Are you addicted to sugar? There’s a chance you are — and you don’t even realize it. Maybe you reach into the kitchen cabinet, grabbing for cookies or candy without even thinking. That could be a sign. Or maybe you ALWAYS crave a piece of fruit (yep, it’s “healthy” — but loaded in sugar). If this is you, it might be time to consider a sugar detox.
A detox from sugar offers many health benefits, though kicking the habit isn’t going to be easy. Make this year the year you finally break your addiction to sugar. Here’s why you should make this a priority, and how you can successfully do it.
Reasons to Detox from Sugar
As it turns out, consuming too much sugar may put you at risk for several health problems. Here are a few reasons why you might want to think about a sugar cleanse.
1. Weight Loss
Looking to drop some weight? A sugar detox might help. You see, one reason sugar leads to weight gain is a substance known as fructose. Sodas and other drinks are often loaded with fructose. And guess what? Fructose makes it more likely you’ll overeat!1
Now, the reason fructose makes you more prone to overeating is that it inhibits the body’s response to leptin. This is a hormone that tells you you’re full and you should stop eating. If this switch doesn’t get turned on, you’ll be much more likely to eat too much.2
A sugar detox could also help you lose weight by getting rid of visceral fat, the deep abdominal fat that surrounds your organs.
Committing to a sugar cleanse, along with a healthier diet, could help you lose visceral fat, which has been linked to many different types of health problems.3
2. A Healthier Heart
Breaking a sugar addiction by going on a sugar detox could help boost your heart health, as well. This is particularly true if you’re drinking sugary sodas. Research suggests consuming soft drinks and other sweetened beverages may increase the chances you could develop heart problems.4
In one study, researchers looked at thousands of people. One group of study participants received 20 percent of their calories through added sugar. The other group got less than 10 percent of their calories through sugar.
The results showed that the group with higher sugar intake were at a significantly higher risk for heart issues.5
3. Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
A detox from sugar could go a long way toward lowering your risk of developing serious ailments associated with high blood sugar levels.6
In fact, your risk for these issues jumps as much as one percent for each can of sugar-filled soda you drink.7
And while many fruit juices are marketed as being healthier alternatives, that’s not exactly the case. Many of them have so much sugar they can also lead to severe health problems.8
How to Detox From Sugar
While committing to a sugar detox could help improve your health, it’s not going to be easy. Sugar addiction can be extremely hard to overcome. Sugar cleanses are challenging because it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar entirely.
Nearly all foods – even those that are a part of a healthy diet – contain natural sugars. And you need a specific type of sugar, known as glucose, to make sure your body has enough energy.9
Now, this doesn’t mean a sugar detox can’t be done. If you simply cut out many of the foods and drinks with added sugar – things like sodas, cookies, candy, and the like – you’ll go a long way toward staying as healthy as possible.
Sugar Detox Tips
How long does it take to detox from sugar? Well, there’s no one perfect answer to that question. Your doctor will very likely have a good idea how long it will take for your particular situation. Here are some tips that may help with your cleanse.
Eat a Healthy Diet Full of Nutrients
If you’re thinking of going on a sugar detox diet, you need to make sure that it’s also a healthy diet. This means making sure you get an ample supply of critical nutrients, including:
Iron – If you don’t have enough iron, you’ll probably feel tired a good portion of the day. This could tempt you to turn to sugar in order to find energy.10
Magnesium – Magnesium helps to manage the amount of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” in your body. And if you’re under too much stress, you might be more tempted to eat food packed with sugar.11
Zinc – A zinc deficiency can also lead to increased stress.12 This could contribute to sugar addiction.
If you’re one of those people who automatically douse your food with ketchup, it’s time to stop. As it turns out, ketchup is often packed with sugar.13 And of course, it’s tomato based, so it’s LOADED with lectins.
Thankfully, there are a lot of great alternatives to ketchup that can be part of a healthy diet. Pesto, vinegar, and several herbs and spices have very little sugar. Experiment a little, and chances are, you’ll find the perfect fit.
Watch What You Buy
A major part of a successful sugar detox is looking closely at labels before you pull something off of a grocery store shelf and put it in your shopping cart.
Many so-called “healthy” foods have a lot of sugar in them.
Avoid products that have ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, or dextrose. Also watch out for buzzwords like nectar, syrup, malt, and cane juice. They’re just different names for added sugar. And yes, honey is yet another form of sugar.
It’s Worth the Effort to Detox From Sugar
Now, these are just a few tips on how to detox from sugar. You’ve got many other options and things you can do to successfully cleanse and break your sugar addiction for good. Just remember to eat a healthy diet, too.
Also, you should speak with your doctor before starting to detox from sugar. Even though a sugar detox is worth it in the long run, you want to do it the right way. Never make any sudden, major changes to your diet without talking to your doctor first.
Learn More About Going Sugar-Free:
Dr. Gundry’s Spicy Ginger Cookie (Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free)
8 High Sugar Fruits to BAN (plus, which fruit to eat instead)
Delicious, Sugar-Free Cranberry Slaw Recipe