should I Detox From Sugar?
To establish how long it takes to detox your body from sugar or as some people say a sugar cleanse, you need to first understand that not all sugars are bad for you. Undertaking a zero sugar diet might not always be the optimum strategy, and while detoxing, including fruit which contains sugar, can be beneficial, not everything you read about sugar tells the full story.
If you can do this - it can be a key part of your weight loss - see our ultimate weight loss guide.
For many years, most health and dietary advice would tell you to get rid of fat and reduce your fat intake if you wanted to lose weight and stay healthy. While that advice is sound, in recent times, you are more likely to have seen a lot more publicity relating to how you should cut down on the amount of sugar you intake too.
However, sugar, let be be specific - natural sugar found in fruit and vegetables actually holds benefits for you, including boosting energy when your body breaks it down to produce glucose. Unfortunately, much of the sugar you might eat, and drink today isn't natural sugar, such as that which occurs in fruits.
Instead, it is refined sugar which is added to foods, and that brings with it a whole host of problems.
Why you must do a bad sugar cleanse
The list is long for bad sugar, but some of the main issues for your health and well-being caused by consuming excess levels refined sugars include:
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Diminishing your immune system
- Accelerating aging
- Tooth decay and other dental problems
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Weight gain
- Acne and other skin problems
- Increased risk of certain cancers developing
- Energy peaks and troughs
This is obviously not every risk, and we have to stress that these are related to consuming excess sugars, and those being mostly refined and unnatural sugars. These are the sugar types found in fizzy drinks, cakes, candy, desserts, and almost every type of processed food you could think of.
When it comes to natural sugars, while you don't want to be consuming too many of them either, they are certainly more desirable, plus they have a less negative impact on your health.
So, if you feel that you are consuming too much sugar, as a first step to rectifying that you need to amend your diet. There are countless articles, reports, and books available that can help you make that change.
In the meantime, let's focus on detoxing your body of the sugars that are already present.
The first thing we must highlight, is that any detox process, or any other significant change to your diet for that matter, needs to be considered along with your current health. If you are taking any kind of medication, have a medical condition, or are pregnant, for example, it is imperative that you consult your medical adviser before you start.
Assuming you have the all-clear to take a sugar detox, the next thing we advise is that you do not simply stop eating or drinking anything that contains sugar. This is akin to going 'cold turkey' for those with substance addictions and while we are not suggesting you are going to start hallucinating or breaking into a cold sweat, there can still be some unwanted consequences. In might even cause a sugar binge.
Abruptly, and completely stopping your intake of sugar can cause excess fatigue, low blood sugar, and dizziness, which is not something you want to happen if you are driving or operating machinery. Instead, you want to plan your sugar detox from your body, and that includes not just thinking about what you are going to eat and drink but preparing your mind too.
The reason we say your mind is that while a properly planned sugar detox may not cause the extremes that a sudden one will, there will still be some noticeable side effects. One of those is going to be your yearning for something sweet and sugary while you are detoxing or cleansing.
Sugar may not seem like something you are addicted to, and of course, it's not some kind of Class A narcotic, but it is something you have been consuming every day of your life since you were a baby weaned off milk. Even the longer sugar detoxes will cause some yearning from your body and if you are not prepared for this, the risk is you will grab the cookie jar or that can of coke when you feel the urge for sugar.
So, to prepare yourself, you might want to write a note of support to your future self, join an online forum with other like-minded health seekers or ask a friend or family member to give you moral support while you undertake your sugar detox.
In terms of the specifics of your detox, there are various ways to approach it, and these will tend to be specific to the length of sugar detox you are going to follow. Remember, in the longer term, you are going to reduce your sugar intake by altering your diet, so the time we are talking here is for the detox plan.
How long does it take to detox from sugar?
While there is no formal time - it is commonly accepted it takes 30 days to form a new habit that you will stick to, and 30 days is the how to detox from a sugar binge would work for me. Why do I say binge - well watch this short video on how much sugar the average american consumes each day - it will frighten you!
3 Day sugar detox:
The shortest sugar detox we would advise is over 3 days, and this would be on the assumption that apart from wanting to cleanse your body, you are otherwise fully fit and healthy. During these 3 days, you will experience sugar cravings, it is possible you will feel more tired than normal, and you may also experience some headaches.
For these 3 days, your breakfasts can include eggs, avocado, mushrooms, vegetables-hashes, and tofu. For lunch, it can be salads, chicken breast, fresh vegetables, and quinoa. For your main meals, you are looking more or less the same types of foods as you had for your lunch, albeit you should also include oily fish, like salmon and fresh tuna.
7 Day sugar detox:
A longer sugar detox than the 3 days, is a 7 days sugar detox. This plan allows you to have a wider range of foods, with the likes of cheese, potato, vegetable soups, and brown rice, being added. Bear in mind you are not restricted in how you prep and serve all these ingredients, so whether you make quiche, toast or a salad is up to you. You can also include fresh fruits such as raspberries chia seeds and natural yogurt (low sugar) to make desserts and smoothies.
30 Day sugar detox:
The longest period for a sugar detox is usually 30 days. And as I said above if you can detox from sugar for 30 days (refined sugar) then you should have formed a new habit that will stick and you will have done a successful sugar cleanse from your body. With doing a 30 day detox really you will have established a change of diet. And believe me - you will see the difference after 30 days.
Sugar Detox Top 3 Tips to success
Clean out your pantry
Get rid of all those foods that have sugar like cookies, cereals etc. Also read the labels on sauces, dressings and even yoghurts. Read the labels of any products you buy.
Drinking water is really important when the body is going through a sugar detox. It really helps your organs flush out toxins from the body and it transports nutrients.
Even a simple walk will help - just go for a walk when you feel you need a sugar snack or binge. Firstly it stops you going to the pantry. (Which should have been cleaned out already from tip 1). But also why sugar is so addictive it triggers the pleasure centre in the brain, namely dopamine which is released when we eat sugar! But guess what - so does exercise. It also triggers the brain's pleasure centre. Remember how good you used to feel after a some exercise. Start small but build this into your reaction to I want to eat something - and soon when you get this craving feeling - you will actually feel like going for a walk rather than eating sugar!
Conclusion: How to detox from sugar
Doing a longer sugar detox, the ingredients you can use for your meals can expand provided you have a core of green and leafy vegetables, nuts or seeds, plenty of protein (oily fish), as well as unlimited amounts of non starchy vegetables and some fruit.
I also add again that you want to cleanse from your body sugar that has been refined and having some fruit is better in my opinion than a totally zero sugar diet - it is just more balanced and sustainable long term.