I have a love-hate relationship with sugar. I love the taste, but hate what it does to me. Holidays bring that love-hate relationship in full force. As much as I tried to limit myself on the Christmas cookies this year, I partook in other high sugar delectables. The proceeding day, I am met with, what I call, the sugar hangover. I had no energy, had a headache and weird mood swings. To combat this, I consumed high amounts of coffee for needed energy. Folks, this is the wrong way to go about this. If you are also feeling this way, then sugar could be wreaking havoc on your body and a detox may be the best approach.
Not Such a Sweet Thing
Sugar isn’t as sweet as it lets on to be. Sure it adds flavor, but it can also cause hormonal changes and mood swings. New studies show that excess sugar causes ageing of the skin. Scientists have even found sugar to have addictive qualities to it and are getting to the heart of this matter.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that, in fact, higher sugar, higher glycemic foods can be addictive. Scientists have found that the nucleus accumbens, the pleasure center of the brain, is also responsible for our addictions including drug abuse and even sugar addition.
Studies are showing how this region of brain lights up in response to images or eating sugary, processed or junk food. The study emphatically proved that foods that spike blood sugar are biologically addictive. Source
So, how can we get back into control of our brain’s pleasure center? We must become more conscious of our daily sugar intake. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and no more 9 teaspoons a day for men. Get this – on a daily basis, Americans eat about 20 teaspoons of sugar a day according to a report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Getting in Synch With Your Body
Detoxing after the holidays is a great way to get back in synch with your body. That said, eliminating sugar from the body can have its physical withdrawal effects. This is a natural response and you must make every effort to resist giving into the cravings. When you feel a sugar craving coming on, walk for 15 minutes. Researchers found a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for a sugary treat by 12 percent!
Utilize these tips in your diet for three days and you will feel the effects.
1. Cut your sugar consumption. Your goal is to cut as much simple sugars as possible. In another study, sugary sweet foods are not the only culprits in raising your blood sugar level. White flour, white potatoes and refined starch have what is called a high glycemic index that triggers that pesky nucleus accumbens. That means that during the duration of your sugar detox, you should also consider reducing your consumption of starchy foods and white flour based foods.
2. Consider using natural sweeteners. Not all sugars are created equal. Natural sweeteners such as honey is considered a complex food. In fact, one teaspoon contains 25 other compounds including proteins, amino acids and trace minerals. Another example of a natural sweetener is the herb stevia. Stevia is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, so a little goes a long way.
3. Enhance your diet. Eat foods like you would have eaten one hundred years ago: fresh vegetables, clean proteins, nuts, seeds, good fats, and the occasional fruit. Simple sugars should not be a part of our detox diet. It is so important to look at your food’s ingredient labels. Food companies use artificial sweeteners in many of their products. These artificial sweeteners may alter your metabolism and cause weight gain, as well as a host of other health issues, including cancer.
Look for these hidden sugars in your foods:
- Sucralose (includes Splenda brand)
- Aspartame (includes Equal, Nutrasweet brands)
- Saccharin (includes Sweet’N Low brand)
- Evaporated cane juice
4. Flush your system. Drink lots and lots of water. During your detox, drink 3 liters spread out throughout a three day period. This is such a easy and natural way to flush the toxins from exorbitant sugar intake out of your body. Adding small bits of fresh ginger and lemon can also help detox your body.
Juicing is also a great way to flush toxins out of your body and replace simple sugars with naturally occurring ones. Go for the organic fruits and vegetables when juicing as it helps your body detoxify more efficiently. As well, this is a great juice to help detox from the holidays or from heavy metals and environment pollutants, and also gives you an added energy boost thanks to the ginger
Further, a diet high in sugar is believed to exacerbate fatty liver disease. Too much sugar spikes insulin and drives fat into the liver cells, which causes inflammation and scarring, eventually causing the liver to become cirrhotic. Give your liver a detox too by drinking lots of herbal teas that stimulate the liver to detox. The Yogi tea brand has a great detoxing tea that also has a pleasant taste. Turmeric is also a good tea to naturally detox the liver.
5. Take care of yourself. Boost your metabolism with 30 minutes of exercise per day. Get 10 to 15 minutes of sun twice a week for vitamin D (your body makes it from sunshine), and 250 mg of vitamin C daily for the antioxidants. As mentioned, if you begin to feel the sugar cravings, go for a quick 15 minute walk to curb the craving.
6. Find healthy alternatives. If your sugar cravings are getting the best of you, find healthy sugar alternatives. Fresh fruit is a great choice for getting natural sugars. As well, opt for a bit of organic dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao and it helps to lower blood pressure.
We have a choice in how healthy we want to be. You can always take steps to reverse the effects of bad health. These six tips will help your sugar detoxing go more smoothly and help your body remove toxic build up from sugar.