The Sugar Detox Challenge
You’ve probably heard of a detox diet before. However, have you ever considered a sugar detox? Whether you’ve thought about fasting, following a juice detox, or even a cleansing regimen to help you lose weight, getting a handle on sugar addiction is just as important. Of course, sticking with any type of detox diet over a long period of time is not recommended, but learning how to curb your cravings and eat healthier can provide long-term benefits, and a healthier lifestyle that’s sustainable.
Reducing the amount of sugar you consume can help you lose weight, have more radiant skin, and can even improve your health. Sugar can lead to serious health problems; in fact, it is one of the leading causes of heart disease. Additionally, it can negatively affect your skin, causing premature aging; and, of course, it can also cause you to gain weight. Fortunately, a sugar detox can get you back on track.
Why You Need a Sugar Detox
When we eat sugar, it makes us feel good. It’s like a little boost; but this sugar high is often followed by a crash. This crash causes us to want more sugar. It’s an ongoing, destructive cycle. It’s a dependency — an addiction. It can be a hard habit to break, but a sugar detox can help you break the cycle.
According to Robert Lustig, a professor of pediatrics and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, approximately 10% of the U.S. population are seriously addicted to sugar. There are even studies that suggest that the rewards and cravings caused by sugar are very similar in intensity to those that that are brought on by addictive drugs.
A big problem is the fact that most people have a diet that is loaded with sugar. Many foods now have hidden sugar. Some sources of sugar are quite obvious, such as cake, cookies, and ice cream; however, sugar is hidden in everything from tomato sauce and bread to salad dressings and soup. Many people are not even aware that the foods that they thought were healthy are actually loaded with sugar. So, basically, we’re consuming sugar all day long.
The Sugar Detox Plan
Whether you’re a sugar addict or not, when you eliminate sugar from your daily diet you’ll quickly see those unwanted pounds just melt away. You’ll not only look more radiant, but you’ll also feel better too. In the beginning, it’s best to go cold turkey. It might be hard, especially the first few days, but eventually you’ll begin to taste the natural sugars in vegetables, fruits, and even dairy.
For the first 3 days of your sugar detox, eliminate all starchy vegetables (such as peas, sweet potatoes, and corn), as well as all fruit, alcohol, and any added sugars, including artificial sweeteners. So, basically, you’ll be eating a diet of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables.
After the 3 Day Sugar Detox
Once you’ve completed the first 3 days of your sugar detox, your palate will no longer be dulled by the abundance of sugar. You’ll now begin to slowly add foods back into your diet. You will have a new appreciation for healthy food options as you notice the sweetness in natural foods start to shine through.
Once you’ve completed the first 3 days of your sugar detox, you can add a small apple, and one dairy item to your daily diet. By day 4, these foods are going to taste like a special treat. Now, the natural sweetness in foods will begin to shine through. Make sure you choose a dairy product that is unsweetened and that is full-fat. When you remove the fat from dairy, it increases the rate at which your body absorbs the sugar. A little fat will help to slow this process down.
During this first week following your 3 day detox, you can also add vegetables with a higher sugar content, such as carrots or snow peas. Additionally, during week one, a daily serving of no sugar added, high fiber crackers as well as 3 glasses of red wine can be added.
This week you can add an extra dairy serving as well as a single serving of berries. You can also begin to add starchy vegetables back into your diet.
During week 3, begin to add more fruit, including clementines and grapes. You can also begin introducing grains like oatmeal, barley, and quinoa. By the time you get to week 3, you’ll find that the sugar detox is no longer quite as challenging. You can even add in some dark chocolate (1 oz per day), and another glass of red wine, if you like.
This is the week that begins the maintenance part of your sugar detox. You can include 2 starches each day, including rice and bread, as well as high fiber crackers. There are no fruits that are off limits, and you can up your weekly wine servings to 5 glasses. You can even have a sandwich, which will help you discover how you can incorporate these new flavorful foods into a comforting and satisfying meal.
It is now time to add in an occasional indulgence, just be careful that you don’t go overboard. Remember, a little sugar isn’t going to bring you back to the addictive sugar behavior you’ve worked so hard to overcome; however, overindulging can put you right back to square one.
Once you’ve completed week 4, you’ve been on the sugar detox for 31 days. That’s a remarkable accomplishment, and one you should be very proud of having achieved. Now, it’s time to maintain your healthier eating habits for long term weight loss and health benefits.
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