Detoxing from sugar altogether may seem like a radical step but it’s easy to understand why, for some people, just cutting down on sugar isn’t enough.
One of the major negative consequences of sugar consumption is weight gain, but in addition to this, sugar is linked to mood swings and is highly addictive.
Unfortunately, more and more each day, you see that sugar is everywhere and not going away anytime soon.
If you don’t believe me, check for yourself.
Check the labels of foods in your cupboards for sugars lurking in products you would never have expected. It is important to remember than when we talk about ‘sugar’ in this article, I’m referring to sucrose and fructose not glucose.
(Photo: Uwe Hermann. via flickr/CC Attribution)
The Good News
The good news is, the longer you have sugar out of your system the less you will crave it.
A detox doesn’t need to mean a permanent change in diet but rather a re-setting of the way your body gets energy and a re-setting of the way it asks for this energy.
You’ll begin to feel far more energetic as you won’t be subjected to the energy highs and lows that sugar produces.
You will also notice other benefits, such as improved complexion and younger looking skin, as sugar kills off collagen in the skin.
There are a number of things you can look for to alert you that your blood sugar levels are out of balance:
- Tiredness after eating
- Needing caffeine for energy
- Cravings for sugar or bakery products
- Dizziness when missing meals
- Continued cravings for sugar even after eating some
- Problems losing weight
Going through life with unbalanced blood sugar levels can lead to problems with insulin production, and this may develop into more serious medical problems such as diabetes and insulin resistance.
How to Sugar Detox
Now, before you embark on your sugar detox, it’s important to remember that at first, your cravings for sugar will intensify, but after the fourth day you should start to crave sugar less and less until eventually you barely crave it at all.
It’s important to keep this in mind throughout those first few days as they are likely to be very tough!
A sugar detox can last one week but 28 days is recommended for a more effective detox. It is important to start again from day 1 if you slip-up during these 28 days. Sounds harsh I know but this is a cleanse rather than a diet!
During the 28 days of the detox, other than eliminating sugar and simple carbohydrates, it is important to eat more complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, healthy fats and essential fatty acids. Taken together, these steps will help you rebalance your blood sugar levels whilst also minimising your cravings for sugar.
Food lists for Your Sugar Detox
Let’s break it down further so you know exactly what you should and should not be eating to eliminate sugar from your diet.
For starters, here it the list of food to avoid while on a sugar detox:
- Bakery Products – Avoid all bakery products made from white flour
- Carbohydrates – Avoid white pasta, wheat pasta and white rice. Also avoid potatoes
- Cereals/Grains – Avoid any cereal/grains not listed below, this includes millet and buckwheat
- Dairy Products – Avoid all dairy, this includes cheese, yoghurt and creamy sauces
- Fruit – Avoid all fruit not listed below
- Liquids – Avoid alcohol, fruit juice and other sweetened beverages
- Diet drinks – Especially avoid these as they contain artificial sweeteners
- Sugar: Avoid all sugars, these include sucrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, honey, maple syrup and agave nectar. Also avoid artificial sweeteners.
- Other: Avoid MSG and trans fats. Also avoid soy, hydrogenated oil and vinegar. Definitely avoid fried foods.
So what can you eat?
Here’s the list of approved foods while on a sugar detox:
- All Herbs and Spices.
- All Vegetables except starchy sources of carbohydrates like corn, sweet potatoes and yams.***
- Wild and Brown Rice.
- Fruit: Avocado, Lemon, Lime, Tomatoes and all Berries.
- Meat: Organic turkey, chicken, beef, lamb. Wild salmon and other fish.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Oils: Coconut oil, Olive oil, Ghee and Butter.
During and Following Your Detox
There are a few important steps you can take to support you in your detox.
First, it may be wise to start your detox on Friday evening/Saturday morning as you are likely to feel very tired for the first couple of days.
Second, avoid caffeine or switch to green tea, as it has amazing health properties and can act as a substitute for your morning hot drink.
It’s advisable to take a multi-vitamin, particularly one with high levels of Vitamin C, as this can help detoxify the body.
Lastly, drinking water is really important, staying hydrated can combat fatigue and assist with detox.
After you have completed your 28 day detox you can gradually add fruit and natural sweeteners (agave nectar/stevia) into your diet.
However, try to continue avoiding sucrose, fructose and wheat.
Negative Symptoms During Detox
Some people experience negative symptoms during the first few days of their detox.
It is important you are aware of these symptoms, and that they do not last forever – they are just signals that your body is readjusting.
Symptoms resulting from a sugar detox can include:
- Bad breath
- Body odor
- Flu-like symptoms
- Problems sleeping
As previously stated, these will pass, and the benefits of the detox will more than make up for a few days of discomfort.
However, there are some things you can do to ease these symptoms.
If you are feeling exceptionally tired allow yourself time for naps, and use exercise as a way of giving yourself an energy boost.
If you have an upset stomach try ginger or peppermint tea.
If you are experiencing headaches make sure you are drinking enough water.
Use nuts and seeds as a healthy snack if you do feel extremely hungry at any point in the day.
Planning Your Detox
So there you have it, everything you need to know to embark on your own 28 day detox.
There are a few practical considerations you might want to think about before you begin.
First, you could encourage a friend to do the detox with you. You may find it far easier to go through the cleanse with the support of someone else.
Second, remove all banned foods from your house, they may prove too much of a temptation particularly during the first few days, and you’ll be heartbroken if you slip-up and have to start from day one again!
Last, think of when would be a practical time to start your cleanse, if you’re about to go to a wedding, on holiday or to a close friend’s birthday party it might be difficult, or impossible, to stick to such a limited diet.
Four weeks without many commitments and social engagements will prove to be a much easier time to adhere to the detox.
All that being said, good luck – you can do it!
Keep your goal in mind throughout: curbing your sugar cravings, re-balancing your blood sugar levels and feeling healthier, more energetic and more emotionally stable are definitely worth 28 difficult days without sugar!!
If you want a more in-depth How To Sugar Detox guide, go here to purchase Fuel Fantastic Sugar Cleanse: Free yourself of sugar’s grasp in 21 days or less!