Sugar Detox Plan: What To Eat During A Sugar Detox
Certain phenomena happen so predictably that they have become ordained laws of nature. For example, we know gravity will always bring things back down to Earth, and the Sun will rise each and every morning. Similarly, eating a lot of sugar will make us crave even more sugaror thats at least how it seems.
Science backs up this seemingly inevitable sugar-craving cycle. Studies show that we can become biologically addicted to sugar, just as we would other substances like drugs or alcohol, which might explain why statistics on sugar consumption are so staggering. A report from the University of California San Francisco explains that the recommended daily sugar consumption is no more than six teaspoons, or 25 grams. However, the average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons or 82 grams, per day. Its scary stuff.
Ready for a meal plan that will help you ditch sugar from your diet? Read on to learn what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during a sugar detox.
Meet the Expert
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The Effects Of Sugar On Your Body
If the start of your day consists of going to your nearest coffee shop and grabbing a powdered doughnut and an extra sweet coffee, chances are your daily sugar intake could be high. On average, Americans consume 270 calories of added sugars per day, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To put that into perspective, this is about 17 teaspoons of sugar dailythe maximum daily added sugar intake should be no more than 9 teaspoons and 6 teaspoons for men and women, respectively.
Too much sugar in your diet can influence your likelihood of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease. But this does not mean you cannot have sugar at all. The American Heart Association says it is better to add a small amount of sugar to improve the taste of foods, such as whole-grain cereal, rather than opting for foods that are already highly sweetened.
However, if youre looking to cut sugar out of your diet, either completely or temporarily, it can lead to noticeable changes in your body and with your mood.
We spoke with health experts who weigh in on how not eating sugar can lead to several improvements.
You May Feel Fatigued
While white bread isnt the healthiest way to get enough carbohydrates, eating whole-grain and sprouted bread in moderation will give your body more energy.
Being rich in fiber, iron, and magnesium, these foods will help you feel full and energized, and may even help you get enough energy to hit the gym after a busy day at work.
Since bread can be used for energy, giving it up entirely means youll have to find another source of energy elsewhere. When we feel tired and run down, we naturally reach for foods that can give us a quick boost of energy, like sweets and sugary drinks.
While eating bread in moderation wont make you pack on extra pounds, eating cookies and chocolates when youre feeling exhausted definitely can.
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Your Moods May Be Better
If you previously dealt with mood swings, stabilizing your blood sugar may help you feel more even-keeled, says Young. And if you previously reached for candy as a mental pick-me-up in the middle of a stress-filled workday, youre best leaving that habit behind. A 2019 study that looked at carbohydrate consumption and mood found a sugar rush isnt a mood-booster, but it does make you foggy-headed and sleepy within the hour.
Treatment For Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms
Sugar withdrawal doesnt really require long-term treatment, because it will pass relatively quickly. The main problem is sustaining a low-sugar diet. These restrictive diets are too much for most people, so dont feel guilty if this eating pattern doesn’t work for you.
The key to changing your eating pattern is to find something you can live with long-term. If going sugar-free for three weeks is going to make you binge next month, try a less drastic plan.
A diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help you sustain a healthy weight while giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. Try to avoid processed foods, as they tend to be packed with added sugars. Instead, get your sweet fix from something that contains fiber, like berries, oranges, or apples.
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Joint Pain And Inflammation Decrease
Joint pain and inflammation will decrease as your sugar levels decrease.
Refined and processed sugars can either cause or contribute to inflammation in many different ways.
In addition to making autoimmune disorders worse, the increase of sugar into the body causes insulin levels to rise and insulin can cause inflammation to worsen, which inadvertently leads to joint pain as well as other bodily pains.
The less sugar you eat, the less inflamed your joints will be, giving you much relief.
Your Skin May Clear Up If You Quit Sugar
According to a paper published in 2014 in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, between 12 and 22 percent of women and 3 percent of men continue to experience acne into adulthood. If youve been dealing with breakouts through your 20s, 30s, and beyond, cutting out added sugar could be the solution youve been searching for.
One explanation for the link between sugar and acne, as proposed in a 2008 study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, is that eating sugar causes a spike in blood sugar, which requires the body to release insulin. Insulin encourages the release of androgens , a known cause of acne. Insulin may also trigger the production of other substances that stimulate the body to produce more pore-clogging sebum .
This connection between sugar and acne has been noted in a number of studies, including a paper published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2014. The researchers found that individuals with no or mild acne ate significantly less added sugar and total sugar than those with moderate to severe acne.
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Ever Wondered What Would Happen If You Quit Eating Sugar For A Month Read On To Know More
Written by Arushi Bidhuri|Updated : November 27, 2020 6:44 PM IST
When you love something enough, you might think you are an addict. For instance, you might have a serious need for a certain food. But when it comes to ingredients like sugar, the word ‘addiction’ begins to have a whole other meaning. Increased consumption of refined sugar can increase the risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and impact cognitive function. So, it would be a nice idea to eliminate added sugar from your diet. But how will it affect your body?
Ways To Replace Sugar And Enjoy Your Meal
Add protein to your diet
What can stop you from grabbing the sugar foods? Maybe something that makes you feel filled can reduce your sweet cravings. Try adding healthy protein sources with a needed portion. You can take the foods that are less in carbs and high in proteins for a tasty sugar free meal. Unsweetened yogurt, tofu, eggs and nuts are the best source of protein.
2. Include natural sugars
Next way to make your sugar free diet healthy is to add natural sugars. You have fruits, maple syrup, coconut water and dates. Always, you must look for the substitutes are jaggery, honey. These ingredients can be part of your dessert recipes.
3. Add spices
As it is a sugar free diet you find less substitutes. You can sprinkle the spices to your meals as a replacement of sugars. Some of the spices are cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon. Spices also give you the large amount of nutrients and energy that compensates for your non sugar diet.
4. Focus on whole foods
The one who is on no sugar diet must eat whole foods to make it all healthy. Processed foods again show the negative effects like inflammation, obesity and many other health complications. Eating whole foods in small amounts for each meal can help you with controlling your cravings. This is a healthy and amazing way to make your sugar free meals tasty as well.
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You Wont Ride On The Blood Sugar Rollercoaster
If you replace the sugar calories with good-for-you, fiber-rich carbs like fruit and increase your intake of satiating protein and healthy fats, the change will help stabilize your blood sugar, says Lisa Young, PhD, RD, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. Thats the biggest effect to cutting back on sugar: with fewer highs and lows in your blood sugar, you may feel less lethargic and more energetic, says Young. Goodbye, afternoon slump.
What Might Happen If You Stop Eating Bread Altogether
When youre planning to start eating healthy, bread is often one of the first foods you want to exclude from your diet. But when it comes to carbs, grains arent the same, and while ditching white bread may help you shed a few pounds, cutting out whole-grain bread can deplete your body with much-needed nutrients.
We love our delicious toast and were not ready to give it up, so we decided to find out what happens if you decide to give up bread altogether.
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Eliminating Sugar From Your Diet Can Improve The Overall Quality Of Your Sleep In The Long Run
Breaking up with sugar won’t solve your sleep problems overnight, but in a few weeks time you should notice yourself falling into a deeper sleep, Glatter said. This is because foods containing high amounts of refined sugars reduce the degree of slow wave sleep , the restorative sleep that consolidates memories and information learned throughout the day, and rapid eye movement sleep, the dream phase.
Eating less sugar will reduce the number of times you wake up during the night, and improve your sleep quality overall.
Your Oral Health Improves
Your mouth and dental health will begin to improve immediately. When you consume sugar, especially in liquid form, much of it adheres to your teeth, even if you swish your mouth afterward.
Bacteria immediately latch onto this sugar and begin to eat it, after which acid is produced. The acid begins to eat away at the enamel found on teeth and thus begins a horrid cycle for your mouth. Cavities, gum disease and gingivitis are well on their way.
Even brushing immediately after consuming sweets is a bad idea, because it makes your enamel softer and more prone to being brushed away.
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What Happens To Your Body When You Quit Eating Sugar
How Sugar Affects The Brain
Addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine produce a high because they either masquerade as neurotransmitters or prompt the nervous system to release a flood of them. These kinds of changes in brain chemistry lead to dependence, withdrawal, and addiction.
Sugar triggers a release of endorphins, the natural opioids that are widely recognized for reducing pain after youre injured and boosting happiness after you exercise. Sugar also triggers a release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter linked to cravings.
In animal studies, researchers have found that sugar withdrawal mirrors withdrawal from other drugs, like cocaine and heroin. But animals seem to be more prone to “sugar addiction” than we are. In one study, when given a choice between cocaine and sugar, cocaine-addicted rats primarily chose the sugar.
Sugar is a tricky thing. There are sugars in many of the healthy foods you eat, including fruit, bread, and dairy products. When we talk about sugars from a health perspective, what we are usually talking about are the refined sugar added into things like bread, candy, and soda. This includes table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and white flour.
Whether or not you can actually become addicted to, or physically dependent upon, sugar depends largely on your definition of addiction. But it does appear that many people experience withdrawal-like symptoms when they give it up.
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You Could Live Longer If You Give Up Sugar
Eliminating sugar could add years to your life, based on findings from several animal studies. In a 2017 study published in Cell Reports, researchers found that fruit flies fed a high-sugar diet early in life before being switched to a regular diet had a 7 percent shorter lifespan than flies fed a regular diet from birth. The studyâs authors concluded that the sugary diet damaged expression of the FOXO gene, a gene associated with longevity found in a number of species, including humans. Itâs important to note, however, that the researchers fed the flies an amount of sugar far greater than what would be consumed by even the most diehard human sugar fiend.
Nevertheless, another study suggested that even relatively ânormalâ amounts of added sugar could be cutting our lives short. In a 2013 paper published in Nature Communications, researchers found that female mice who consumed 25 percent of their calories from sugar died at twice the rate of mice fed a regular diet. Although 25 percent may sound like a lot, itâs not far from the typical American diet. Americans consume about 350 calories of added sugar daily 17.5 percent of a standard 2,000calorie diet .
When Youre Addicted To Sugar The Cravings Are Unbearable And Weight Gain Is Inevitable So When I Eliminated Added Sugar From My Diet Completely This Is What Ensued
Ah sugar! There is nothing in the world I love as much as sweet treats. And I am not just talking about chocolates. Right from that jar of condensed milk hiding in my mothers kitchen to hot gulab jamuns dripping with sugar syrupI can nosh on it all for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
But as happy sugar makes my taste buds, its absolutely terrible for my body. No surprises there, right? I mean from a lot of weight gain to an increased risk of diabetesmy sugar addiction doled out a slew of health problems for me, including PCOD.
Thats why when the lockdown was announced, I decided to give up sugarin all its formsfor 40 days. Tough feat, I knowbut I gave up biscuits, desserts, sugar granules , chocolates, and basically everything that has added sugar. All I allowed myself to have was fruits and foods with natural sugars.
The first few days were horribleMy system was so high on sugar that by the time the first day of my sugar fast ended, I almost fainted. This despite eating fruits like mangos and bananas which are teeming with natural sugars and not skipping any meals.
Not to mention that the cravings were unbearable. All I wanted to do was binge on chocolates and dig into that can of condensed milk with my fingers. Each time a wave of sugar pangs hit me, I would pop in a sugar-free gum or snack on almonds while waiting for it to subside.
Frankly, kicking out sugar from my life wasnt easybut damn, it was totally worth it!
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Why Do We Crave Sugar
First, its good to know were not lacking in self-control or willpower when it comes to sugar cravings. Our biological addiction to sugar comes from primitive neurochemical reward centers in our brains that light up when we consume sugar, Jackson explains. These reward centers used to help keep us alive by signaling to our bodies that we need to eat more sugar to put on fat and stay alive when food was scarce. Now, food is everywhere, yet our bodies are still programmed to consume sugar when we see it. To counteract this natural response, Jackson says, its important for us to set our bodies up to control these cravings through a healthy diet and lifestyle.
But that doesnt mean quitting sugar all at once. Start by recognizing how much sugar is in the food you are currently eating. Read the labels, look for hidden sugars and stick to more whole foods, advises OConnor. Then, wean yourself off by consuming less of the breads, crackers, chips, and even energy bars, some of which are practically candy bars in disguise. Consuming less sweet and processed foods is the goal, but she cautions against depriving yourself entirely. Although it can be tricky, youve got to stick to your plan. Cold turkey may be easier in the short term because your body isnt responding to sugars incessant and nagging effect on the brain and the body. Still, in most cases, deprivation can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, and in some cases, binging.