stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels.
5. Breathe and Rest
Before each meal, take five slow, deep breaths to help your body prepare for the energy food. Be sure to have a good night’s sleep to rest the body and store your energy for the next day.
Sugar Detox Diet Precautions
The idea of a sugar detox diet plan comes with controversy like all other diets that call for exclusion of a particular product. Various experts disagree with eliminating all sugars such as Nia Shanks, a writer, coach, and graduate of the University of Louisville Exercise Physiology bachelor program, who shares her views on her official web site. Shanks believes the sugar detox can lead to weight gain, binge eating and other eating disorders, and is unrealistic for most people in the long-term. While Shanks says it is not necessary to avoid sugar consumption, she does believe it should be used in moderation.
A sugar detox diet should be thoroughly understood and planned before starting. If you choose to eliminate toxins and sugar from your body and regular diet, be sure you follow an authorized plan. By cleansing your body, you may experience physical, mental, and emotional changes as food is our energy source. Any sugar cravings can be diminished with natural substitutes.
Hyman, M., “10 Incredible Health Benefits of a Sugar Detox,” Ecowatch, July 7, 2015; http://www.ecowatch.com/10-incredible-health-benefits-of-a-sugar-detox-1882063339.html, last accessed April 17, 2017.
Mitchell, T., “5 Benefits of a Sugar Detox,” Chicago Now, February 11, 2015; http://www.chicagonow.com/get-fit-chicago/2015/02/5-benefits-of-a-sugar-detox/, last accessed April 17, 2017.
“Save Time. Save Money. Eat Sugar-Free,” Sugar Detox Me; http://www.sugardetox.me/recipes/, last accessed April 17, 2017.
“Top 10 Big Ideas: How To Detox From Sugar,” Dr. Hyman; http://drhyman.com/blog/2014/03/06/top-10-big-ideas-detox-sugar/, last accessed April 17, 2017.
“Foods To Avoid on 21 Day Sugar Detox,” Paleontastic, May 4, 2014; http://paleontastic.com/foods-to-avoid/, last accessed April 17, 2017.
Shanks, N., “7 Reasons Why You Should Not do a Sugar Detox,” Nia Shanks, July 2, 2015; http://www.niashanks.com/sugar-detox/, last accessed April 17, 2017.
Akbaraly, T.., et al., “Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age,” The British Journal of Psychiatry, November 2009; https://dx.doi.org/10.1192%2Fbjp.bp.108.058925, last accessed April 17, 2017.