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?’
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.
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!’ ?
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.
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