There are so many sugar detoxes around at the moment, just type ‘sugar detox’ into any search engine and you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Specifically for this article I put myself on a 10-day sugar detox challenge so I could share the very real and honest results with you. During the 10 days I will not be eating any added sugar at all and I will limit my fruit consumption to low fructose fruits.
When we talk about sugar there are 2 different types:
Natural: found in fruit, dairy and some whole grains
Added: This is in processed foods such as: biscuits, cereals, soft drinks, fruit juices and even some pre-packaged health foods.
Now something to keep in mind when you have decided to do a sugar detox is all the different names for sugar.
Here are just a few of the names that sugar goes by:
• Barley Malt
• High fructose corn syrup
How does sugar affect us? Here is what eating sugar does to our bodies…
Sugar has a drug like effect on our brains, it triggers our pleasure sensors to release dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released when we are experiencing something that is pleasurable and encourages us to seek it out again, that is why we continue to eat sugar.
A diet high in sugar can overload and may even damage your liver and pancreas as they have to work harder just to be able to process it. Too much sugar can turn into fat which can lead to health issues such as obesity, tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, kidney stones and weight gain.
My 10-day sugar detox challenge
The day before
I needed to set myself up for success. After a failed attempted at going sugar free once before I wanted to be sure that I didn’t fall off the wagon this time.
First step was to write out a meal plan for the whole 10 days. I am looking at the sugar detox benefits from added sugar so this required me to look at all the ingredients of everything I eat. I made sure all the foods that could be a temptation to me were out of the house.
I set out creating a meal plan of whole foods that were easy to prepare for a family of five.
Dinners consisted of a protein, I would alternate between fish, chicken or a steak on the weekend. Salad or vegetables and either brown rice, sweet potato or quinoa.
The morning started out great but as the day wore on I felt the urge for some sugar. By 3pm I had a headache and I was feeling a bit cranky.
By dinnertime I was starving and I found it really tough not having any dressing on my salad. I was already missing the flavours of store bought sauces.
Today was another tough day as I woke up with a headache. I felt really short tempered and just getting the kids ready for school seemed like a struggle. My mind felt a bit hazy and the temptation for sugar was everywhere.
I constantly had healthy snacks on hand to help me during those moments of craving sugar.
With the headache gone I started to feel like my old self again. I made a green smoothie for breakfast as the thought of plain oatmeal again made me want to gag, and took the kids to the park.
My energy is still low but I feel that my mind is a bit clearer.
I woke up feeling pretty good this morning. Today was the first day that I actually felt positive from the whole experience and I realised that it was also the first day that I didn’t even crave sugar!
I am feeling pretty darn good right now! My energy is so high and I no longer feel the need to snack all the time. I am more aware of my hunger levels and I am thinking so much clearer than I have in a long time.
I have really learnt to experiment with herbs and spices. It is amazing how much your taste buds change when you are no longer eating sugar. By not using any processed products I am also no longer consuming artificial colours and preservatives.
One week in and although I don’t like to weigh myself I thought it would be interesting to see if losing weight was one of the sugar detox benefits. Sure enough I had lost 1.4 kg!
Today was the first day since this challenge began that I went out with a friend for coffee. I am going to be honest I was paranoid at what to eat. It is easy for me to see the obvious sugar laden foods like the cakes and desserts but what about all the foods behind the scenes?
I settled for an omelette with mushrooms and tomatoes. I felt like one of those really annoying customers when I was ordering, making sure that no sauces or marinades came in contact with my food. Was I becoming obsessed?
I am feeling full of energy today! Even went for a walk around the neighbourhood while the kids were at school. I am no longer thinking about eating junk food and I feel like my body is working better since I am not overladening it with sugar.
I am pretty glad to see today. I have enjoyed the last 10 days and I can not only see but feel the benefits of my sugar detox, but I am looking forward to not being so strict in what I can and cannot eat. I can see how easy it would be to become obsessive about what I eat.
Eliminating added sugar from your diet is one of the best things that you can do for your health. Some of the benefits that I personally experienced after doing my sugar detox was:
- My skin cleared up
- I had more energy
- I lost weight – 2.1 kg (4.6lbs) in 10 days
- I was more creative with my meals
- I was less moody
…and I no longer craved sugar any more!
Connect here with Watchfit Expert Emma Hajduk