Trying to detox from sugar?
Here are 9 surprising facts you need to know, if you’re trying to do just that!
1.) Sugar is addictive
Research shows that sugar and sweetness can induce rewards and cravings that are comparable in strength to those from addictive drugs. Yikes!
While this may sound super-duper scary, it’s important to know so you: A) Have a sense of why it’s so important to ditch the white stuff; B) You have an inkling that your sugar detox will be a process (but no fear, you’ll most certainly get through it).
2.) There are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon of sugar
When you’re looking at a food label, check out the grams of sugar on the label. For example, if it says there are 22 grams of sugar per serving, that means there are 5.5 teaspoons of sugar per serving. You most certainly want to read labels of the biggest sugar-sucking culprits: cereals, granola, condiments, bread, snack items … basically, anything packaged. Your best bet is to always go with real fresh whole foods (think fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans/legumes, poultry, and meat).
3.) Fruit, veggies, and dairy naturally have sugar
Fruits and veggies naturally have some sugar in them, and veggies have even less naturally occurring sugars than fruit. When you’re trying to detox from sugar, it’s important to fill up on a ton of vegetables. Their fiber and water content (plus good-for-you antioxidants) will fill you up, without filling you out. A simple motto to keep in mind for every meal/snack is “produce and protein are musts.” The protein food (tempeh, seafood, fish, poultry, beans/lentils, eggs, nuts/seeds) will keep you satisfied and help your blood sugar stay stabilized, especially when paired with fiber-filled fruits and/or veggies.
As far as dairy goes, if it works for you, keep it plain. Dairy naturally has sugar in it from the milk-sugar lactose. But, once you start getting into flavored yogurts, you’ll start seeing way more sugar than normal, so read the ingredients and keep your dairy simple, plain, and natural.
4.) The serving size can add up
You want to check out how many servings are in a container. For example, in an energy drink we were looking at the other day, the nutrition facts label said there was 25 grams of sugar per serving. But, when looking at the number of servings in a can … there were two. That means, in total, there were 50 (whopping) grams of sugar per can – ew! 50 grams of sugar translates to 12.5 teaspoons of sugar in the whole can.
The World Health Organization recommends adults and children take in no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day.
5.) Diet sweeteners do nothing for your diet
Don’t let marketing fool you! Check the ingredients for diet sweeteners: saccharin (Sweet N’ Low), aspartame (Equal), sucralose (Splenda), rebiana (Stevia). Although these guys are called “diet” sweeteners, they really do nothing for your waistline. In fact, studies show the opposite affect, associating them with metabolic syndrome, weight gain, and diabetes.
6.) Healthy fats are indeed good
The 80’s craze of low-fat and non-fat is so d.o.n.e. A serving of good fats from foods like, nuts and seeds, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and omega-3 fatty fish at meals will help keep you satiated and your blood sugar steady, helping you detox from sugar.
7.) Stress management and sleep are super important
Stress and overwhelm can lead to sugar binges and the simple habit of eating for comfort. Dig deep to the root of your stress and see how you can alleviate the root (not just the symptom). For example, are you stressed due to email overload? Set clear boundaries and stop sending meaningless emails (don’t just try to work more to put a band-aid on the problem).
If you eat for comfort, make a list of all the other things that bring you joy and/or relieve stress and pull out your list as needed, so you have an immediate go-to when you can’t think super clear amidst stress.
Lastly, sleep is so important for weight management and cravings, so slowly start going to sleep earlier until you’ve found your perfect number of hours.
8.) Give your body time to adjust
When you’re first starting to cut out sugars, know it can take two to three weeks for your body to adjust, but once you break that point, trust us, there will be no going back! Your body will start to crave only fresh, whole real ingredients.
9.) Liquid sugar is the worst
Sodas, sugary smoothies, disguised as health food, and caffeinated sugar bombs hit your blood sugar and body hard. Cut them out cold turkey ASAP. Hint water and hint fizz can (seriously) help to provide tasty water with no sugar or diet sweeteners – and absolutely nothing fake!
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