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Cutting out sugar from your diet is not an easy decision to make. Sugar cleanse, or a sugar detox is not easy, and the symptoms of going through sugar withdrawal are challenging to manage. However, the benefits of a sugar cleanse are worth it, given the many adverse effects sugar has on the body. Follow the article below to find out some easy ways on how to detox from sugar. 

Why is sugar detox difficult?

Why is sugar cleanse difficult?

Sugar has long been associated with an increased risk of several medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Sugar also works to zap you of your energy, increases the risk of depression, and of course, contributes to poor dental health as well. This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the adverse effects of sugar on your body. 

By cutting out sugar from your diet and going on a complete sugar cleanse will not only reduce your health risks but also make you feel better than you knew it was even possible. 

 

According to the American Heart Association, sugar impacts the brain in the same way in which addictive drugs such as morphine, nicotine, and cocaine,  do.[1] This reaction is the reason why some withdrawal symptoms arise when you try to go on a sugar detox. 

 

Why does this happen? Our brains have a reward center that helps us to survive as a species, and food is a natural reward. When we get something sweet to eat, it works on stimulating the brain's reward system. 

 

Opinion amongst experts remains divided on whether sugar addiction is a real thing or not. Animal and human studies have discovered that consumption of sugar triggers the release of the feel-good hormone known as dopamine in the brain.  The trigger occurs in the same part of the brain implicated in response to cocaine and heroin. [2]

When you consume sugar regularly, it changes your brain to the extent that it becomes tolerant to the sugar, causing you to need more and more amount of sugar just to achieve the same effect. 

This sugar habit is why when you cut out sugar completely, the body and brain start to crave sugar. It gets more and more intense, and you begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you first stop taking sugar. 

See: Sugar the bitter truth

Sugar Detox Plan

How to Detox from Sugar?

Noted below are some simple ways in which you can stop eating so much sugar and undergo a sugar cleanse. Below is a general guide for starting your sugar detox plan. You can plan what to eat and drink what you love without the sugar. Start now and suppress your sugar cravings once and for all!


1. Reduce the amount of Sugary Drinks

Many of the popular beverages we commonly have had heaps of added sugar. 

Energy drinks, sodas, fruit drinks, and even sports drinks all contain astounding amounts of added sugar. Even the beverages we typically assume to be healthy, such as fruit juices and smoothies, also include a generous amount of sugar. For example, just 450 ml (15.2 ounces) of 100% apple juice is known to contain more than 12 teaspoons of sugar. That comes to nearly 50 grams of sugar.[3]

Several studies have shown that lowering your intake of such sugary beverages will help you lose weight [4],[5],[6]. 

Instead of drinks with added sugar, here are some options that are low in sugar:

●    Herbal or fruit teas

●    Tea and coffee

●    Sparkling water with a dash of lime or lemon

●    Water with cucumber and mint

●    Plain water 

Drink 3 liters distributed throughout the day. Use a water bottle and take this bottle with you everywhere you go. Keep it in your sight, and re-fill and keep drinking!

Drink a cup of green tea when you need some energy. Green tea has some caffeine to assist you in getting through the day slump but also comprises those mighty antioxidants that help in preventing aging.

Restricting sugary drinks can reduce your sugar intake by a massive amount and also help you weight.

 

2. Avoid having sauces that contain lots of sugar

Many times we fail to see the high sugar content in things that are right in front of us. Sauces such as ketchup, sweet chili sauce, and the all-time favorite barbecue sauce can be found in almost all kitchens, but people are rarely aware of the shocking amount of sugar these sauces contain. 

One tablespoon (approximately 15-gram) serving of ketchup can contain one teaspoon (4 grams) of added sugar.[7] There are some varieties of ketchup that do not contain any added sugar, and it is always better to read the label to ensure that you buy one that has the least amount of sugar. 

You can try some alternate ways in which you can flavor your food instead of adding sauces:

●    Vinegar: This is a calorie and sugar-free and adds a zing that is similar to that of ketchup. However, some balsamic vinegar may contain sugar, so read the label before buying. 

●    Fresh chili: This will give your food a sugar-free zing. 

●    Dried or fresh herbs and spices: They are both sugar and calorie-free and have many added health benefits as well. 

●    Yellow mustard: This is a tasty option and contains no sugar or calories. 

●    Pesto: This adds a fresh and nutty flavor and tastes great on eggs or sandwiches. 

 

3. Avoid Sugary Desserts

Desserts contain an abundance of sugar, and most of them do not provide much nutritional value either. The added sugar in desserts can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and leave you feeling hungry, tired, and craving more sugar. 

Here are some alternatives to have if you are craving something sweet:

●    Baked fruit with cream

●    Fresh fruit

●    Greek yogurt with cinnamon or fruit

●    Dark chocolate

●    Handful of dates

 

Swapping the sugar-loaded desserts for some of these healthier options will not only lower your sugar intake, but increase the dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants in your diet.

Try some of the healthy drinks like celery juice or strawberry choco lassi drink.


- Ginger lemon drink- Make this beverage by boiling ginger in water, and squeezing some fresh lemon juice in it. Many health benefits are associated with this delicious drink:


- Lemon has a high vitamin C content which helps to enhance resistance to infection, which makes it effective against colds and flu. It transforms into an alkaline effect on the body once you drink it. This remarkable transition is terrific for restoring inner balance during times of inflammation. Additionally, it stimulates liver detoxification and is an excellent antioxidant.

-Ginger is terrific for digestive issues like gas, indigestion, and nausea. It stimulates the circulation and helps blood circulation to the surface. The increased flow helps to decrease blood pressure and relieve the poor circulation of the feet and hands. It's also soothing and warming for coughs, colds, and influenza.



See: Green Tea Benefits

Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms

Below is a list of potential withdrawal symptoms that you might encounter when you reduce sugar from your diet. One of the most common withdrawal symptoms people experience is an intense craving for sugar and/or carbs during withdrawal. Withdrawal varies in severity and intensity depending on the person.


- Irritability: In the early days of cutting sugar out of your diet, you might become snappy as a consequence of not getting the sugar that you crave. Sugar can affect dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure in the mind. When we are no longer getting identical stimulation, we might become irritable.


- Mood swings: It's quite common to experience minor mood swings once you initially cut the sugar in your diet. The mood swings may include some slight depression, anxiety, or other negative emotions. Your moods will stabilize with no effect of glucose, but it might have a short while for your brain to adjust.


- Cravings: The most evident effect when you stop glucose is that you are likely to crave it. The cravings for sugar might be extreme and hard to overcome. If you stay the course and remain self-disciplined, you will eventually reach a stage where these cravings subside. It might help to eliminate sugar substances from your home and/or keep them out of sight, so you don't fall prey to the cravings.


- Appetite changes: Eating sugar may lead some individuals to experience increased cravings for carbs. Once you stop consuming sugar, you might notice that your appetite suffers some degree of fluctuation. Initially, you will eat more or less than normal, but it should balance out.


- Anger: If you stop sugar intake suddenly, your mood may dip, and you will see that you're more irritable and angry than usual. The anger shouldn't last more than a few weeks, but it might be tough to deal with it if it had been unexpected.


- Stress: Many individuals have reported feelings of stress and anxiety when they drop sugar from their diets. It's well known that sugar can have an impact on dopamine levels and action.


- Depression: People can become somewhat depressed when they cut sugar out of their diet. This dip in mood is typically not so intense but can feel like a low-grade depression. Finally, your disposition should bounce back and stabilize.


- Dizziness: In more extreme cases of withdrawal, people have reported feeling dizzy when they cease consuming sugar. Most people won't feel"dizzy" when they stop including sugar in their diets, but more sensitive individuals can.


- Infection: Sugar can offer some individuals with short term boosts in energy. When someone stops including sugar in their diet, it's likely to experience some general tiredness and lethargy during the first few weeks of withdrawal. Over the long run, someone ought to observe that normal energy levels return.


- Headaches: Originally, some people experience headaches when they eliminate sugar from their diet. These headaches can be a consequence of anxiety and/or the changes you're going through by massaging your body from sugar.


- Weight affects the majority of individuals who notice that they lose weight when they fall sugar intake. Weight loss occurs because people stop eating junk foods and drinking sugary drinks.


See: Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Health Benefits

How long can sugar withdrawal last?

There's no specific science indicating that sugar withdrawal requires a particular time duration. It depends on you as an individual and how much will power you have to change a bad habit. Some can adjust quickly to working without sugar, while others may have a difficult time resisting change.

 

See: Ayurvedic Treatment for Prediabetes & Diabetes Type 2

Summary

On average, people are consuming more than two times the recommended amount of added sugar per day. Excess amounts of sugar in our diet can prove to be extremely harmful, and linked with many chronic diseases, such as diabetes type 2, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. 

See: Ginger Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts

References

1. Heart.org. (2020). By Any Other Name its Still Sweetener. [online] Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/By-Any-Other-Name-Its-Still-Sweetener_UCM_437368_Article.jsp#.XDTo4FVKjIU [Accessed 3 Jan. 2020].

2. Bray, G.A., 2016. Is sugar addictive?. Diabetes, 65(7), pp.1797-1799.

3. Walker, R.W., Dumke, K.A. and Goran, M.I., 2014. Fructose content in popular beverages made with and without high-fructose corn syrup. Nutrition, 30(7-8), pp.928-935.

4. Chen, L., Appel, L.J., Loria, C., Lin, P.H., Champagne, C.M., Elmer, P.J., Ard, J.D., Mitchell, D., Batch, B.C., Svetkey, L.P. and Caballero, B., 2009. Reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight loss: the PREMIER trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 89(5), pp.1299-1306.

5. Ebbeling, C.B., Feldman, H.A., Osganian, S.K., Chomitz, V.R., Ellenbogen, S.J. and Ludwig, D.S., 2006. Effects of decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on body weight in adolescents: a randomized, controlled pilot study. Pediatrics, 117(3), pp.673-680.

6. de Ruyter, J.C., Olthof, M.R., Seidell, J.C. and Katan, M.B., 2012. A trial of sugar-free or sugar-sweetened beverages and body weight in children. New England Journal of Medicine, 367(15), pp.1397-1406.

7. Nutritiondata.self.com. (2020). Catsup [Ketchup] Nutrition Facts & Calories. [online] Available at: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/3005/2 [Accessed 3 Jan. 2020].

See: Heavy Metal Detox Diet and Foods

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