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How to Go on a Sugar Detox

Updated on February 22, 2013

Why Go on a Sugar Detox In The First Place?

Believe me, I am like most people when it comes to sweet treats. I see a chocolate bar and I automatically crave it. But do you really want food to control your life?

Sugar is one of the most additive foods out there, and you'd be surprised to find out how much refined sugar is in foods you like, in the most unsuspecting of places. There are a lot of health risks with too much sugar in your diet. You'd want to live as long and as healthy as possible so you can be there for your family and friends right?

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Dangers of Refined Sugar

I think most people out there have some sort of idea that eating refined sugar is not the best for your health. But did you know that a diet high in refined sugars is a major cause of chronic disease that some people have dubbed in "death by sugar"? Sounds a little extreme doesn't it?It is even considered more dangerous than eating too much fat!

Some side effects of eating refined sugar are, but not limited to, the following:

  • Sugar turns off your body's appetite control, thereby 'tricking' your body's metabolism, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Sugar such as fructose increases uric acid in your body, which can cause levels of inflammation. This can lead to diseases such as high blood pressure, cancer, kidney damage, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • Eating too much sugar can also cause a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • If you ingest too much sugar, your body uses minerals within the body to counterbalance the acid in your body. This can include drawing calcium from your bones, which can lead to weakened bones and osteoarthritis.
  • Over time, sugar can weaken the digestive tract.

Does this have you convinced so far of the dangers of sugar?

Need Help Remembering What You Eat?

Go check out this guide on Tips For Starting a Food Diary, which can help you figure out which method (printable or digital) is best for you, and how to record the foods you eat on a daily basis.

Ways to Detox

A word of warning: If you go cold turkey all at once, be forewarned that you might experience symptoms such as mood swings, headaches, nausea, or skin breakouts. Before going on any type of dietary changes or a detox, consult your doctor or any professional experienced in nutrition. You don't want to take any chances with your body!

Start by going slow. Read every label you can get your hands on in the house and check every box, can, and bag (I mean it) for hidden sugars. You'd be surprised at what contains sugar!

Any food that contains the following, put them off to the side, as these are all fancy names for refined sugar:

  • Fructose
  • Xylotol
  • Maltose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Sorbitol
  • Any ingredient that ends in 'ose' or 'ol'
  • Enriched, bleached, or white flour (these break down into simple sugars)

Put them somewhere where they are visibly marked, and use the label 'hidden sugars' or something to that effect. For the first week if you use any of these foods, just make a mental note how many boxes or cans you use. This will help you mentally prepare for eliminating these out of your life.

For the first week, just try not to add sugar to any food you eat so you can start to control the amount you eat. For example, if you normally take two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, cut it back to one. If you find yourself eating six pieces of candy, cut it back to three. Again, make mental notes on what you eat. If you forget easily, you can even record what you eat in a food diary. It can also make you more mentally aware and help you take accountability of what you eat, as long as you are honest about what you write of course!

On the second week, go back to the foods that you labeled in the first week and toss them! I hate to waste food, so you can always donate it to your local food bank. If you don't see those foods, the less likely you'll reach for them if you're strapped for time to prepare dinner, for example. You might find it hard this week as your body is slowly detoxing, but stick with it and it should get better.

During this time, research on sugar alternatives, such as stevia and agave nectar. Even raw local honey is acceptable. Again, with all everything, as long as you do things in moderation you should be fine. Even research different types of spices or herbs that can 'fool' your tastebuds that you are tasting something sweet, such as cinnamon and vanilla. Incorporate these into your diet after the second week of detoxing.

Need Some Recipes?

Go check out Health Dessert Ideas That Won't Ruin Your Diet for some simple refined sugar free desserts!

What Can and Can't Eat While On This?

There are lots of things you can eat! During this time explore the multitudes of ingredients your local supermarket offers. Try a new vegetable, whole wheat crackers, even dips and sauces, as long as they don't contain hidden sugars of course! The only restriction is refined sugars. Don't think of what you cannot eat during this detox, think of what new recipes you can try and what you can eat! You don't want to feel like you are depriving yourself, or else you'll be tempted to rebel, which isn't the point of this in the first place.

Can I Get Sugar Back in My Diet?

That is up to you. Hopefully after your detox you feel better and want to continue on that path. There are however, some foods that are just too good to resist. My advice is to try and find a non-refined sugar alternative, such as stevia in chocolate bars, or try and make your own if you have the time. If you can't then by all means treat yourself every once in a while. If you feel like you are depriving yourself, all you will end up doing is think of what you cannot eat. As a result, you might end up binging up on those very foods you were trying to avoid in the first place.

If you do want to incorporate foods with refined sugars back in your diet, do it gradually. You don't want to risk a sugar coma!

Conclusion

It is up to you to decide whether or not you want refined sugars to be a part of your life. It is a personal choice to make, and nobody can make you do something you don't want to. If you do, congratulations on taking the first step. I won't guarantee it will be easy, but over time you will reap the benefits of eating for your health.


What are some ways you eat for your health? Any suggestions for recipes?

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    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Sarah, you offer some great tips for sugar addicts, such as myself. I agree with not going cold-turkey. I like that you listed out the fancy names for refined sugar. It gives me a starting point. Thank you again (-;

    • sarahshuihan profile image
      Author

      Sarah 4 years ago from USA

      careermommy- I'm glad you found that list useful! You'd be surprised how many names there are for sugar!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I have gone on a detox periodically for the past few years. But since the first couple of times, I haven't overindulged on sweets (except during the holidays) afterwards. Once I completed a detox, I was surprised how my cravings for it went away.

      I also detox from caffeine and salt. But caffeine is one thing I will always have, because I like coffee a lot.

      This is a very informative hub. Thanks for sharing!

    • sarahshuihan profile image
      Author

      Sarah 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for stopping by Kathryn, I find that once I stop eating eating something, the craving goes away too. Sugar is one of those for me, but I can seem to resist a piece of chocolate every now and then ;)

    • anatomynotes profile image

      Edmund Custers 4 years ago

      Sugar is addictive. When I try to stay away from that chocolate bar, I start getting the uncomfortable feeling -- you know what I mean.

      Sarah, thanks for the tips to keep us healthy! voted up.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Sarah, I like what you've written here, and I'm going to pay more attention to my sugar intake as a result. Thanks for sharing! Blessings and aloha from SE Washington! Joe

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 4 years ago

      Informative hub. I love sweets of all kinds, especially chocolate. I decided to cut back on all of my favorites because I knew I was over doing it . It was hard at first but I have gotten used to it. Voted up.

    • sarahshuihan profile image
      Author

      Sarah 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the vote anatomynotes! I am the same with chocolate. They key is moderation.

    • sarahshuihan profile image
      Author

      Sarah 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for stopping by Joe! I can't wait to see what your last thrift store haul brings for you! I might have to send you a private message soon for some advice. I have a whole box of LPs for sale I don't want anymore.

    • sarahshuihan profile image
      Author

      Sarah 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the vote europewalker! I think sweets are ok, but I was like you and I overdid it on all that stuff. If it wasn't for some health issues like my eczema, I don't think I would have stopped and looked at what I was putting into my body.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'm pretty controlled about my diet, but quitting sugar is really hard for me. I've done detox diets before, and reading this Hub makes me consider doing it again for my health. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking information!

    • sarahshuihan profile image
      Author

      Sarah 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for stopping by vespawoolf!

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 4 years ago from South Florida

      Very informative!! Great hub!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Most informative and so challenging but if the individual wants to I am sure they would with these ways.

    • LivingFood profile image

      LivingFood 4 years ago

      Lots of good information...I would hope that after a detox one wouldn't return to the old ways, but as you say it's tough. Thumbs up!!

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