The holiday season is here. First, it starts with Halloween, then the candy that’s leftover. Before you know it, you’re into the pies for Thanksgiving, cookies for Christmas, all that booze at New Year’s, and those chocolates at Valentine’s Day. It might never seem the right time to do a sugar detox. So, the best time might be now.
Why Go on a Sugar Detox?
There are many reasons to cut back on our sugar intake. For one, the majority of the sugar we eat isn’t the cane sugar as nature intended. Table sugar is refined and stripped of any potential benefits.
After the refining process, these sugar particles are dyed into colors consumers find more appealing and used in candy, cookies, and beverages. Otherwise, these brown sugar particles get bleached to be pure white. Take your pick as to which is worse for the system.
Sugar and Health
There are numerous studies out there that point to excessive sugar as a major factor in developing the following conditions:
The problem with sugar is that when it gets wet, it gets a little sticky. Well, our inside are pretty wet!
Over time, these sticky residues start to form a thick plaque in your arteries. These clogs make it challenging for red blood cells to make the rounds. Consequently, your heart gets less of a workout, leading to many cardiovascular-related illnesses.
Sugar and Gut Health
Sugar and gut health are not two words that go hand-in-hand. As “The Father of Medicine” Hippocrates says, “All disease begins in the gut.”
So, if you regularly feed your gut something that your beneficial stomach bacteria don’t like, you are spelling disaster for your microbiome.
Eventually, these backups caused by sugar makes your immune system to go into alert mode. Immune cells spark inflammation that can cause damage to the gut lining. Now, you run the risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders such as Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Why a Sugar Detox May Be Hard
Listen, we’re going to be frank. This whole sugar detox thing might not be easy for you. That’s because there’s a good chance you may be addicted to sugar.
Research shows that sugar sets off neurotransmitters in our brain, such as dopamine . One study with mice looked at how sugar affected dopamine levels of mammals, as compared to when they take drugs.
The report found,
“Results suggest another neurochemical similarity between intermittent bingeing on sucrose and drugs of abuse: both can repeatedly increase extracellular DA in the NAc shell.”
When dopamine enters the bloodstream, the body registers what you just did to enable its reward center. Therefore, your body actually makes you crave sugar. That way, your system can have that rush of dopamine again.
Sugar Detox in 6 Easy Steps
Now that you know why to do a sugar detox, let’s get to the how. Here are six simple steps you can take to make your sugar detox work for you. Give yourself a week, and you’ll start to notice your cravings cease.
Eliminate the Junk
We know. You have all this extra Halloween candy. Well, bring it to work. Leave a bowl out at the end of your driveway. Make it someone else’s problem.
Get rid of anything with the following words:
- Ethyl maltol
Obviously, there’s more you can add to this list. However, these are the usual suspects. If you don’t feel like reading anything, you can pretty much drop off anything frozen, canned, or packaged to your local shelter. That includes bread and potato chips!
Change Up Your Diet
Hate to break it to you, but you’re going to need whole foods. We’re talking fruits with plenty of healthy sugar. Unfortunately for many, we’re also talking greens.
You want to make sure you are getting a substantial portion from three main meal groups:
- Healthy Fats (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Salmon)
- Lean Protein (Poultry, Legumes, Seeds)
- Complex Carbohydrates (Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Ancient Whole Grains)
See, you’re still getting many of the things you desire, just in a different form. Your body is still getting fats that it craves, only in forms that are more efficient for your system to burn off.
Plus, there are sugars in complex carbs such as fruits and potatoes. These sugars will provide your body with sugars it needs for energy. Furthermore, they may satiate your body’s cravings for sugar, making the symptoms of a sugar detox easier to manage.
Hydration is key for fighting off cravings from a sugar detox. Drinking water is like a reset button for your body. Plus, research shows that drinking water makes you feel full . Therefore, you might not even crave sweets by drinking some H20.
Don’t turn to sugar-laden products to flavor your water like powders.
Also, don’t choose”naturally-flavored” bottled water.
These are also sweetened with sugar and are worse for your body than sugar in solid form. Since this sugar is liquid, it goes straight to your bloodstream.
If you don’t love the flavor of water or need to fight off sugar cravings, get some electrolytes in you. Add some lemon, orange, or mint to your water. For those looking to lose weight, try mixing in a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Lastly, try licking some pink Himalayan sea salt. Sounds strange, but salt minerals are rich in electrolytes. These minerals will provide your body with energy that can replace the sugar rush you used to love. Green tea also works great!
Anytime you see the rewards of your work, it reinforces the reasoning behind why you did something in the first place. Exercise is an excellent distraction during a sugar detox.
When you get rid of one addiction, you need to find a new activity to obsess over. Self-care is the best way to spend your extra time not spent stuffing your face. Plus, you see firsthand the benefits exercise provides you. Since you’re going to lose weight on a sugar detox, you’re going to need to firm that extra skin up!
Also, exercise produces endorphins. Therefore, your body receives many of the same joyous neurotransmitters you also produce when eating candy. So, you get your reward boost without causing harm to your body.
Getting sleep is crucial for functioning, especially when you’re in the middle of a sugar detox. Honestly, you might feel a bit sluggish when you’re in a sugar detox. After all, you don’t have this crutch to perk you up. So, use this time to catch on sleep you missed out on.
Don’t worry if you think you’re sleeping too much. Your body is using this time to heal some of the damage caused by sugar.
After a while, you will become accustomed to your new life. You’ll find new ways to provide yourself with energy and won’t rely on sleep as much.
A sugar detox is a perfect time to attack the bad stomach bacteria. They don’t like eating your healthy foods as much as the sugars that spark inflammation. So, as you starve them out, you need to make sure the next intestinal flora that colonizes is beneficial to your gut biome.
Prior to your sugar detox, get your gut tested. That way, we know which stomach bacteria we’re trying to eliminate. As we starve them out, we will provide you the beneficial stomach bacteria your gut biome needs to flourish.
Furthermore, the Thryve Gut Health Program is more than just probiotics supplements. We are an all-out gut health program that helps you feed the probiotic bacteria in your supplement. Therefore, we have many recipes to help with the first couple of steps of this sugar detox program!
 Temple N. J. (2018). Fat, Sugar, Whole Grains and Heart Disease: 50 Years of Confusion. Nutrients, 10(1), 39. doi:10.3390/nu10010039
 “Analysis of New Studies Including 250,000 People Confirms Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Are Linked to Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adults.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 23 Dec. 2017, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171223134832.htm.
 Skafida, V., & Chambers, S. (2018). Positive association between sugar consumption and dental decay prevalence independent of oral hygiene in pre-school children: a longitudinal prospective study. Journal of public health (Oxford, England), 40(3), e275–e283. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdx184
 He, Feng J, and Graham A MacGregor. “Salt and Sugar: Their Effects on Blood Pressure.” Pflugers Archiv : European Journal of Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25547872.
 Janket, Sok-Ja, et al. “A Prospective Study of Sugar Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women.” Diabetes Care, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2003, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12663565.
 Rada, P, et al. “Daily Bingeing on Sugar Repeatedly Releases Dopamine in the Accumbens Shell.” Neuroscience, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15987666.
 “Drinking Water before Meals Helps Dieting, Says Study.” BBC News, BBC, 24 Aug. 2010, www.bbc.com/news/health-11057891.