Whether you’ve overloaded your body with smoothies or had one too many scoops of ice cream, you’re bound to hit a sugar wall and crash. Your body, therefore, has to work harder to expel unused sugar through your kidneys. Your sweet tooth might jump for joy with each ice cream cone or doughnut you eat, but it won’t bode well for you in the future. Shame and guilt will also wreak havoc on your hormones and mind, making you reach for more comfort foods loaded with sugar. Here are 10 ways you can detox from sugar and change your health for the better.
Create a detox meal plan
One of the easiest ways to get rid of sugar in your diet is to create a meal plan that cuts out sugary foods and makes you feel full. Eating three balanced meals every day will cut cravings and keep your blood sugar level low. Make unsweetened oatmeal and top it with some fruit for breakfast. Eat low-sodium meat, fish or tofu and supplement it with vegetables for lunch.
Eat more protein
Proteins does many things for your body: It builds and repairs tissues, creates and maintains muscles, bones, skin, cartilage, and helps make enzymes and hormones that are imperative for bodily function. Protein also gets rid of hunger pangs, making you feel full. This is because protein breaks down slower in your intestines, turning into amino acids which travel through the blood to all areas of your body. Sugar, however, means empty calories for your body, which is why you might not feel full after eating half a bag of potato chips or a sweet cupcake. Filling your diet with protein, but not too much of it, will keep you from reaching for those chips. Nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, and tofu are all great sources of protein.
Avoid sugary drinks and juices
Sugar in drinks can be very sneaky, especially in fruit juices. The label may tote the beverage’s health benefits but think again. Often, these juices are loaded with artificial sugars to amplify the taste, causing more harm than good. According to Healthline, “Fruit juice contains just as much sugar and calories as a sugary soft drink… and sometimes even more.”
Quit sugar cold turkey
You might balk at the notion of cutting sugar from your diet immediately, but, for most people, quitting cold turkey is the best way to detox from sugar. Get rid of any carbs, sugary foods, and fruit drinks from your cabinets, pantries, and refrigerators. Yes, you will develop cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which will be mentioned later in this article, but getting rid of sugar cold turkey will be the best decision you’ll make.
Introduce a little natural sugar into your diet
Wait, isn’t this article telling you to get rid of sugar from your diet? What makes natural sugar an exception? Well, natural sugar is found in fruit, and it is at a low enough level where it won’t overload your body or your kidneys. It isn’t processed like artificial sugars are and it doesn’t spike your blood sugar or insulin levels. In fact, your body needs some sugar to power its organ systems and complete important tasks. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, “What you should do is use only fruit and unsulfured dried fruit as a sweetener because it is combined with fiber and pectin.” The fiber and pectin break down slower in your body and reduce hunger pangs and sugar cravings. Bananas, blueberries, dates, and apples are all good sources of natural sugar that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Just don’t overeat them.
Sugar gives you energy, which helps power you through the day for a temporary period. However, most times, people don’t utilize all the sugar that they consume, which causes a buildup in their bodies. One of the best ways to burn the sugar you ingest is to exercise, but don’t go crazy. Go for a long walk or a jog after eating an excess amount of sugar. Start slow, and work your way up to a medium intensity.
Combat withdrawal symptoms
You might think that withdrawal symptoms only deal with drug or alcohol abuse, but it can also happen with sugar. This is because sugar acts like a drug, which stimulates the body and gives you a temporary boost. When you remove sugar from your diet, your body will crave it and undergo withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, headaches, and fatigue. A study conducted in 2007 about rats and addiction found that, “Sugar was much more addictive than cocaine.” Researchers gave rats cocaine and made them addicted to it before switching them to sugar. When presented with the choice, rats chose sugar over cocaine. To fight withdrawal symptoms, take an amino acid like L-glutamine, get a full night’s sleep or eat a spoon of peanut butter.
Eat more fiber
Fiber is a major nutrient that your body needs to keep its functions in check. The Harvard School of Public Health states, “Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.” Fiber, like protein, gives you that full, satisfied feeling after you eat it. It also lowers your diabetes, heart disease, and cancer risk. Fiber slows down sugar absorption in your body and lowers your blood sugar level because your body cannot digest portions of it. If you overload on sugar, one of the fastest ways to help your body recover is to eat more fiber-filled foods like whole grains, nuts, legumes, apples, blueberries, and wheat.
Stress causes many health problems for your body, making you crave sugary comfort food. It also increases the cortisol in your body. According to Dr. Dina Aronson, MS, RD from Today’s Dietitian, “Elevated cortisol over the long term consistently produces glucose, leading to increased blood sugar levels.” If you eat too much sugar on top of that, your body will start to degenerate, you’ll gain weight—which will cause more stress and cortisol to build up—and you’ll increase your diabetes risk. Reduce your stress by practicing meditation, taking a yoga class, exercising, drinking green tea, or venting to a trusted friend or family member.
Drink more water
Water keeps you hydrated while also helping your kidneys function by flushing out toxins from your body. When you eat too much sugar, your kidneys have to work harder to get rid of it before it builds up and creates kidney stones. Not only that, but too much sugar in your diet can lead to type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which damages your kidneys and prevents them from doing their job efficiently. According to The National Kidney Foundation on kidney damage due to sugar and diabetes, “When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, the kidneys can’t clean the blood properly, resulting in more water and salt being retained and waste materials building up in the blood.” To prevent this, make sure you drink enough water, keep your blood sugar level low, and reduce your risk for diabetes by cutting sugar from your diet.