Why You Should Do A Sugar Detox

Did you know there are over 50 different names for sugar? That means, even if you’re reading ingredients lists, you still might not realize how much sugar is in the food you’re eating. Follow any healthy eating plan or fad diet and you’ll find that cutting out sugar completely or at the very least reducing it significantly is one of the main components. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve a few key health markers, or just trying to be more conscious of your health overall, you’ll notice that less sugar always helps.

But nothing worth doing is ever easy, right? Since most of us are at least somewhat addicted to sugar, cutting it out is going to have a few not-so-pleasant side effects at first. Refined sugar comes with none of the nutrients you need in your diet such as protein, fats, and vitamins. Instead it’s just a pure carbohydrate that will give you a short energy boost and than have you crashing before you know it.

Sugar consumption has also been linked to depression, ADHD, high cholesterol, and even the development of cancer. One British study even found that sugar has a similar effect on the brain as powerful illegal drugs and can be just as addictive as cocaine. What more do you need to know to start seriously considering going on a sugar detox? Here’s a few things you should know before you get started.

There will be withdrawal
Just like any addiction, if you try to quit cold turkey (and that’s the way to go when it comes to sugar), you’re going to notice some side effects. Depending on how much sugar your body is used to getting on a regular basis, you may notice you’re more irritable and fatigued than usual, and you’ll probably have headaches for the first couple days. The good news is, these symptoms aren’t going to last forever. If you’re prepared for them and focus on staying hydrated and satiated with food that is high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats, than there’s no doubt that you will get through the hard part.

You have to read the labels
You can’t just avoid the obvious stuff like chocolate bars, donuts, ice cream, and pop if you truly want to detox from sugar. Cutting all that stuff out is a great start, but a true detox has to include all sugar, both added and natural. That means no fruit, no dairy, and definitely no packaged or frozen meals. Things you wouldn’t think have sugar in them, do. Check the ingredients list on your favourite salad dressing. That box of frozen chicken wings covered in BBQ sauce. Even a bag of sour cream and onion chips. Sugar is everywhere, and if you really want to avoid it, you’re going to have to get proactive and take responsibility for what you’re putting in your body instead of falling back on the “I didn’t know there was sugar in that” excuse.

You will lose weight
Sugar is basically just empty calories, so if you’re going to have it, it’s advisable to at least choose things that also have nutrients your body needs anyway like berries, full fat yogurt, or sweet potatos (just leave these alone until after your detox). If you aren’t eating sugary treats that are devoid of all nutrients than you aren’t filling up on pointless calories, which means you’re probably eating less overall. Since the basic science behind losing weight is all about calories in vs. calories out, when you cut out sugar, it’s pretty likely that you’ll drop some pounds too.

It will get easier
The first few days is by far the hardest. Especially since you’re going to have to plan your meals and you won’t be able to eat out, snack on random treats people bring into the office, or touch any of your go-to favourites when you’re binge watching Netflix. If you’re cutting sugar out completely (and that includes natural sugars found in fruit and dairy) then it will only be a few days before you’re through the worst of it. After that, the withdrawal symptoms will subside and you’ll start seeing the benefits. You’ll even notice that a piece of fruit tastes a lot sweeter than it used to.

You will look and feel better
After you’ve made it past the hard part, you’ll start to notice the benefits of eating less sugar. In addition to losing weight, you’ll also have clearer skin, fewer (and far less noticeable) mood swings, lower inflammation levels, and longer lasting energy. You’ll also be reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes and easing any digestive issues you may have experienced in the past. When you begin to really notice these benefits, that’s when you’ll be convinced that consuming less sugar is a good thing for your body and mind as a whole.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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