The not-so-sweet truth is that the massive intake of sugar in this country is one of the main factors of chronic disease. Just like drug addiction, sugar causes a food addiction in some people, making it very difficult to stop. Addictive drugs cause neurochemical changes in the brain, such as changes in dopamine and opioid receptor binding, which reinforce addictive behaviors. Similarly, sugar has been shown to stimulate the brain's reward centers through the neurotransmitter dopamine. Consuming too much processed sugar has been linked to heart disease, cancer, dementia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, and even acne, infertility and impotence. If you want to reset your body and detox from the harmful effects of sugar, follow the guidelines below.
1. Remove all processed foods from your home
The easiest way to detox from sugar is to quit cold turkey. To prevent reading food labels for hours and hours, eliminate anything that is packaged, canned, frozen (with a few exceptions, like frozen organic berries) or pre-cooked from your kitchen. There are a variety of names for many of the common forms of sugar. It can take forever to sift through foods by reading labels, so just commit to eating fresh, whole foods and nothing else. Ideally, for 10 days you should avoid any foods that come in a box, package or a can or that have a label, and stick to real, whole, fresh food. Furthermore, the best way to fully detox is to give up all grains for 10 days as well.
2. Stick to water
Any form of liquid sugar is worse than solid food with sugar because it enters your bloodstream faster. Imagine the sugar directly entering your liver and turning off the fat storage mechanism within your liver, which in turn leads to the production of belly fat. Sugary beverages like soda and sports drink don't satiate the body. Further, the energy they provide only lasts for a short period of time. While detoxing, be sure to avoid fruit juices, soda, sports drinks, and sweetened teas and coffees. Instead, drink plenty of water because thirst can often cause sugar cravings. To function properly, your liver needs water and glucose to produce glycogen. When your body is dehydrated, it is much harder to produce glycogen, thus causing a sugar craving to kick in.
3. Get adequate sleep
Sleep is a time for the body to rejuvenate and rebuild. Getting less sleep initiates sugar and carb cravings by affecting your appetite hormones. Lack of sufficient amount of sleep affects your energy throughout the day. To compensate for the lack of energy, people tend to consume artificial sugars and overly caffeinated drinks that contain high levels of sugar. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night is the best way to fight against the impulse to overeat or fuel your body with excess sugar.
4. Start your day off with a protein-rich meal
Upon waking, your body may crave sweets due to the low carb levels and high insulin levels that result from fasting overnight. In order to fight this craving, it's important to fuel your body with plenty of protein and high-quality fats. Nutrient-dense breakfast keeps the body feeling full for an extended period of time and provides the nutrients it needs to function at optimal capacity. Tomorrow morning instead of donuts or a pastry enjoy whole farm eggs with an avocado and berries.
Be prepared with your own healthy snacks
When you are on the go, you don't want to be caught in an emergency situation, if your blood sugar drops, without health-conscious foods; especially when traveling. You want to avoid airport food courts, so you are not tempted. It is in your best interest to always have prepared snacks filled with nuts, plant seeds, or fruits like bananas for a quick healthy pick me up.
A sugar detox is a great way to reset the body and improve your overall health. Although it can be tough at first, it will be worth it in the end once the addiction is gone. If you're looking to rid your body of excess sugar and unhealthy cravings and would like professional assistance, make sure to visit a doctor who specializes in functional medicine.