I’ve got a serious sweet tooth and if you are anything like me, then indulging in sweets might be one of your favorite past-times. Enjoying a piece of fruit or dark chocolate on occasion isn’t the end of the world – in fact it can be good for you – but daily indulgences of artificial sweeteners and sugar is a deadly decision. Today I’m taking on the sugar debate and giving you proven ways to ditch the artificial sweets once and for all!
What’s All the Hype About?
Is the anti-sugar hype we’re hearing about just another fad? From banning eggs (cholesterol!) to ditching meat (your arteries!), each year we’re given another food group to avoid. Not without merit – some of these claims can be beneficial depending on your overall health and family history – but to ban every food group would leave you with nothing to eat.
That being said, artificial sweeteners and high sugar foods such as candy bars, cake and basically anything with frosting has become the new norm in the American diet. From soda (sorry, not even that diet stuff is good for you) to artificially sweetened juices, hostess cakes and cookies, and artificially sweetened ice cream is causing Americans to suffer needlessly.
According to experts, Americans are consuming 152 pounds of sugar a year (source). That’s well above our recommended yearly intake. Not to mention, sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Kids and adults need a constant fix to keep them going about their days, resulting in a serious craving for not only sweets but unhealthy carbohydrates, such as bleached white flour bread, cereals and pastas. Sugar dips can cause serious blood sugar crashes, nausea, dizziness, mood swings and even fatigue.
So how do you get off the hamster wheel of sugar consumption? I’m glad you asked!
Sugar Detox: Simple Tips to Get You Started
1. Make the Decision
When you make the decision to get off sugar, it’s like any other decision: you have to make it rooted in strength and determination. I’m not saying it’s easy to do but with the right support and by replacing your sugar intake with healthy options, it can be done!
2. Load Up on H2O
Sugary drinks are the first thing to go – that includes your morning pumpkin spice latte! I hate to tell you this, but if you frequently order flavored lattes or mochas, your daily sugar content goes through the roof. Cutting out sodas, non-organic juices and flavored creamers and coffee greatly diminishes your sugar intake. Instead, replace with water infused with fresh mint or sliced fruit or a real cup of coffee (or espresso) with a dab of milk.
3. Replace Sugar with Protein
You will most likely be very hungry after cutting out most of the sugar on your go-to list. Candies, milk chocolate, cookies, cakes, and packaged/preserved sweets are all out. Instead, load your plate with protein such as chicken, lean meats, eggs, beans, or tofu. You’ll still want to keep your carbohydrate intake to a minimum (obviously replacing with whole wheat options), but just remember that at least 1/3 of your plate needs to be protein based at every meal.
4. Incorporate Good Fat into Your Diet
Don’t be afraid of this three letter world! Good fats such as nuts and avocado are a necessity as you kick your sugar habit. Good fats help you feel full and give your body the nutrients it needs to repair cells. They also help balance your blood sugar. Consider adding more extra-virgin olive oil, coconut butter, or fish high in omega-3’s to your diet.
5. Get Rest
You might experience mood swings, fatigue, drops in your blood sugar (make sure you are eating a healthy meal or snack every few hours) or out-of-nowhere cravings. These are normal! What’s important is that you allow your body to detox the sugar the best way it knows how: through sleep! Your body does most of its repair while you sleep, giving your liver and kidneys a chance to filter out all those toxins you’ve accumulated. By getting enough sleep, you allow your body to detox at an optimal rate.
6. Mind Over Matter
There will be moments of weakness where you will want to grab that piece of chocolate cake at your work party or order that extra sugary cocktail at happy hour. Don’t! Remember this: a detox is only for a limited time. Your mindset dictates your physical success. When you feel like giving in, check-in with yourself and see what’s going on. Are you stressed from a crazy day at work? Struggling to communicate with your partner? Missing a friend who just moved away? Breaking the sugar cycle is both physical and emotional, so be kind to yourself!
Want support in ditching your sugar habit? I’m running a free sugar detox group and would love for you to join us! Click here to learn more!