Did you know that the average American consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar each year? This excessive intake of sugar can have a devastating effect on metabolism and cause a multitude of health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and infertility.
Wondering how to cut your sugar intake, rebalance your body and recapture glowing, youthful skin? The best way to achieve this is through a cleansing, sugar detox program. To help you fast track your health and give your body a break from the vicious circle of sugar addiction, we outlined a step-by-step, all-natural and effective seven-day sugar detox plan.
Why Is Sugar So Harmful?
Recent statistics show that sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. From the white stuff we put in our tea and coffee to the high-fructose corn syrup hidden in foods, sugar can lead to all sorts of diseases. Sugar also triggers weight gain through metabolic syndrome, aging and digestion malfunctions.
Here’re some of the reasons why you should avoid consuming sugar.
Sugar Is Bad For Your Teeth
Sugar is a source of large quantities of calories, yet it has zero beneficial nutrients! It has no proteins, vitamins, minerals or essential fats. Consuming big amounts of sugar, as opposed to food rich in nutrients, can become a major problem and over time, it can lead to nutrient deficiency.
Sugar also provides easily consumable energy for the bacteria that lives in the mouth. Eating food high in sugar can cause tooth decay as you are essentially supplying harmful bacteria with the energy they needs to thrive.
Sugar Is Bad For Your Liver
After entering the bloodstream, sugar breaks down in glucose and fructose. While glucose is an element that the human body produces naturally, fructose is an “artificial” substance and there is no physiological need for it.
Moreover, to be metabolized effectively, the fructose needs to be processed and filtered by the liver. This may not be a major concern for active people who exercises regularly, but for people who are exposed to high levels of stress and leading a sedentary lifestyle, the consumption of large quantities of sugar can lead to a liver overload. This process forces the liver to transform fructose into fat over time.
This explains why people who eat large amounts of sugar regularly are more exposed to serious health problems than those who limit their sugar intake.
Sugar Can Give You Diabetes
The consumption of large quantities of sugar leads to insulin resistance, which is the first step towards diabetes. High amounts of sugar in the blood can be toxic and may disrupt the proper synthesis of insulin in the human body.
Insulin is an essential factor in breaking down glucose and if the cells become resistant to it, your body may suffer from various health problems like metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
If this happens and you keep eating a lot of sugar, your insulin resistance can progress to Type II Diabetes. As a result of this critical and non-curable condition, the pancreas will become incapable of keeping up with the body’s demand for insulin to keep up normal blood sugar levels. Medical intervention and pharmaceutical help will be needed to restore the natural balance.
Apart from diabetes, sugar can cause many other health problems such as obesity, cancer and heart disease. The bottom line is that this addictive substance can be extremely harmful especially to people who cannot tolerate it well.
Why Is Sugar Detox So Important?
Maintaining a regular sugar detox routine is one of the best ways to break the addictive cycle of sugar craving. This cleansing practice can help reset your body and brain through the consumption of healthy and non-toxic foods for a certain period. Studies confirm that sugar is more addictive than certain types of illegal drugs. This is why you need to find an option for getting out of this vicious circle as soon as possible.
Although going cold turkey and stopping all forms of sugar may seem extreme to the faint-hearted, there is no better approach when it comes to complete system detoxification. In addition, you will still be capable of satisfying your sweet tooth in a healthier way. Once you get used to the changes, you will start feeling “lighter,” healthier and happier. Here are several great reasons that justify the beginning of a sugar detox program.
Who does not want a fit, healthy body especially with summer around the corner? Achieving easier weight loss is the first big benefit of stopping your sugar intake. Sugar, in any of its forms, just adds calories to your diet, which eventually end up as fat stored in your body. By getting off foods that contain sugar, you will enjoy a slimmer body. Addressing insulin resistance is also going to contribute to much easier and sustainable weight loss.
Increase Energy and Stamina
The less sugar you consume, the more energy and stamina you will have. Although you may experience a drop in your energy levels during the first couple of days due to the sudden withdrawal of certain foods, these symptoms will subside in about 48 hours.
Over time, you will start to experience the benefits of a more balanced blood sugar levels. Consistent and steady energy levels are one of the biggest benefits. The consumption of sugary foods leads to a spike in energy, which drops soon after. Steady blood sugar levels will keep your body energetic throughout the day, without subjecting it to such harsh spikes and drops.
Improve Your Appearance, Boost Your Self-Confidence
Sugar can be just as aging to the skin, as a lifetime exposure to the sun, scientists say. Foods rich in sugar can promote loss in skin elasticity, which can cause premature aging, wrinkles and age spots. Sugar is also one of the prime triggers of various dermatological problems such as acne, rosacea and dermatitis.
Beating your sweet tooth for good will help you look younger and enjoy vibrant and glowing skin through improved oil production and skin cell proliferation.
Needless to say, having clearer skin and becoming fit will do wonders for your self-confidence. Knowing that you are doing something beneficial for yourself and that you are taking proper care of your body will make you proud. Physical changes are very difficult to accomplish because of the addictive power of sugar. Knowing that you have managed to beat the craving will give you a chance to believe in your inner power and to start loving yourself more than ever before.
What to Eat and What Not to Eat?
When it comes to getting rid of sugar, one big question haunts the minds of many – what options are permissible? People that have a sweet tooth will find it exceptionally challenging to get rid of their temptations altogether.
The good news is that various natural sweet possibilities can be used in the place of the traditional sweetening products that are high in fructose. Here are several possibilities that you can choose among and lead a much healthier lifestyle.
• Stevia is a sweetener of plant origin derived from a native South America herb. Studies show that stevia is much sweeter than white sugar. Today, it is the second most popular alternative to sugar in the US.
• Coconut sugar: coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk – all of these products have gained a lot of popularity lately because of the many health benefits that they bring to the table. The sap from the palm can be used for the creation of a natural sweetener. Coconut sugar has a very low glycemic index, which means it does not lead to spikes and drops in the blood sugar levels. The taste is similar to the one of brown sugar but it is highly distinctive and very enjoyable.
• Agave nectar is derived from the same plant used in the production of tequila! When blended, agave produces a sweet nectar that is an excellent sugar substitute. Agave can be found easily in natural food stores because of its growing popularity. Agave does not lead to a rapid blood sugar increase but it has a relatively big number of calories. This is why you should be somewhat cautious and relying on solely small quantities of it.
• Honey: this amazing superfood should be a part of your diet. It has natural anti-septic, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal qualities that have been used by traditional healers for centuries. Raw, organic honey varieties are the best ones to try. The taste of honey in your coffee may be somewhat strange in the beginning but you will get used to it very quickly. Honey is also rich in wonderful antioxidants that protect cells from oxidative stress and have a range of health benefits, including anti-cancer properties.
• Blackstrap molasses: small quantities of molasses contain large amounts of iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B6. When going for sweeteners, pick the ones that have some nutritional value apart from the calories. In addition, molasses is much sweeter than sugar, which means you can rely on smaller quantities of it.
Introducing these diet changes will be very difficult in the beginning but they will help you control your sweet cravings and cut the quantities of sugar you are consuming. A few nutritional changes will also facilitate your sugar detox attempts.
5 Surprising Foods High In Sugar
We all know that treats like ice cream, cookies, soda and cake have plenty of sugar. But what about other popular foods? What is their sugar content and are they safe to consume while detoxifying your body?
To help you ferret out the foods containing high amounts of sugar, we examined some of the products you will typically see at your local market.
It may come as a surprise, but some dried fruits contain more than 80 percent sugar. For example, dried litchis and dates contain about 60 percent sugar. Raisins, dried apricots and figs contain about 50 percent sugar. Remember, dried fruits may weigh less but they have the same amount of sugar.
Although not being overloaded with sugars, bread has carbohydrates, which are organic compounds that contain single or multiple sugar units. Carbohydrates are broken down in the digestive tract into simple sugars. Although far less dangerous than white sugar, carbohydrates may increase your blood sugar levels, if you eat a lot of bread. To avoid blood sugar spikes, stick to wholegrain varieties.
Love pasta? Love your tomato sauce with it? If so, get in the habit of making your own pasta sauce at home. Most of the commercial varieties contain significant amounts of added sugar. In fact, some brands have up to 15 grams of sugar per serving!
Anything Fat-Free (Especially Salad Dressings)
The fat-free food varieties are the worst ones, so make sure you avoid those at all costs! When lipids are extracted, a lot of the flavor and taste is lost. To compensate for this loss, manufacturers add a lot of sugar to their products. Fat-free salad dressings are one big example of a surprising food that has large quantities of added sugar.
Yogurt is a really beneficial food that has live bacterial cultures and a range of beneficial nutrients. If you want to enjoy its benefits, however, you should get in the habit of buying the plain variety. Flavored yogurts and the ones that have fruit bits are usually packed with added sugar. To make a healthy snack, buy some plain yogurt and add your favorite fruits to it. The treat is sugar-free, delicious and very easy to make.
Seven-Day Sugar Detox Plan: What To Eat Each Day?
The following seven-day sugar detox program is designed to cut or eliminate your craving for sugar. While on the program, you can focus on healthy fats and quality proteins. You will be getting rid of added sugars and sweetened products altogether. This detox plan will also help you balance your hormone levels and eventually increase your body’s fat-processing abilities. The detox is great for people suffering from metabolic syndrome and finding themselves incapable of losing weight.
Remember that the best way to start this program is by going cold turkey and completely excluding sugar from your menu. Don’t try to cheat. This will only slow your progress. Get rid of all forms of sugar, flour products and artificial sweeteners. These can increase your craving and slow your metabolism. The following outline will tell you more about the foods to eat and the healthy practices to incorporate in your daily routine for the coming seven days.
Drink Plenty of Lemon Juice
Kick start your day and metabolism with a glass of lemon juice. Squeeze the juice of a lemon in a cup of warm water. Drink first thing in the morning, every morning, before your breakfast. Lemon helps cleanse your system and it is also great for waking you up. Use it as a replacement of your cup of coffee. Feel free to drink a few more glasses of lemon juice throughout the day to keep yourself toned.
To boost the overall detoxifying effect you are aiming for, consider doing a 30-minute cardio training every day. Why cardio? Dynamic exercises that involve a lot of sweating help you lose weight and burn more calories than regular strength training.
Cardio also promotes perspiration which has many health benefits. It removes toxins and waste from the body. Cardio training can also improve your skin and hair through efficient waste removal. Profuse sweating unclogs the pores and can kill some of the bacteria found on the skin. To sweat out toxins, do hot yoga, uphill walking, beach jogging or any other cardio exercise that involves intensive movements.
Eat Raw Foods
Try to cut back on the cooking and eat mostly raw foods. Add a fresh salad to all your meals and make sure to complement them with a tasty fruit for a desert. Remember that raw foods help increase your enzymes and nutrient intake.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Use the opportunity while you are detoxifying the body to also clear your mind. You can achieve this through meditation or belly breathing. Aim for a minimum of 15 minutes of meditation per day and you will feel physically and emotionally rejuvenated at the end of the week.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking tons of water will help you boost the lymph and kidney detoxification of your body. For optimal results, drink two to four liters of water per day. Drink mostly pure spring water, herbal detox teas and fresh fruits juice.
Detoxify Your Skin through Body Brushing
Another way to boost the detoxification of your body is to add body brushing to your daily shower routine. This will promote blood circulation and help you remove dead cells from the surface of your skin. Use a natural fiber body brush or loofah to brush the skin.
Start from the feet and hands and move up, while avoiding thinner-skin areas like the throat and face. You can use a facial scrub for the face. Finish your shower with one-minute cold burst to increase blood circulation even further.
Get as much sleep as possible and don’t hesitate to take naps in the afternoons. Getting less sleep increases carb and sugar craving and affects your appetite hormones. Make sure that you sleep for at least eight hours to fight the drive to overeat.
To help you beat unhealthy sugar cravings, achieve smaller waistline and slimmer body, here are a few healthier snacks for a sugar-free diet. Try these recipes during your seven-day sugar detox.
• Sugar-free muesli with kiwi fruit or berries is a great meal to kick off the day. Feel free to add two tablespoons of sugar-free natural yogurt if you can’t resist the urge for dairy.
• One or two slices of wholegrain sugar-free brown toast and a few tomatoes slices are all you need for a healthy breakfast.
• In case you have a busy schedule, you can grab a wholegrain sandwich with lettuce leaves and chicken during your lunch break. Add a glass of lemon juice to boost your energy in the afternoon.
• Brown whole-meal pasta with steamed broccoli and a poached egg is also a great lunch meal. You can also add salad leaves on the side.
• Grilled salmon drizzled with lemon juice is the perfect dinner meal during your sugar detox plan. To make the dinner table even more irresistible, grill sweet potatoes and red peppers and serve them on the side.
• Bean casserole, alongside lots of vegetables can make for a tasty dinner. To add a spicy taste to the meal, use sugar-free Mexican pasta sauce. The mixture can be added to flat corn bread and rolled into a sandwich shape or served on a bed of wholegrain rice.
All of the above steps, tips and sugar-detox recommendations will help you improve your health, appearance, vitality and dexterity. Through the seven days sugar detox, you’ll reduce the risks of diabetes, food addiction, anemia, muscle fatigue, overweight, depression and acne.
The best part is that you’ll achieve these results painlessly by enjoying quality and non-addictive food and not through bland diet or deprivation. At the end of the journey, you’ll learn a new way to live and eat that may last for a lifetime, if you want it!
Make sure to talk to your physician before jump starting the program. Don’t attempt to detoxify your body if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or underweight.