While all sweet things are easy to devour, they do more harm to us than good. This week, You! takes a look at the benefits of a sugar cleanse and how you can detox your body from the sweet poison...
Most people are already aware that sugar is bad. There was a time when we demonised fat, using it as a scapegoat for every health problem imaginable. Yet, overwhelming amounts of research remind us that sugar is strongly associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease, and terrible dental health. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Eating too much sugar triggers a release of the hormone insulin. At first, this might give you a nice jolt of energy, but over time, the metabolism becomes inefficient and you begin to feel sluggish. Too much sugar can also cause inflammation which puts you at an elevated risk for developing high bad cholesterol numbers, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Anyway, since we are moving into 2019, this is a great opportunity to better care for your body, and have a plan with structure and accountability in place. And, what better way to do that than learn how to detox your body from sugar cravings?
When making changes in your diet, you need to make sure that there should not be a complete removal of an entire group of food unless a person is allergic or sensitive to it. When it comes to sugar cleanse, that is not the case. Sugar is present in different foods in one form or the other. Moreover, the important note that ‘removing’ sugar from the diet actually aims at breaking the habit of eating sugar and thereby preventing the brain from craving it. This is why sugar cleansing and detoxing has been so popular, because it facilitates a bigger and more longstanding change going forward.
Although, you may be thinking that going on a sugar cleanse is pretty much easier said than done, especially if you have been eating a lot of it. It is hard at first, but stick to the plan and you will get through it. You might feel tired, almost like you’re fighting the flu, and experience headaches. These symptoms should pass after the first couple of days as your body adjusts to your new regime. If, however, you feel shaky, it could be a sign of insulin resistance or hypoglycemia, so make sure to eat enough protein and stick to low glycemic foods, which includes most fruits and vegetables.
If you are willing to detox your body of sugar, here are the following tips that you should follow...
Stay away from packaged items: There are so many names for so many common forms of sugar that it could take you forever to weed them out by reading labels, so just commit to eating fresh, whole foods and nothing else. Everything has sugar from canned, frozen (with a few exceptions, like frozen organic berries) or pre-cooked. Even potato chips have sugar in them. Eating tons of sugar creates a cycle of low blood sugar and intense ‘hanger’ (hungry + angry). One way to break the cycle, besides eliminating sugar, is to eat meals that contain tons of good protein and fat (nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, etc.). Protein and fat are more difficult to digest, making you feel fuller longer.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Keeping the body properly hydrated encourages oxygen to flow freely throughout the body. This allows you to be more attentive, alert and focused. Water itself is a powerful detoxifier because it assists the kidneys and colon to eliminate waste. Hydration means drinking water NOT coffee, caffeinated teas or energy drinks. Although these drinks are comprised of water, they can also be dehydrating for the body. Drink 6-8 glasses (250mL) of water per day. Don’t drink water with meals because it dilutes stomach acid and leads to poor digestion. Add a squeeze of lemon into your water for added benefits and some flavour.
Taste the Rainbow: Focus on eating colourful foods. When you eat vegetables and fruits with a rainbow of colours, you are getting a whole array of antioxidants and phytonutrients that all have specific jobs to keep the body healthy, skin vibrant and eyes strong. Again, this detox is not about deprivation so when you’re hungry, eat! Just make your vegetables the star of the plate.
Not all carbs are evil: We need carbs to function well and even to survive. But you have to eat the right carbs. That means non-starchy, low-sugar vegetables (in other words, no white potatoes or corn ever and skip the beets, winter squash and sweet potatoes just for this detox period. When you want something sweet, help yourself to fresh berries and the lower-sugar fruits like apples, pears, and plums.
The chances of you finding a healthy snack when you have a craving are pretty much dependent on luck. So, be prepared. Keep plenty of healthy snacks in your desk, in your car, in your laptop case and anywhere else you can stash them. Rely on nuts, seeds, apples, chickpeas, nut butter, berries and other portable treats. It’s best to have a combination of protein, carbs and fats in every snack.