Sugar detoxification is one of the weight loss and wellness trends. Diets that are promoted as “detoxes” have not been recommended by nutrition experts. However, reducing sugar intake in the diet has been recommended by health experts not only to lose weight, but to improve your health and feel better.
Mayo Clinic notes that “curbing your sugar habit, taking a temporary break may be just what your doctor ordered.”
Not all sugar is bad. There are sugars in your diet they can be natural or added. It’s the added sugars that your body doesn’t need to function properly. Added sugars provide zero nutrients but many added calories that they make you gain weight and affect your health.
Natural sugars are found naturally in foods like fruit and milk. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are put into food during preparation or processing., or added to the table.
The body needs is a type of sugar, called glucose. “Glucose is the main food for the brain and is a very important source of fuel for the entire body,” share the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The best way is to get it naturally in fruits, vegetables, and milk. “These are healthy additions to your diet,” says Dr. Andrew Bremer, an NIH expert on sweeteners.
What is a sugar detox?
Sugar detox involves abstaining from added sugar for at least a week and up to a month to reduce sugar intake, curb sugar cravings and improve health. The use of artificial sweeteners is also not recommended, as they can cause metabolic changes that would increase cravings and food intake.
A sugar detox does not involve giving up all forms of sugars. This is false and unhealthy. The consumption of foods that naturally contain sugar, such as fruits, is allowed.
After detoxification, you can follow a diet with a low consumption of added sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limit the amount of added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons or 25g of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons or 36g of sugar for men.
Benefits of a sugar detox
1. Increased energy
Consuming a lot of added sugar can lower your energy levels, leading to fatigue, reducing alertness, and may even lower your mood. Studies have found that 1 hour after consuming sugar, participants felt tired and less alert than a control group.
On the other hand the Eating protein, fiber, and good fats helps you feel full and energized.
2. Reduction of abdominal fat and weight loss
By avoiding the consumption of added sugar, you will stop receiving additional calories. When you eat more calories than you need, your body stores the extra calories as fat. WebMD notes that excess sugar can inflame fat cells and cause them to release weight-gaining chemicals.
3. You reduce the risk of diseases
High sugar intake promotes obesity and is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and inflammation in the bodyexplains the AHA.
The Harvard School of Public Health reports that increased consumption of sugary beverages has been linked to a increased risk of premature death.
4. Reduction of sugar cravings
Sugar can be addictive, so cutting back on sugar can cause unpleasant symptoms in some people as the body adjusts. But within two weeks the cravings will have subsided.
5. Your skin looks better
Excess sugar in the diet affects the formation of collagen in the skin and elastin, both substances make the skin look smooth and supple.
6. You favor your immune system
Eating or drinking too much sugar slows down the cells of the immune system that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after ingesting a couple of sugary drinks, explains the medical journal WebMD.
7. Better oral health
When you eat sugary foods or drink sugary drinks for long periods of time, plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that can slowly dissolve tooth enamel and lead to cavities. So giving up sugar will help you have a healthy smile.
Just two weeks is enough time to reset your palate. After that, “you’ll find that you can better appreciate the natural sweetness of whole foods, like fruits and vegetables,” says dietitian Katherine Zeratsky via Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms from reducing sugar intake
Some people with a high intake of added sugar may experience unpleasant symptoms when eliminating their intake. Symptoms include cravings, nausea, tiredness, anxiety, feeling sad, sleep problems, or trouble concentrating. These symptoms can go from a few days to two weeks, the body will adapt and later you will feel better.
Tips to reduce sugar intake
Eliminate the consumption of soft drinks, are one of the main sources of added sugars in the diet.
Always check the food labelMany of them have large amounts of sugar that can sometimes be hidden under other names. Low-fat products also often add other unhealthy ingredients like sugar to offset the taste.
Eat foods rich in protein, eat fiber and healthy fats. Go for whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, poultry, eggs, and shellfish.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.