If you’re looking to lose weight, it seems like a no brainer to take sugar out of your diet. The good news is you are absolutely correct; you need to break your addiction to sugar to get the pounds off. The bad news is, it’s not so easy (but if you are reading this, then you already know that). The better news is the 10 tips below will give you a guideline and make the process a little easier.
1. Decide to do a detox
According to The 10 Day Detox Diet by Mark Hyman MD, here are the questions you should ask yourself to determine if you need a sugar detox
- Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
- Do you experience a food coma after eating?
- Do you get withdrawal symptoms if you cut down or stop eating sugar or flour?
- Do you feel bad about your eating habits or avoid certain activities because of your eating?
- Do you need more and more of same bad foods just to feel good?
If you said yes to ANY of the above, then you should consider detoxing from sugar
Here are some additional questions to ask yourself.
- Do you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes? (90 percent of Americans have not been diagnosed.)
- Do you have belly fat?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you crave sugar and carbs?
- Do you have trouble losing weight on low-fat diets?
- Do you have high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, or been told your blood sugar is “a little high?”
If you said yes to more than one of the above, then you definitely need to break your addiction.
2. Go Cold (Turkey)
There is no easy way to detox off sugar other than removing it completely out of your diet. Stop cold turkey. Identify the items that are fueling your sugar addiction and cut them out completely for 10 days. If you follow these 10 ideas, you will automatically reset your brain’s neurotransmitters and your body’s hormones.
- Stop consuming all forms of sugar and artificial sweeteners (which cause increased cravings, slow metabolism, and lead to fat storage).
- Avoid any foods that come in a box, package, or a can, or that have a label. Stick to real, whole, fresh food.
- Remove all flour products (Which convert into sugar inside the body)
- Get rid of anything with trans or hydrogenated fats and MSG (watch for hidden names).
3. Power your meals with Protein
Start every day off with whole eggs (not just the white) or a vegetable based protein shake. Protein is the key to balancing your blood sugar, eliminating cravings and keeping you feeling full and satisfied.
Go for eggs, fish, chicken, grass-fed meats and nuts at every single meal, especially breakfast. 4 to 6 ounces of meat is a serving.
4. Go Green
Eat as many greens as you can get your hands on. Raw greens, steamed greens, stirfry greens. Green in your salad, greens. Yes vegetables are carbs but you can eat as many as you want broccoli, kale, collards, asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, and peppers, to name a few.
All vegetables aren’t your allies during your sugar detox. You need to avoid the ones high in starch including white potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets. You can add them back to your diet gradually after your 10-day detox. Also pass on grains and beans for 10 days. It supercharges the results so you lose weight and feel great.
5. Don’t drink your calories
Any form of liquid sugar is worse than cakes or cookies. Every time you drink sugar it makes a “b-line” directly to your liver leading to the dreaded belly fat storage.
One can of soda a day increases a woman’s chance of type 2 diabetes by 80 percent.
That includes sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, and sweetened teas or coffees.
12 oz. Orange Juice = 7 teaspoons of sugar
20-ounce soda = 15 teaspoons of sugar;
One 32oz bottle of Gatorade = 14 teaspoons
6. Get Fat
Get fat… in your diet. Fat has gotten a bad rap. Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Fat balances your blood sugar and makes you full and it a necessary nutrient for your cells. Aim for good fats with every meal and snack including nuts and seeds (which also contain protein), avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and omega-3 fats from fish like salmon.
7. Plan “B”
Even if you meal prep and plan your week out, you still need a plan B for the unexpected times you are stuck in traffic, have to run an unexpected errand or your meeting runs over and you can’t get to your meal. Never be caught in a food emergency, when your blood sugar is dropping and you find yourself surrounded by convenience stores, vending machines and fast food restaurants tempting you to crash back into your sugar addiction. Remember it only takes one…soda, fries or candy bar to reverse the progress of the 10-day detox. Here are some of my favorite emergency foods that I keep with me.
Almonds, walnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds
A can of wild salmon or sardines
Unsweetened wild blueberries
Salmon jerky or turkey jerky
When you are stressed your fat storage hormones go crazy. Cortisol shoots up, which makes you hungry, causes your body to store belly fat and leads to type-2 diabetes.
Studies show simply taking taking deep breaths activates a special nerve, called the vagus nerve, that shifts your metabolism from fat storage to fat burning and quickly moves you out of the stress state. And all you have to do is take a deep breath.
9. Fight Inflammation
Many people aren’t aware they are walking around with “low grade inflammation” most often caused by food sensitivities. Because you don’t go into anaphylactic shock or break out in a full “poison ivy” like rash you may ignore the symptoms like fatigue and digestive disturbances.
Low-grade inflammation destroys the balance in your body. When your body’s systems experience a constant inflammatory response, you become more susceptible to aging and disease.
Research shows that inflammation triggers insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes.
Cut out gluten and dairy for 7 days. It may be struggle for the first 2 or 3 days without them but after you overcome the initial withdrawal symptoms and cravings you will fin renewed energy and many of the common symptoms you thought were “normal” will disappear. A common response after the detox period is “I didn’t know I could feel this good”
10. Sleep It Off
Sleep is one of the most overlooked and undervalued aspect of a healthy “diet”. Not getting enough sleep increases sugar and carb craving by throwing your “appetite hormones” off balance.
One study that reduced the sleep of college students from 8 hours to 6 hours showed an immediate effect. The very next day their bodies increased their hunger hormones, and decreased their appetite-suppressing hormones resulting in a big craving for sugar and refined carbs.
The less sleep you get the more cravings you will have so 7-9 hours of sleep and you literally can sleep your cravings and your weight away.