How to Do Sugar Detox Successfully in 5 Steps

One of the most important discoveries in terms of health in the last decade or so is that sugar consumption is a huge factor in weight gain as well as a myriad of health conditions and diseases. With that comes the next step: pulling oneself off of sugar… which may not be so easy. As a nutritionist, it’s really important to help people find easy ways to get from point A to B in their health journey using food. That being said, here are my 5 steps to a successful sugar detox.

5 Steps to a Success Sugar Detox

5 steps to a successful sugar detox: How to sugar detox and how it can indicate if you're addicted to sugar.
Author: Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Instructions

  • PRE-EXPERIMENT WITH SUGAR:
    Knowing how you respond to sugar (emotionally and physically) is a huge first step in detoxing from sugar. Many people go into a sugar detox thinking they can easily get off sugar for a week or so and be fine. Doing an initial experiment with sugary foods BEFORE you start a sugar detox (and with the right tools to guide you through, like the 'Sugar Detox Experience' free sugar detox offered on the TRUEWELL site) will help you understand how you respond to sugar, and if you may be addicted to it.
  • GET IN THE RIGHT MIND-FRAME:
    Go into your sugar detox with the correct mind frame. Are you starting this to kickstart weight loss, manage a condition, or just adopt a more healthy lifestyle? Know your high-level goals, then dig in to really get to the bottom of your big 'why' for your sugar detox.
  • SHOP + PREP FOR MEALS:
    Having a sugar-free meal plan that is specifically designed by a nutritionist is KEY to completing a successful sugar detox. This is because (especially if you've been on a really high-sugar diet for a while), it can be hard to go sugar-free cold turkey. A meal plan like the one offered for free in the Sugar Detox Experience by TRUEWELL actually pulls you off higher-glycemic foods gradually, giving you the best chance possible of avoiding cravings.
  • FOLLOW THE MEAL PLAN:
    It's very important to follow the meal plan for your sugar detox. Many people *think* they know what foods are sugar-free or safe to eat if they've failed to plan. However, this is usually how they ended up in the situation of needing a sugar detox in the first place. Make sure you follow the meal plan while on your sugar detox! (It has the perfect options for fruits, veggies, and grains while detoxing from sugar!)
  • BE READY FOR SIDE-EFFECTS + BE PREPARED:
    Side effects of coming off high levels of sugar can be rough if you don't know what to expect! Several side effects (like headaches, severe exhaustion, and severe cravings) are very likely, and are a major reason people don't complete their first week or two of a sugar detox.
    Be prepared with the free Sugar Detox Experience video guide plus one week meal plan!

Ready to start your free 1-week Sugar Detox Experience? Get yours below! 👇

how to do a sugar detox, 5 steps to a sugar detox successfully
how to do a sugar detox, 5 steps to a sugar detox successfully

The Sugar Detox Meal Plan to Help You Break Free of Sugar

Can a sugar detox meal plan really help you quit sugar for good?

Well, that depends. As a nutritionist, I help people get off sugar for a ton of different reasons. Some of these include a diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes, having inflammatory conditions, or simply needing sustainable energy all day that doesn’t require hits of food just to make it through the day.

When people decide to do a sugar detox, they have an end-goal in mind, whether that’s to kickstart weight loss, manage a condition, or simply enjoy energy from healthy fuel instead of multiple Starbucks runs a day.

Now whether or not the sugar detox is successful in keeping cravings and binges at bay is another story.

There are usually several camps of people that start a sugar detox meal plan in an attempt to quit sugar:

  1. Those who can quit it and forget it,
  2. those who crave it and can’t resist it or quit it once they’ve started (bingeing),
  3. and then a range of in-betweens.

You usually know where you’re at on that spectrum by the time you get to a point of wanting to do a sugar detox in the first place.

So as a nutritionist, it’s extremely helpful to put meal plans out there that are specifically designed for coming off sugar in a particular way. Which is what the Sugar Detox Experience one-week meal plan is (grab it below!)

Most people that do a sugar detox complain about 2 main things:

1- The side effects, and

2- The cravings not really going away.

This sugar detox meal plan is designed to help you gradually come off sugars and higher carb foods to avoid the side effects. But it’s also designed to help you understand the cravings and binges with the bonus video training.

The people that see the MOST SUCCESS with a sugar detox are the ones who:

  • Are honest about their level of dependence on sugar
  • Make the commitment to start with a reliable sugar detox
  • Stick to sugar-free meals going forward to help reset their bodies and brains

The best time to quit sugar is NOW, and the best way to do it is with a nutritionist-designed sugar detox meal plan and guide to help you understand the hold sugar may have on you, and how to beat it for good.

So go ahead and grab yours now below!! 👇

sugar detox meal plan
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The REAL Reasons Why You Should Quit Sugar

Why you should quit sugar and going sugar-free has certainly been a hot topic of the last several years. One group of ‘health gurus’ will claim that the body needs carbohydrates and that sugar is just one of many that are harmless. And yet another will claim that sugar is killing everyone.

What’s been lost in translation here are several factors when it comes to what sugar and carbohydrates do in the body. But also, the way that different forms of carbohydrates determine that.

Firstly, every single person is different. Their genes are different, their living situations, their lifestyles, and their diets are all different. Some claim that sugar doesn’t affect them adversely at all, while others swear that carbohydrates make them bloated, foggy-headed, and gain weight. And yet others feel they’re chained to it, unable to resist the calling for sugar and unable to quit once they’ve started.

One key puzzle piece here, however, is the fact that the body–regardless of all its differences from person to person–will attempt to adapt to survive. (Which is why people on diets ‘plateau’ at some point.)

So where some end up on low-carb and keto diets with very little carbohydrate and zero sugar and feel great, others can do plant-based or vegan dietary styles with much higher carbohydrate content, and also feel fantastic.

But the constant dispute has revolved around sugar and carbohydrates and whether or not they’re bad for us.

So first and foremost– sugar is a carbohydrate. Our bodies get energy from carbohydrates. There are MANY carbohydrates, however, and the ones that are refined (ie, table sugar, the various millions of ‘renamed sugars’ put on packaged food labels, and refined flours) are the key ones that are dangerous. Here’s why.

why you should quit sugar

Sugar and Processed Foods

The first point I always make as a nutritionist is that when foods have sugar, fructose, or the thousand-and-one various ‘new names for sugar’ created by food companies, they will also invariably lack fiber.

Fiber is the thing in fruits and vegetables that prevent our body’s sugar-management system from going into overdrive. Fiber helps blunt the impact of sugars, which is why eating whole fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, is healthy, whereas eating refined sugars and refined grains is not.

What I mean is that the lack of fiber in processed foods, with the addition of extra (added) sugars, normally go hand in hand.

Sugar and Inflammation

Inflammation tends to be lower on the list of concerns for anyone that doesn’t seem to have a condition related to inflammation. This is a huge mistake, as chronic inflammation is the cause of a myriad of diseases, as well as other conditions like depression and anxiety.

And a key contributor to inflammation in the body is sugar. Even after studying the effects of several different types of sugar, reviews of multiple studies show that one isn’t necessarily worse than the other: ALL sugars contribute to chronic inflammation.

Sugar and Your Skin

As a teen, I was told peanut butter could be contributing to my acne, only to read a year or so later that foods don’t affect your skin. As a nutritionist, I now know this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

What you put in your body determines how your body functions. And since your skin is the largest organ, this especially holds true for your skin.

Research has shown that sugar produces advanced glycation end products, which cause a severe slowing of cell turnover rates for collagen and other proteins. The end result is much faster aging on the skin.

Sugar and Aging

Just as sugar produces advanced aging mechanisms for the skin, it also accelerates the same process in all other tissues in the body. This means that your skin will begin to reflect what’s happening to everything inside your body.

Sugar and Insulin Resistance + Metabolic Syndrome

Yet another thing that added sugars do is creates insulin resistance, which causes metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes.

Sugar and Heart Disease

Although dietary saturated fat has been traditionally thought to cause heart disease, studies have shown that sugar is actually a major contributor. This can also be attributed to the relationship with metabolic syndrome, as stated above.

Sugar and High blood pressure

High blood pressure is yet another condition traditionally blamed on excess sodium. It has been found, however, that sugar plays an equal role in high blood pressure.

Sugar and Sleep

Although a generally less-researched field, the connection with a high-sugar diet and sleep are steadily mounting. Many don’t realize that there is a connection with your insulin and circadian rhythm. The fluctuations in cortisol and melatonin affect how your body processes insulin while you sleep (much less effectively) which creates a higher blood sugar level during sleep.

If you’re diabetic you probably already pay attention to this as you check your fasting blood sugar levels upon waking. But people that aren’t diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes should be conscientious of this as well:

High blood sugar levels throughout the day will carry over into our sleep time, creating higher blood sugar while we sleep–even for people that do not have diabetes.

Higher blood sugar levels during sleep have been shown to create less quality sleep and shorter sleep. And the reverse is true as well, less quality and time sleeping creates a worse insulin sensitivity in the body–which becomes a vicious cycle.

Energy Rollercoaster

Aside from the conditions listed above, keeping added sugars out of the diet helps keep you on a steady energy plane all day. I don’t know many people who don’t have too little time during the day for work, family, and home life.

Staying on an energy rollercoaster sets the stage for anxiety, depression, and a vicious cycle of loading up on unhealthy foods that give a temporary energy hit just to crash later and go back to the same foods for another boost just to get through the day.

My advice is to start with a sugar detox to get off added sugars altogether and see how good you feel every day with energy from healthy fuel instead!

Get your free Sugar Detox meal plan + 5 Steps to a Successful Sugar Detox below! 👇

why you should quit sugar

Sugar Detox for Diabetes

As obvious as it may seem, some don’t consider a sugar detox for diabetes. Maybe because it’s been touted as a ‘wellness’ trend in the past. But the truth is, many people with this diagnosis got there because they consume too much sugar and have a hard time getting off it.

One of the most common but disconcerting diagnoses of our time is that of diabetes or pre-diabetes. Disconcerting, but not shocking. As of 2019, over 70% of adults in the US are overweight, and with that comes other conditions that include diabetes. In fact, current statistics show that a full one-third of adults in the US are prediabetic.

This makes it surprising, as primary care physicians should request A1C testing for patients that are overweight at standard annual visits since reversing diabetes is way more possible if caught early in the pre-diabetic stages.

Regardless of timing or diagnosis, many in this situation are seeking out a way to ‘detox’ from sugar to help control their blood sugar levels, and then go sugar-free to manage their diabetes. This, a sugar detox for diabetes is a great way to get started in this new journey.

Sugar Detox Side Effects + How to Manage Them

With every good healthy change comes its own set of challenges. And unfortunately, doing a sugar detox out of love and appreciation for your body and health also ungraciously comes with its challenges–usually referred to as “sugar detox side effects”.

Surely you’ve read the myriad of unpleasant side effects that can happen once you decide to detox from sugar. (Here’s why you should quit sugar.) Your coworker, friend, or sister have had this thing or that happen when they detoxed. Which makes it plausible to have questions.

And here’s the truth of the matter:

Sugar can be a giant asshole. It makes you crave it, it makes you gain weight, it ages you incessantly, and it creates a cycle of binging-guilt-cravings. And also–it’s gonna give you hell if you decide to quit it.

sugar detox side effects headache cravings

Here are the main side effects of breaking up with the food you hate to love and love to hate, and how to manage.

Headaches

Headaches can be a two-fold thing when it comes to sugar detox side effects. On one hand, your body is trying to adjust to a new energy source–including your brain energy.

Secondly, a little-known secret is that carbohydrates hold water in the body like salt can. So reducing it can make you dehydrated.

Solution: Get the largest water bottle you can find, and guzzle all day long!

Mega Cravings

One of the nasty things sugar can do is make you feel like your going into a withdrawal situation physically. And when this happens, your body and brain are working together to find some homeostasis. Again– your body is adjusting to a new energy source, but there are also some reward-system responses from your brain at play here as well.

Solution: When mega cravings hit, a really good way to combat this is to start out with deep breathing to calm yourself. Then find a healthy snack that is sugar-free but has a higher fat (and preferably protein and fiber) content.

Crazy Mood Swings

As anyone beginning on a diet can tell you, the crazy mood swings will repel your loved ones (and coworkers) like nobody’s business. This is (again) from your body trying to readjust to a new energy source. This causes blood sugar swings, which can make you feel moody and emotional, unfortunately.

Solution: Make sure to have a balanced snack and eat every 2-3 hours during this detox period. But also take some breathing time every day to decompress. Remind yourself what a fabulous thing you’re doing for your body and mind, thank yourself, and breathe deeply until you’re ready to take on the rest of your day with some semblance of having your ish together. 🙂

Want the full gamut of a SUCCESSFUL SUGAR DETOX–including help for the rest of the side-effects you may experience?

Get the 1-week meal plan and video guide “The Sugar Detox Experience + 5 Steps to a Successful Sugar Detox” below! 👇

sugar detox side effects headache cravings

Is Sugar Addiction Real?

One of my lowest moments was being about 25 pounds overweight, constantly ‘saying’ I wanted lose weight, but hiding out in the pantry, terrified of being caught, while I shoved cupcake after cupcake in my face because I literally could not control myself.

So if you ask me, personally… Hell yes, sugar addiction is real.

If you ask my husband, who’s always been able to just have a bite or two and walk away… well, he doesn’t really know. But he can tell you that he feels that way about potato chips.

As a nutrition specialist, I now know that there is mounting research supporting ‘food’ being addictive, including sugar.

For some, sugar alone is what will get them. For others it could be the salt, or even the combination of the flavors like fat + sugar, or fat + salt. Food companies have spent billions of dollars figuring this out. And make no mistake: their interests lie in making sure you keep coming back for more.

As a nutrition specialist and recovered sugar addict (and mom), I get asked this question over and over: Is sugar addiction real? Like really real?

And although the answer has taken many forms over the past several years, my answer to the question is a resounding YES, sugar addiction is really real. And I’ll explain why.

My relationship with sugar started as a kid from the south whose family knew no bounds of cooking with sugar and white flour. This meant dessert after many a meal, and the biggest, sugary-est birthday cakes you’ve ever seen. I loved the sugar and butter combination (or sugar and shortening), and by the time I was a teenager would always request the piece of cake with the absolute most icing flowers on it.

I never knew the damage all the sugar was doing to my gut bacteria, nor that it could have an effect on my moods, hormones, and definitely not my neurotransmitters or immune system.

I developed asthma around 12 and had terrible hayfever that I never really shook. By my teen years, I had terrible acne, was constantly irritable, and forever anxious.

It wasn’t until adulthood when I started studying nutrition that I really took a step back and thought through my constant depressive symptoms as a teen and young adult, and put a few pieces together for the ups and downs of my moods, skin, and hormones.

But it wasn’t until after having gestational diabetes for 2 out of 3 pregnancies (type 2 seems to run in my family) that I noticed that I felt a thousand percent better when I nixed the sugar.

But quitting sugar wasn’t as easy as just saying ‘no thank you’.

Every birthday was a struggle (and it sometimes still is). I’ve been in the throes of postpartum depression 3x where I would hide in the pantry to stuff as many cupcakes in secret as I could into my face before anyone could see. I’ve binged for hours, alternating sugary and salty snacks, in secret when my husband was out of town for work.

I know that I can’t eat more than a bite or two of anything like that without falling back down that slippery slope.

So I can attest first-hand what it feels like to be addicted to sugar. No matter what kind of logic your brain tells you about how crappy you’ll feel the next day (physically and emotionally), that crazy part of your brain takes over and mutes the logic.

is sugar addiction real, sugar detox

The Science Behind Sugar Addiction

While in my master’s program we had to do many projects on various topics that all require peer-reviewed studies to back our answers. Part of the studies I sought out revolved around sugar addiction. At the time one professor pointed out that the only study thus far involved rats that preferred sugar over cocaine.

Also at the time, the book of diagnostic codes contained mental health diagnostics for food addiction, but not specifically sugar. The reasoning was that they, at the time, couldn’t definitively prove that sugar itself was physically addicting, further confusing the ‘Is sugar addiction real?’ question altogether.

I personally have a problem with this, because many people (including myself) have felt the withdrawal symptoms of coming off sugar. These side effects are definitely not imagined, and some have described them as feeling like having a mild case of the flu.

The clincher of sugar is that when consumed, it occupies the same receptors in the brain as drugs like cocaine and heroin. It gives a dopamine hit, which makes you feel good. So it activates those reward systems in the brain and essentially ‘programs’ the brain to want more and make you think you need it.

And once you keep eating it, cravings will start for it.

From that point, it can be very difficult to satisfy the craving and keep yourself from seeking anything to replace it until you completely get off it.

Another thing that happens is that you build tolerance. This is when the brain receptors get a lot of the dopamine hits but eventually adapt and need more to get that reward response.

This tends to be one of the hallmarks of a definition of ‘addiction’, but again– the issue is whether it specifically is sugar, or is another component of the food you’re eating, or even a combination of components. These possibilities need more research before the medical system will consider giving a specific diagnostic code for sugar, specifically.

Do sugar detoxes work?

The last few years have seen a rise in people doing sugar detoxes to get off sugar in hopes of kickstarting weight loss, beginning a diet to manage conditions like diabetes, or simply wanting to eat more healthy in general to feel better and manage their daily energy. Many have questioned if these actually work to help control the cravings.

In my experience, the answer is yes. But there are a few things to know:

  1. You have to be vigilant about staying off sugar. If you’re one of the people (like me) that truly feel an addiction to it, it can be really hard to take ‘just one bite’ of anything and quit. You need a plan, and probably an accountability partner for things like birthdays.
  2. You have to know what qualifies as sugar. You’d be shocked at what the food industry has done to get around the term ‘sugar’. They’ve done their best to trick us into not knowing what we’re eating. But they need sugar for taste and that addiction factor so you’ll keep buying. So educate yourself on all the hidden terms.
  3. Know that grains (especially refined ones) can react the same way in your body that sugar does, kicking off that dopamine hit and reward response. For this reason, many experts recommend quitting anything with grains in it. This includes breads, pastas, pastries, etc. This part can be tough, but when you see the benefits of how you feel, you’ll figure out how to make it happen consistently.

Bottom line is that, although studies are slowly catching up, it’s a very real thing.

There is also evidence of a genetic component to some people feeling addicted to sugar. The gene that controls the dopamine receptors in our brains can have mutations that impair the reward system in the brain, thereby triggering some people to show addictive behavior toward sugar.

Given the current research, it’s just a matter of time before the studies come out to give more definition to the specific addictive properties of sugar, as well as the food combinations that food companies already have the data to back up.

Ready to get off sugar for good? Grab your 1-Week Sugar Detox Meal Plan + 5 Steps to a Successful Sugar Detox below! 👇

is sugar addiction real, sugar detox

3 Strategies to Stop Letting Sugar Fuel Your Day

Sitting in the line at CVS bawling my eyes out over everything in my life was definitely NOT how I imagined my life at 37 years old. I was totally fine (for the moment) as I pulled into the drive-thru.

The things on my mind were:

  • pick up the antibiotic for my middle kid,
  • get dinner going in the next 2 hours even though I had no clue what we were eating,
  • feed the baby in the back seat with the little milk I had left,
  • oh yeah—and get the five blog posts edited and scheduled that were sitting in my queue.

I had it mostly together that day. Sometimes I even felt proud that I could do everything I was doing trying to raise our 3 kids nearly as a single parent due to extensive travel my husband’s job required, all while desperately trying to build a business (my one thing, it felt, for myself.)

I patted my leg, giving myself a pep talk as I circled CVS and then stopped in my place in line.

And that’s when I felt it: bumps. Lots of bumps.

I looked down and saw that my legs were covered in welts. And then the panic hit, because that’s what I did—I had anxiety attacks.

I did a mental check to make sure my throat wasn’t closing up even though I’d never had an anaphylactic reaction before. Then I tried to remember if I had any Benadryl with me. It wouldn’t matter anyway, I reasoned, because I was driving and it makes me sleepy.

So I did some deep breathing as the urge to flip the hell out bubbled into my eyes and down my cheeks.

And I sat there crying until it was my turn in line.

Times like this had proven to me that my ability to properly lose my shit and say and do unreasonable things were valid enough to find more healthy outlets for the stress.

Like walking (when I had the time), or journaling (when I had the time).

But now was not the time—forget that I never actually ‘had the time’. Because I was in the process of re-lactating because the baby started developing a rash on her entire body from formula. And ignorance and lack of an ounce of empathy from the doctor’s office had sent me on a journey of my own. A really hard one, on top of everything else life was throwing at me.

When I got home, I covered my legs in cortisone cream and sat down to realize I was pushing having a full-on nervous breakdown. I had zero support, too much on my own, and a severe lack of self besides being a mother.

I grabbed a bag of chocolate drizzled popcorn and downed the whole thing to make me feel better.

sugar productivity focus

How did other women do it? How were they successful with kids this little? How the hell was I even doing what I was doing all day? I certainly didn’t eat right. But I knew… Because this little voice in the back of my head that’d always been there was nagging at me again.

It was the voice of the snacks and the cakes and chips and pasta and every other little thing I’d ever turned to my whole life to make me feel better.

Basically: sugar.

The thing was, with my family’s history of type 2 diabetes, I knew I shouldn’t eat this way. And it was only after completing my master’s in nutrition that I got the full-on gravity of eating that way my whole childhood and early adulthood. It was only by luck that I’d always had a fast metabolism.

But my thirties were quickly catching up with me, and the sugar was sending me on a rollercoaster of emotions and energy all day long that not only made me believe I was being productive, but it also damaged relationships I had because of the Jeckyl and Hyde emotions that plagued me all day. (Not to mention the terrible allergies—hello hives!—and horrible skin that I’d developed through the years.)

But here was the problem: I’d always had sugar, and I’d always craved it. So when I decided to cut it out, it didn’t go nearly as smoothly as I expected. I had severe crashes if I didn’t have any carbs, and my easy answer was to grab something sugary to help ‘balance’ it. My frustration with quitting sugar was growing as I grappled to manage the rest of my life seemingly alone.

My dad getting diagnosed with prediabetes gave me a really powerful insight though. He said that once he got out of the cravings period of eating low-carb for a few weeks, those crashes went away. He could feel the difference of balanced blood sugar just by cutting out the sugar and being consistent.

So I finally sat down with myself and created a real action plan to fight the cravings so I could free myself.

This wasn’t easy, mind you—I’d spent years hiding in the pantry to eat as many cupcakes as I could after every kid’s birthday party before somebody caught me. But this time I was determined.

That willpower helped make sugar feel ONLY like a last resort some days, but for the most part I knew it was always sitting on my shoulder trying to tell me it had a hold on me that I’d never be able to shake, like a crack dealer just waiting for things to blow up so I’d come around for another hit.

At first my focus and productivity were about as dialed-in as walking around blindly inside a cloud. I felt angry, irritated, hopeless, and sad all within a matter of minutes some days. And my energy levels were nonexistent. The only reason I made myself get out of bed is because the kids needed me. But my Dad’s insight reminded me it was a process. And besides, I’d made a plan, and I was sticking to it.

My grand plan involved things like meal planning to make sure there were never any last-minute questions or eating out unexpectedly. I had learned to read food labels in my formal education and understand which wording clued me in that sugar was added to anything packaged. And I fully embraced swapping out vegetables to fill me up instead of rice or pasta.

The more I came off sugar and simple carbs, the better I felt.

I started to (finally) notice I was immensely more productive. I started preening my to-do list to only include things that mattered or made movement in my small blog.

Another really cool thing was that I was able to take a step back and breathe through the impulse I’d usually let take over to snap at the kids or my husband about things. This was huge because I’d basically turned into momzilla (and most days thought nobody wanted to be around me.) My husband and I started communicating. Like, really communicating.

And another great part? I started losing the baby weight I couldn’t shake before. (I even got confident enough to get back into a bikini!)

The thing is that most people don’t realize some things about sugar:

  • It’s addictive—like, legit addictive.
  • It makes your body hold onto fat.
  • It makes you believe you have energy, only to give you a crazy straight downhill crash.
  • It makes your emotions go completely berserk.
  • It actually ages you faster. And it shows up on your skin resembling the plague for some.
  • And then it does its thing and makes you come back for more, because either you don’t know any better, or because you crave it so bad you can’t help yourself.

I’ve been on the addiction side of it. I actually call myself a ‘recovered sugar addict’ because I’ve been through the severe cravings, complete lack of control around it, tolerance of it, and physical withdrawals.

But I made the conscious decision to live as intentionally as possible by getting off of it. It controlled nearly all aspects of my life and made me think I had to have it to function.

The truth I found was that it was wrecking nearly everything.

Thankfully I had some moments of complete clarity to be able to, firstly, recognize I had a problem, and secondly, create a plan of action to get off it for good.

There were 3 major things that helped me to truly cut the sugar out of my life:

  1. Being prepared by meal planning, having backups and lists of healthy stuff I could eat,
  2. Understanding the crazy huge emotional connection, and
  3. Breathing through the cravings so I could make healthy choices

Even now I struggle when my emotions are especially turbulent. A funny(ish) thing my husband and I do is yell, “Intervention!” to each other if either of us feels we’re spiraling into a binge. I also do daily mental and emotional check-ins to manage stress and responsibilities. This helps me keep ahead of any potential feelings to bury my emotions in sugary foods again.

These days my life is lived with an intention of goodness and love, productivity and ambition. And I know the way to keep at that is to keep my diet clean, because it’s my fuel for this beautiful ride that I don’t want to miss.

Want the full gamut of a SUCCESSFUL SUGAR DETOX–including help for the rest of the side-effects you may experience?

Get the 1-week meal plan and video guide “The Sugar Detox Experience + 5 Steps to a Successful Sugar Detox” below! 👇

sugar productivity focus

Exactly What is a Sugar Detox?

You may be wondering exactly what is a sugar detox? When most think of ‘detox’ they definitely don’t think of a food product. But in light of recent research as well as anecdotal reports of feeling addicted to sugar, it’s no surprise we now see the term ‘sugar detox’ as a form of improving our health.

Many begin searching for a sugar detox in hopes of getting off sugar to kick-start weight loss or help go sugar-free to manage a condition. But there are several nuances to getting off sugar and defining a legit answer to, ‘what is a sugar detox?’

Sugar Addiction

Well, starting out with recent research, we’ve seen that sugar can be especially addicting. There are definitely controversial indicators at play as to what different professions consider ‘addictive’. The mental health community considers it a mental health issue, as sugar triggers area of the brain that respond like drugs. But from a nutritionist stand-point, it’s very unhelpful to categorize this as strictly a mental issue when sugar can trigger cravings and binge-eating for life.

Research has also shown that there is a tolerance that builds so that things sweetened may taste less sweet over time of consistently eating sugar-filled foods and beverages, which is a hallmark sign of addiction.

So while there will be controversy on the technical definition of ‘sugar addiction’ (as well as controversy over how it can be diagnosed), there is no argument that some people cannot resist it.

Taking sugar out of the diet

As is the case with any detox, removing it from the body through diet allows the body to rid itself of the substances that are creating metabolic chains of events that affect our health negatively. Sometimes this is the constant reinforcement of the addictive loop, and sometimes it’s the spike in insulin and consequent hormones. Therefore a sugar detox is the act of ridding your body of sugars to sort of ‘reset’ it.

what is a sugar detox

Different levels

While some people are fine just eliminating added sugars and eating sugar-free from there on out in a clean, healthy way, others have more of a challenge. Some feel that the total sugars even included in fruits should be temporarily eliminated. Another food category that contributes to the continuation of cravings and binges is the ‘grain’ category, which is no surprise since these carbohydrates also raise blood sugar and notoriously make people feel more hungry shortly after.

That being said, it really depends on the total amount of sugars someone has been consuming regularly. But a step further would be the level of health issues trying to be managed in conjunction with the level of ‘addiction’ that person feels is happening any time they consume sugar or grains.

What’s the point of a sugar detox?

The point of the whole process is to get rid of sugars and foods your body metabolizes like sugar so that your brain, taste buds, and insulin response can ‘reset’ itself to behave more closely to normal.

Food companies have figured out how to hijack our brains into ‘needing’ whatever it is they’re selling, and they’ve spent billions of dollars doing this.

Many people pose the question, “Isn’t this level of stripping food freedom away unhealthy?”

Actually, it’s the other way around. The food companies have done a very good job of getting you hooked on those foods. If you initially knew a food was SUPER unhealthy before you even knew what it was, would you automatically say, ‘Yeah, I want that NOW!’ ?

Nope.

But if you knew it was a food you’ve experienced that dopamine rush for, you would.

Most people with that addiction feeling end up choosing the taste and dopamine (sugar-filled) over a healthier food option. That’s not food freedom. It’s not being able to control yourself and make healthy choices.

When you pull yourself out of that addictive state, you’re able to make smarter choices, which is what gives you REAL freedom.

Get started on your sugar detox with the free one-week meal plan + video guide: 👇

what is a sugar detox