Sugar Detox – A sugar detox diet – How to stop sugar?
Sugar Detox – A sugar detox diet
Amongst the many things that our modem ‘processed’ lifestyle has given us, one of the most vital is the sugar rush. No matter how many bland cups of green tea you down in a day, the fact remains that you are still consuming way more sugar than your ancestors did. Consultant therapeutic nutritionist says, “Sugar is addictive. You eat sugar and you have a feeling of euphoria and then suddenly you don’t feel good and crash out. Then you reach for more. The urban world’s sweet consumption has upped 20-30 per cent in a decade.” The American Heart Association recommends about 36 gm of sugar per day for men, and no more than six teaspoons (about 25 gm) for women. While, it may sound like a reasonable amount, what one needs to factor in is the ‘hidden sugar’ that goes into your system through almost everything you eat in a day — from breads, pastas, sauces to fat-free yogurts. So, weaning off sugar completely isn’t a realistic proposition. What, perhaps, is more feasible is an experimental sugar detox to reset sugar cravings and eating habits. When people go for a detox, it resets their appetite and often decreases sugar cravings. After the initial yearning, which can be over-whelming, our bodies adjust slowly till we can do without wanting the same amount of sugar. Instead of going into a sweet detox blindfolded, get a few basics in place…
What is sugar detox?
“Sugar detox is abstinence from sugar of all categories. It begins with no consumption of direct sugars, such as table sugar, sweets, desserts, sweet beverages, colas, fruit juices with added sugar, even honey and jaggery.
The second category of food removed from the diet is processed foods, such as packed cereal, tinned/ canned fruits, all spreads, jams, sauces and dressings and all bakery and confectionery such as bread, cookies, dinner rolls and buns.
A sugar detox diet also bans starchy vegetables such as sweet potato and sugar-rich fruits such as mangoes, bananas and grapes.”
How to stop sugar? Right way to do it
Sugar is an addiction. Many scientific studies have shown that the part of the brain which lights up or feels happy with sugar intake is the same area that’s affected when you consume cocaine. Hence, the withdrawal symptoms hit you once you go for a detox. “Giving up sugar is not easy, but it can be done if other sources of food that provide indirect glucose to the brain’ are had in reasonable quantities,” says a clinical nutritionist.
Your ultimate goal should be to downplay sugar in your diet and make that a permanent lifestyle change.
Avoid carbohydrates and follow a regimen similar to the Atkins Diet a high-protein diet. It is after all carbohydrates, not fat, that’s the real enemy. So, eat a lot of protein to curb sweet cravings since protein rich food doesn’t spike you blood sugar levels like carbs do.
Start by substituting processed sugar with natural sugar like fresh fruit, not to much of it though. And be armed wit a plan when cravings hit.
There are no huge side-effects of going sugar-less since sugar is in everything we eat. As long as one is consuming carb rich food like bread and cereals and even carb low healthy soups, fruits and nuts,there won’t be a feeling of deprivation,” says Dr Sangwan. But this doesn’t rule out some obvious sugar withdrawal symptoms like a crash in mood, feelings of anger and anxiety, general fatigue, headache, depression, dizziness, and irritability. When you stop consuming sugar, your dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres) levels may temporarily drop, leading to various psychological symptoms. Although the symptoms vary from person to person, one must be prepared to face them for the initial phase of detox. Keep the cures handy. Consume lean protein, fruits like blueberries and apples, as well as nuts for additional nutrients.
While some sugars — brown, honey to palm — are known to be healthy sweet alternatives, experts don’t agree with the view. “Sugar is sugar, no matter what colour. It is the amount of sugar consumed that really matters. If you end up eating heaps of brown sugar, it will affect the body the same way as refined table sugar,” says Dr Sangwan.
Don’t pile on artificial sweeteners either. If anything, these lab-made, calorie free powders can make you more of a slave to sweet foods. Because they are many times sweeter than sugar they essentially dull your taste buds and make you crave things with similar levels of sweetness. Instead, try the powdered extract of the South American stevia plant, which is a zero-calorie sugar substitute that’s 100 per cent natural. Or something like cinnamon for a natural, subtle sweet taste.