The facts that have recently emerged regarding processed sugar’s addictive and destructive properties are prompting people of all ages to seek out a sugar detox program; as well as, introducing a more nutritional diet into their lifestyles. Most people do not realize that sugar is one of the most addictive substances known–affecting the same receptacles in the brain as morphine and heroin. Just as shocking is the fact that Americans and the British, as a population, consume about 150 pounds per person per year of sugar. As you can imagine, eliminating sugar from your diet all at once can have serious consequences and cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Ideally, you should not start a sugar detox program without doing a little research, and seeking the advice of a physician. This article will cover how the body processes sugar, strategies for eliminating sugar from your diet, the foods to avoid, and the nutritional foods that will replace the processed sugar in your diet.
Sugar Detox Program
Sugar stimulates the release of dopamine causing that feeling of pleasure in your brain, and when deprived of this feeling it will soon begin craving it. Like other addictive substances, the body takes around 28 days to rid itself of the poisons and toxins that sugar has introduced into it since childhood.
Normally the body gets its sugar by breaking down carbohydrates into glucose that slowly gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Since the introduction of refined sugar into many of the food products we consume today, our bodies are no longer getting sugar naturally through whole foods such as grains, vegetables, and beans. As an excess of refined sugar enters the body, it can no longer efficiently absorb the minerals and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Although initially you may feel a boost of energy from the sugar intake, the body begins releasing insulin to counteract this rush; thus, causing a decrease in energy (a sugar crash) and mood swings. The body begins stealing nutrients and minerals that it needs from stores in your tissues and bones. At the same time, the liver transforms the excess sugar into triglycerides and bad cholesterol. This can all eventually lead to diabetes, osteoporosis, degenerative bone disease, heart disease, obesity, and an increase of cancer risk. These problems alone are a good enough reason to begin a sugar detox program, up and avoid the ramifications caused by sugar.
Here are a few strategies to keep in mind when first starting a sugar detox program.
1. Don’t go cold turkey. A gradual decrease in your sugar intake can break the sugar addiction while enabling you to manage the sugar cravings. Start by replacing the processed foods in your diet with healthy alternatives. Replace white flour breads, cereals and pasta with whole grains. Pick fresh fruits over processed sweets. After the first week of your sugar detox program try not to consume more than a tablespoon of sugar a day.
2. Add in a probiotic. A sugar-laden diet actually feeds the non-beneficial bacteria, including Candida, in your gut throwing off the balance of your digestive tract. This bacterial over-growth contributes to your sugar cravings while on a sugar detox program . These harmful bacteria wreak havoc your immune system causing a myriad of problems like brain fog, depression, and sleepless nights. Look for a good probiotic supplement to restore balance to your digestive system, and cut the sugar cravings. Consult a naturopathic doctor for suggestions of the best probiotic supplement to suit your needs during your sugar detox program.
3. Drink lots of water. A daily consumption of 6-8 glasses of water a day will help to eliminate the toxins from your body, breaking the sugar addiction quicker. Water will also help you lose that sluggish feeling brought on by the highs and lows of excessive sugar.
4. Read the labels. Most processed foods today are very high in hidden and added sugars. If sugar is in the top five on the ingredients listed on the back of the box, you can be sure it contains added sugars. Educate yourself on the different terms used for sugars. Be aware of the numerous ways sugars hide on an ingredient list including corn syrup, glucose, brown sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and fruit juice concentrate. Throw away all your processed foods and those containing hidden and added sugars such as ketchup, pickles, sauces, peanut butter, salad dressings, hot dogs, fruit drinks, soda, and artificial sweeteners before you begin your sugar detox program .
5. Boost your intake of nutritional supplements and minerals. The addition of B vitamins during your sugar detox program can help you manage sugar cravings by boosting serotonin levels in the brain as well as helping with your overall mood. Chromium pollinate can curb your withdrawal symptoms too, as it helps insulin to work better within the body. Vitamin C helps with the production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol can help to stabilize your blood sugar resulting in the reduction of sugar cravings.
6. From lemons, make lemon water. A room temperature glass of lemon water can aid in the detoxification process as well.
7. Eat more often, really. Eating smaller meals more often will help boost your metabolism, and keep your blood sugar under control.
8. Keep a food journal. Most nutritionists recommend writing down all of the foods that you eat in a journal. As your diet changes from processed foods to a diet of whole grains, beans, vegetables, organic poultry, and eggs use the food journal to keep notes on how your body reacts. Record changes in mood, high/low energy level, and changes you may feel after eating new foods. People often find they lose joint and back pains that they have had for years while on a sugar detox program. Keeping an accurate journal of the different foods you eat, the time of day you eat them, and the way you feel after will help you recognize the many benefits of breaking sugar addiction.
9. Avoid alcohol. Foods high in carbohydrates can give you the same high as alcohol, methamphetamine, or cocaine. Although the latter two are definitely on the do not take a list, alcohol may not be. Alcohol has the same chemical makeup as sugar; therefore, it throws your blood sugar levels out of balance. Avoid alcohol of any kind during the first three months of a sugar detox program. After the body finishes adjusting and regains a nutritional foothold, small amounts of alcohol are acceptable.
10. Pump up the protein and omega-3s. Stay feeling fuller longer with the addition of more proteins like lean meats, fish and tofu. Healthy fats like those found in nuts, salmon, olive oil, and peanut butter also help to satiate your hunger when on a sugar detox program.
The list of long-term benefits of cutting sugar completely out of your diet far outweighs the uncomfortable feelings of sugar cravings you will experience. Women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid starting a complete sugar detox program. However, cutting backing refined sugar is a great idea for all people.
Sugar Detox Program – The Conclusion
The purpose of this article is to give you a well-rounded steppingstone on which to launch your search for the perfect sugar detox program. We have given you a few facts on the harmful effects of sugar, and 10 tools to help you handle the sugar cravings. Now it is up you to use them as you see fit, and find the sugar detox program that will give you the highest rate of success.