Maybe you want to shed a few pounds. Or perhaps your doctor mentioned it’s time to take better care of your health. No matter why you’re here, we have the guide to help you reboot your body with a 30-day sugar detox.
Why Try a Sugar Detox?
Sugar has addictive qualities. When you consume sugar, it triggers the release of dopamine, the brain’s natural feel-good chemical. As a result, the brain craves even more sugar. Artificial sweeteners are no better. Research suggests they confuse the metabolism and can actually lead to weight gain.
A sugar detox reboots the body by lowering inflammation, creating a healthier digestive environment, and better regulating blood sugar. In addition, taking a break allows taste buds to recalibrate, so you’re less likely to enjoy the taste of overly sweet foods.
Your Goal During Detox
Eliminate all added sugars, such as refined sugar (including high fructose corn syrup), honey, stevia, artificial sweeteners, etc. For a full list, bookmark 50 Names for Sugar so you can refer to it during grocery trips.
You will still be able to eat foods containing natural sugars, including veggies, fruit, and dairy. For example, whole fruit (meaning unprocessed) contains the natural sugar fructose, but it also offers fiber. The fiber reduces the impact of natural sugar in two ways:
- It satisfies the appetite so you’re less likely to reach for additional sweet foods.
- It reduces the amount of fructose the digestive system absorbs, which helps prevent insulin spikes .
Dates are an ideal fruit to enjoy during a sugar detox. They’re sweet but rich in dietary fiber, offering up to 6.4 grams per half cup, which equals about four chopped Medjool dates.
Steps for a Sugar Detox
1. Start gradually the first three days, if needed.
Some people are able to go cold turkey when it’s time to quit a bad habit. Others have more chance of success when they ease into their detox. If you’re one of the latter, spend the first three days of your 30-day sugar detox cutting back on your normal sugar intake. For example, if you normally take two teaspoons of sugar or sweetener in your morning coffee, cut back to one teaspoon. This may help your body ease into the new routine so you’re ready to eliminate all added sugar on day four.
2. Drink plenty of water—about six 12-ounce glasses per day.
Water fills you up and takes the edge off hunger, so you’re less likely to overindulge during meals or snack times. When you get a craving for sweets, you can also drink a glass of water and then wait 15 minutes. If you’re still in the mood for a sweet something after that time has passed, enjoy a piece of fresh fruit, like a banana or apple.
3. Read nutrition labels.
Remember the goal is to eliminate added sugar, not sugars naturally found in foods. Look for added sugar on the full ingredients list rather than on the listing for “sugar per serving.” (Generally, you only need to look at “sugar per serving” if you need to do so for medical reasons.)
Most processed foods contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners, so it’s important to read all food labels. You might find added sugar and sweeteners in everything from frozen waffles to cereal bars to salad dressings.
4. Enjoy no-added-sugar recipes.
Avocado and Poached Egg Sandwich
Individual Egg and Spinach Bowls
Skinny Burrito in a Jar
Slow Cooker Zucchini Ziti
Simply Sautéed Lemon Tilapia
Slow Cooker Skinny Applesauce
Also check out the 5-Day Sugar-Free Meal Plan That Satisfies.
5. Find healthy ways to cope with potential sugar withdrawal.
Cravings can hit hard when you’re committed to a sugar detox, so have a plan to combat those urges. As mentioned earlier, you can drink a full glass of water to see if the urge passes. If you experience mood swings, do something that lifts your well-being, like taking a short walk or journaling for a few minutes. The first few days will probably be the toughest, but remember the cravings will pass.
6. After 30 days, add unrefined (unprocessed) sugars back into your diet.
Give refined sugars and artificial sweeteners the boot for good. However, unrefined sugar sources, like honey or maple syrup, will add sweetness and nutrients to your menu. Learn 10 Alternatives to Refined Sugar.
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