After decades of thinking that fat is bad for us, it turns out that it’s actually sugar that can make us overweight.
Plus, sugar intake doesn’t contain the health benefits of other foods. Whether it’s diabetes, heart disease, obesity or weight gain, or even acne, some studies show a connection to sugary foods.
But all the research on the dangers of sugar hasn’t lowered sugar consumption. If anything, we’re eating more sugar than ever before. According to the CDC, the average American consumes about 60 poundsof sugarper year.
But if we know sugar is bad for us, why do we keep eating it? Well, that might be thanks to sugar’s addictive nature. We might think quitting sugar is hard for emotional reasons, but a biological process is at play.
When you eat something high in excess sugar, like an ice cream sundae, your brain’s addiction centers light up. Over time, this can lead to a physical dependence on sugar, causing cravings and withdrawal symptoms — responses similar to an actual drug.
Ultimately, your willpower alone won’t get you to eat less sugar. Instead, you need a complete sugar detox to get this toxin out of your life. If you’re committed to kicking sugar to the curb, here’s a guide from Sweetkick on everything you need to know about doing a sugar detox diet.
1. It Starts With Your Why
We’re not gonna lie: Doing a sugar detox is hard (although it’s totally worth it). To stick to it, having a solid reason why you want to quit sugar is paramount.
If you experience any health problems, which can be anything from brain fog to bloating, then it’s worth it to look deep into the root causes. You may be surprised to find that eating lots of sugar could be the main culprit affecting your overall health.
For instance, many doctors talk about acne as a skin disorder, but some researchers have linked acne to high blood sugar levels.
Even if you have no noticeable conditions, sugar can affect your health in many ways. For example, if you feel sluggish after eating, get extremely light-headed if you skip a meal, or eat when you’re not hungry, then a sugar habit can be to blame here.
Imagine if you ate only when hungry, felt more balanced energy levels, had the appearance of brighter skin, and had feelings of clarity What kind of lifestyle changes would you want to make then?
If you see the amazing potential health benefits of quitting sugar, sticking to a detox meal plan will be much easier — and can even help you get back on track if you hit an obstacle.
2. It’s Impossible To Have Just a Little
We get the temptation to have sugar “in moderation.” But sugar addiction is real. Unlike other addictive substances, it can be difficult to avoid.
The best way to detox is to go completely cold turkey. This means quitting all forms of added sugar, all white flour products, and even artificial sweeteners (as these are basically a dupe for the real thing with potentially negative side effects).
Of course, we’re not saying to avoid all sugar. After all, fruits and even some veggies have natural sugars. These sugars are natural, meaning our bodies can recognize and process them efficiently. Plus, they’re accompanied by tons of other nutrients that do great things for your health.
Ideally, you would stick to fresh, whole foods during a sugar detox while avoiding processed foods. Even items commonly associated with less or no sugar, like dark chocolate, may contain grams of sugar. If it comes in a box, can, tin, or any other type of packaging, make sure to scrutinize that ingredient label for signs of added sugar.
3. Stress Can Increase Sugar Cravings
Once you start your sugar detox, there is one crucial factor that could determine how easy it will be to stick with it: your stress levels.
You know that when you’re stressed out, junk food can provide some (temporary) relief. That’s because emotional stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which can make you seriously hungry — for extremely sweet and highly processed “food.”
Plus, cortisol raises your blood glucose levels. This can change your metabolism from a fat-burning state to one that mainly stores fat. As a result, you might be less likely to see the benefits of your sugar detox.
As part of your sugar detox, focus on healthy stress management. This can look like hitting up a yoga class, spending quality time with friends, or taking a few minutes to breathe deeply. But if you’re stressed, avoid extra time in front of the screen. This won’t do anything to relax you and might even make you feel more stressed out.
And while we’re on the topic of stress, let’s talk about healthy sleep habits. We know that we need eight or so hours per night. But many of us get much less than that, leading to sleep deprivation.
Just one night of poor sleep can spike your cortisol levels while reducing appetite-suppressing hormones. This makes it super important to add a healthy sleep routine to your sugar detox plan makes it super important.
4. Protein and Fat Can Quell Sugar Cravings
Sugar is an “empty” nutrient. While it gives your body a quick burst of energy, it only lasts a short while and is usually followed by a giant crash and — not surprisingly — more sugar cravings.
For a potentially clean, slow-burning energy, you could increase your intake of protein and fat.
Protein could be an excellent way to give your body what it needs to run optimally while keeping you full and can help support a healthy metabolism by working to regulate your blood sugar levels. Whether it’s Greek yogurt for breakfast, fish for lunch, or legumes for dinner, and hummus as a snack, protein can be the key to satiety.
For a cleaner energy source that won’t leave you crashing, turn to healthy fats. They can help fuel you and keep you full for much longer. Add some healthy oils to your meals and eat plenty of nuts, seeds, and avocados to help bring your sweet tooth to an end.
If cravings hit, snack on Sweetkick Clusters — a perfect blend of nuts, seeds, and superfood ingredients to help kick those mid-day cravings.
5. Not All Fruits & Veggies Are the Same
We love fresh fruit and veggies. They’re full of fiber, antioxidants, and other chemicals needed for healthy living. But some are pretty high in sugar and should be eaten in moderation during the sugar detox.
Some fruit can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. This includes overly ripe bananas, mangos, pineapples, and grapes. While we’re definitely not saying to avoid your favorite smoothies, it might be best to cut back while you detox. Instead, go for low-sugar options such as strawberries, blackberries, and kiwis.
Some veggies, even if they taste savory, have a substantial amount of sugar. We’re thinking of starchy tubers, like sweet potatoes. Avoid these veggies in the short-term, and stick to dark, leafy veggies while you work to kick your sugar habit.
It’s Time To Show Sugar Who’s Boss
Trust us; sugar offers a lot of empty promises. It might seem enticing, but sugar probably doesn’t do your health or appearance any favors.
A sugar detox can be exactly what you need to get back on track. By staying motivated, lowering stress, improving sleep, and optimizing your diet, you’ll be well on your way to living a low and potentially improving your overall wellness. And Sweetkick will be here with you every step of the way.