One-Month Sugar Detox: Benefits and Caveats

If you have reached this page, it is likely that you are considering the concept of diet detox and want to learn more about it.

Detox diet was created to cleanse our body from toxins, restore our stamina, and boost weight loss. Most common detox are juicing, fasting, or cleansing for improving health and losing weight. For whatever reason, take note that drastic reducing or cutting of foods may not be effective as a long term lifestyle. Health experts said that strict detoxing may cause us more health issues such as dizziness, exhaustion, and low blood sugar.

Sugar Detox

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However, most health experts agree that there is a viable detox scheme which is beneficial – minimizing sugar in your diet may help us achieve our health goals and lose weight effectively. Brooke Alpert, registered dietitian, said, “Sugar makes you fat, ugly and old. What we’ve discovered in the last couple of years is that sugar is keeping us overweight. It’s also a leading cause of heart disease; it negatively affects skin, and it leads to premature aging.”

Too Much Sugar can be Addicting

detox sugar

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Studies claimed that sugar can be addicting which getting the feeling of upper and needing to want more sugar. Robert Lustig, Professor from University of California-San Francisco, said that there are about 10 percent of U.S. population are addicted to sugar.

Downside is that it seems we cannot monitor our intake of sugar because it is mostly hidden in the foods that we eat. Ice cream is apparently sugar but there are several foods that do not taste sweet including tomato sauces, salad dressings, and bread, but they are packed with sugar. In our modern times, we are eating sugar the entire day – from morning until night time.

Three-Day Cold Turkey as Sugar Detox

Everybody, including children, can benefit by removing the added sugar from our diet. A research conducted by Prof. Lustig showed that when obese children removed added sugar from their diet for 9 days, they lose weight and improved their health condition.

Most nutritionists recommend cold turkey to start sugar detox.

Alpert explained, “Early on in my practice, when I would notice that people had real addiction to sugar, we’d start trying to wean them of sugar or limit their intake or eat in moderation … but the word ‘moderation’ is so clichéd and not effective. It was just ineffective to ask people to eat less of something when they’re struggling with this bad habit. You wouldn’t ask an alcoholic to just drink two beers.” Alpert, continued,  “What was so successful in getting my clients to kick their sugar habit was to go cold turkey. When they would go cold turkey, I wasn’t their favorite person — but the number one positive effect was that it recalibrated their palate. They could now taste natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and dairy that they used to be so dulled to.”

To start with cold turkey scheme, Alpert recommends no added sugars for first 3 days, no fruits and starchy vegetables including sweet potatoes, corn, butternut squash, and peas, avoid grains and dairy, as well as alcohol. The idea is to eat protein, vegetables and healthy fats.

For breakfast, you may have 3 eggs in any style you want and lunch may include up to 6 ounces of poultry, tofu or fish, and green salad. Supper may be a bigger version of lunch with steamed vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach as a substitute for salad. Snacks may be in the form of one ounce of nuts and sliced peppers with hummus. Drinks may include water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea.

Although they do not bring in calories, it is recommended to avoid artificial sweeteners as well. Alpert said, “These little pretty colored packets pack such a punch of sweetness, and that’s how our palates get dulled and immune and less reactive to what sweetness really is.” Prof. Lustig also confirms that with artificial sweeteners can lead to storing more fats and may end up to crave more to offset the accumulated stored energy.

The Way to Sugar Detox

When the first 3 days of sugar detox are successfully completed, add an apple to the diet. Alpert explains, “By the fourth day, an apple tastes like candy. The onions are sweet! Almonds are sweet! Once you take sugar away from your diet cold turkey, your palate recalibrates, and you start tasting natural sugars again.”

Begin the diet with one apple and one dairy food everyday. Dairy includes cheese or yogurt must be unsweetened and full fat. Prof. Alpert further explains,  “Fat, fiber and protein slow the absorption of sugar, so taking out fat from dairy will make you absorb sugar faster.”

You can also add certain vegetables with sugar like snow peas and carrots, and a serving of high-fiber crackers everyday. Drink 3 glasses of red wine in the initial week.

For week 2, add a serving of antioxidant-full berries and another serving of dairy. You may also add starchy vegetables like winter squash and yams.

For week 3, you can now add grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and barley, more fruits like clementines and grapes. Add another glass of red wine during this week and one ounce of dark chocolate every day. Alpert suggests that week 3 should be livable.

Week 4 is considered as the home stretch where you can now enjoy 2 starches everyday which includes rice and bread, high-fiber crackers, and up to 5 glasses of wine every week. Alpert suggests, “You can have a sandwich in week four, which just makes things easier. I want people living. Week four is the way to do it.”

Week 4 is considered as the maintenance component of this detox plan. Some indulgences may be allowed like a slice of cake or ice cream during a birthday party.  Alpert elaborates, “Because the addictive behavior is gone, having ice cream once or twice will not send you back to square one.” When this 31-day detox plan is completed, fruits are again allowed. He added, “The whole purpose is to give people control and ownership and a place for these foods in our life.”

Benefits and Caveats with Removing Sugars in the Diet

Sugar detox can help us lose weight.  Alpert claims, “We had over 80 testers from all over the country, and they lost anywhere between 5 to 20 pounds during the 31 days, depending on their weight or sugar addiction. Many also noticed that a lot of the weight was lost from their midsection. Belts got looser!”

Those who participated in the study reported clearer skin, brighter eyes, and lesser dark circles in the eyes, fewer mood swings but more stamina.

Diane who preferred not to mention her family name, attested that she has been using the detox plan for two years already. She said that she lost about 40 pounds when she followed the plan. She attested that she added some healthy fats into her diet that keeps her feeling full and her cravings for sugars vanished. She said,  “This is probably the longest I have remained on a plan, and I don’t feel like this will change. It just feels natural and normal.”

However, experts warn that there are some medical considerations and challenges before the start of the detox plan, particularly the first several days. Alpert said, “Depending on how intense your addiction is, you can experience withdrawal symptoms, such as brain fog, crankiness and fatigue.”

Prof. Lustig learned that the children that participated in his study suffered annoyance and anxiety in their initial 5 days of removing caffeine and sugars in the diet, although it gradually tempered.

Alpert explains, “If you feel bad, stop and have a piece of fruit. But if you can push through and stay well-hydrated, you can really break your cycle of sugar addiction.” This detox plan may not be suitable to those with diabetes, those who are taking medication to control blood sugar, and for extreme athletes. It is not also appropriated to pregnant women.

It is also recommended that before we begin with detox sugar, ask help and support from friends and family. “You need people around you to help you be successful. The whole family has to do it together,” He concluded.

You may also want to read about some popular healthy diets you may also want to consider. Click here.

 

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