Are you ready for your 7 day sugar detox? If you read last weeks post, Break Sugar Addiction with A Detox Plan, you will know why you should quit sugar. I also told you some of what to expect from the detox.
Today we go deeper into what you can do to help yourself through this detox, as well as what to do each day of the detox.
FYI: I detoxed from sugar this past winter.
I implemented a Ketovore diet, which made ditching sugar much easier than my past attempts. I think it was the extra protein and fat that I was eating.
I broke free from: eating chocolate in the evening while watching t.v (sometimes more than one bar), random trips out at night to buy snacks, and my addiction to Starbucks caramel frappuccino’s, even though I always ordered half sweet. Sometimes I had a Venti in the morning and a grande in the afternoon.
I also quit ice cream!
If I can do this, then so can you!!!
Welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes.
Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food and getting some sunshine is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
Your Sugar Detox Plan
Your goal with this sugar detox is not to eliminate sugar forever. That is not realistic.
Your goal here is to get a grip on sugar consumption. Life would be no fun without the odd piece of birthday cake or an ice cream cone in summer.
What you want to break is the addiction created by food manufacturers.
You want to give control back to yourself.
It is not recommended to go “cold turkey” with your sugar detox; this is due to the highly addictive qualities of sugar. I know because I have tried. I probably ate more sugar when attempting cold turkey. Sigh.
You are more likely to succeed the first time you detox, if you create a solid plan and follow through with it. #goalsetting101
Please read my post Break Sugar Addiction with A Detox Plan. This will give you: reasons to quit sugar, why it’s hard to quit on your own, and some easy ways to start cutting back.
Once you understand what to expect, you can start planning out your sugar detox.
To make the sugar detox easier, consider cutting back on sugary foods daily for 1 week to 10 days before the detox. This gets your “head in the game” and sets you up for success.
You may want to consider starting your detox before the weekend.
You might be grouchy but if you can make through Friday, and the weekend, you will be through the worst of it, I swear.
So read up on withdrawal symptoms (below), as well as how to alleviate them (also below). Get anything you need before you start, so you’re not scrambling around in a sugar detox-tizzy.
What Are The Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms?
When you start your sugar detox diet, you may go through withdrawal. Some forms of sugar are addictive, such as the fructose added to many processed foods.
The addictive aspect is why food manufacturers use sugar widely in their products. To keep you buying their foods. #unethical
What you can expect over the coming days as you do a sugar detox.
It will be easier to make it through if you know what to expect. Knowing that it will only last for a few days makes it easier to make it through this tough transition period of detoxing from your sugar habit.
The first thing you’ll notice is that you start to crave sugary treats. It starts out with you thinking that a cookie would be nice. Then the cravings get worse until you’re ready to do just about anything for a sweet treat.
Your best bet is to get anything sweet out of the house before you start to crave and cave. If you must have sugar, the only acceptable form is whole fruit: not canned fruit, not dried fruit, not fruit juice…only 1 piece of whole fruit.
This will give you a bit of natural sugar to stop the craving, as well as some nutrients and fiber to fill you up a bit. If you find yourself eating a bag of apples daily, consider leaving your home when cravings hit.
Mood Swings and Tiredness
Don’t be surprised to go from “I can do this” to “no way” in a matter of minutes. Mood swings, crankiness and even feelings like all you want to do is nap are not uncommon as your body starts to detox from the sugar.
- Call a friend,
- Watch a movie
- Take nap
Do whatever it takes to make it through these few days of a sugar detox cleanse. Remember that no matter how crappy you feel, this won’t last long.
Sugar has quite the effect on the brain, as does detoxing from it. It’s not uncommon to have a headache as your body gets used to running without the sugar. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Some black coffee and/or acetaminophen will help as well.
If you are getting nauseous in addition to having the headache, try drinking some unsweetened peppermint tea.
Joint and Body Aches
Some people experience flu-like symptoms including joint and body aches. It’s your body going through the sugar withdrawal. Try drinking some warm chicken broth or take a hot bath in Epsom salt.
The symptoms could be caused by an electrolyte imbalance and both of those will help. Some people swear by drinking some pickle juice to get rid of the aches.
Alternatively, add sea salt to your regular meals or use a salt substitute, which contains potassium.
Shakes and Chills
What would withdrawal be without shakes and chills? It may feel like a fever or you’re coming down with some nasty bug, but again, it’s just sugar withdrawal symptoms.
Crawl in the bed and sleep through the worst of it if you can. By the time you wake up you’ll be through most of it.
Above all, don’t let these symptoms scare you away from giving a sugar detox a try.
Chances are you won’t experience all of these and many of your symptoms won’t be very severe. Keep in mind that this will only last for a few days and you’ll come out of it without the sugar cravings.
And with a chance for a much healthier diet and lifestyle.
3 Tips For Alleviating Sugar Detox Symptoms
Cutting all the added sugar out of your diet is much better for your health, but while your body adjusts to your new diet; you can experience some unpleasant sugar detox side effects.
Don’t give in to candy! Instead try these three tips to help you make it through the relatively short detox period.
Drink Lots of Water
First and foremost make sure you drink plenty of water. Not only will staying hydrated help alleviate many of the detox symptoms I mentioned, it will also keep you full.
Feel a headache coming on? Get a glass of water.
Want a cookie or doughnut? Drink more water. That is my strategy for when I don’t think I can make it without another sweet treat or when the plate of danishes in the break room are calling my name.
Pour a big glass of water, drink it slowly and then make yourself wait 15 minutes.
By then the craving has usually passed, or you’re so full with water that you can pass on the sugary stuff. Yay for you!!
Supplement With A Good Multi Vitamin
Vitamin C, B vitamins, and Zinc are all known to help with cravings.
Taking a good multi vitamin may be just the thing to help reduce detox side effects and make it through the few not so pleasant days of getting used to consuming a lot less sugar.
In addition, you can talk to your medical care provider about supplementing with a few of these micronutrients in higher doses. Don’t do this without medical supervision or the advice of your doctor though.
Last but not least, I need you to realize that a lot of the cravings and not feeling well is in your head.
The more you focus on negative side effects of detoxing from sugar, the worse they will get. The best way to avoid this is to stay busy.
While I don’t recommend doing a sugar detox when you’re at work, particularly during a busy or stressful time, staying busy is a good idea.
Make some plans to head out with friends, go for a walk, reorganize your closet, or just settle in for a Netflix marathon.
What you do doesn’t matter as long as you stay busy and keep your mind off of the sugar detox symptoms.
Why Going Cold Turkey May Not Be A Good Idea When Sugar Detoxing
Some people do great going cold turkey when it comes to sugar.
They cut it all out of their diet, deal with the nasty side effects of sugar detoxing or a few days and move on.
But that doesn’t work for everyone. For some of us the side effects are just too severe, or going cold turkey just doesn’t appeal to us.
In those cases a more gradual approach may do the trick.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter if you cut all the sugar out at once or slowly wean yourself off the stuff.
What matters is how you eat a few weeks from now.
It’s important to implement healthy changes to your diet that you can stick with for the long term.
If you’ve tried a sugar detox and just couldn’t make it through those days of detoxing, or if the whole idea scares you, go with a more gradual approach.
Start by looking at what you’re eating and drinking any given day.
Where do you consume the most sugar? Soda? Coffee?
If you’re drinking a lot of soda, start there. Cut back to no more than one serving of sugary soda a day and replace the rest with water, herbal tea and black coffee.
If you’re drinking coffee with a lot of sugar and cream, work on getting yourself used to less and less sugar in your coffee.
Switch to using heavy cream in your coffee. It is mostly fat, but it allows you to use far less sweetener. It also fills you up so that you crave less.
Or switch to bulletproof coffee, with coconut oil or MCT plus grass fed butter. You will not miss the sugar!
Next, work on the food.
Write down what you eat for a few days and you’ll see some patterns emerge.
- Where do the sweet treats pop up?
- Is it the sugar filled breakfast cereal or muffin in the morning?
- Could it be the bag of cookies to get you through your afternoon?
- Or is it the chocolate and ice cream late night snack?
Find out when and where you consume a lot of sugar.
Then make a plan to break that habit.
For example you could cook eggs for breakfast. Try scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese added and fried in butter. No, fat does not make you fat; sugar does.
If you need a little “pick-me-up” in the afternoon, grab a piece of fruit or a handful of salted nuts.
If evening snacking is your vice, eat a big dinner and then see if you can make it with just a cup of herbal tea until bedtime. If not, grab some raw veggies and dip or an apple as your evening snack. It will be a lot better for you than that bowl of ice cream.
I had the bad habit of eating treats in the evening.
Watching T.V. was a natural time for junk food. To help myself stop, I eat a large amount of protein for dinner; for me, that is about 6 ounces of lean meat. I topped it with some butter (I eat Ketovore foods). I have zero food cravings after that…just sayin’.
Keep making gradual changes that you can live with until you’ve cut most of the added sugar from your diet.
The 7 Day Sugar Detox
Are you ready to stop eating sugar and change your diet in less than a week? Having a buddy can help immensely.
However, you can do it yourself by following this simple step by step plan. And remember to leave your home if cravings are bad. Get some fresh air and a fresh perspective!
Each day you’ll focus on something different and before the week is over you’ll have broken that sugar habit. Let’s start.
Day 1 -Monitor Your Daily Sugar Intake
For the first day, simply keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming.
Write down everything you eat and drink and start adding up how many grams of sugar you’re consuming. Add it all up at the end of the day. #eyeopener
Now the gram amount might not mean much to you. Grab your calculator and use this formula to figure out how many teaspoons of sugar you’ve had.
Each teaspoon of sugar has about 4 g of sugar in it, so take your total grams and divide them by 4.
How many teaspoons of sugar have you had today? If you need a visual aide, grab the sugar jar and measure it out into a bowl.
If you’re anything like the average American, it will be quite a lot of sugar.
Seeing the amount in front of you will help you make it through the next five days and work hard at cutting back on the sugar you consume.
Day 2 – Cut The Sugar From Your Favorite Beverages
There’s a lot of sugar hiding in your favorite drinks.
Today I want you to focus on cutting it out of everything you drink. That means no more soda, no sugar or fancy creamer in your coffee, no sugar or honey in your tea and no fruit juices.
Pay attention to everything you drink and if it has sugar, skip it.
Stick to water, club soda, black coffee (with milk or cream) and unsweetened tea.
Keep up this habit of sugar free drinks throughout the rest of the week.
Day 3 – Switch To Sugar Detox Foods
Today we’ll change up breakfast.
Instead of grabbing a bowl of sugary cereal, a breakfast bar or a doughnut…
Fry up some eggs in butter
Or fix a bowl of oatmeal with a handful of fresh berries. Unsweetened yogurt is another great choice, also with fresh berries.
Find a couple of sugar free breakfast treats you like and start having them from here on out instead of your sugary breakfast options.
Or try Chaffles. A Keto-friendly waffle might help you to pass on sugar.
Day 4 – Skip Treats and Snacks
It’s time to give up your favorite sweet treats, snacks and desserts. That also means no more cookies, candy or ice cream.
Yes, this is going to be hard, but you can do it. I believe in you!
Focus on eating real food and bigger portions during your main meals.
Without the blood sugar spikes and dips that your favorite sugary treats cause, you’ll find you won’t be as hungry in between meals. The first few days will be challenging, but it will get easier.
Day 5 – Find Healthy Replacements For Your Favorite Treats
When you really crave a little something sweet or feel like you must have some sort of dessert choose a natural option.
Have a piece of fruit or turn frozen banana slices, cream, and vanilla extract into mock ice cream in the blender.
Find a few things you enjoy.
If you’re craving chocolate, grab a bar of dark chocolate with little added sugar and allow yourself one or two squares a day.
You may find, as I did, that unsweetened chocolate tastes like dirt. Over time, and with less sugar in your diet, it will taste sweeter! I know, crazy right?
Moderation is key with these healthy sweet treats.
Day 6 – Watch For Hidden Sugars
Last but not least start watching out for hidden sugars.
Get into the habit of reading labels. Avoid anything labelled “low fat” because those things have a bunch of added sugar (you can buy sugar free ketchup, bbq sauce, and salad dressings but you should still read the label).
Words like glucose, fructose, and high fructose corn syrup – pretty much anything ending in -ose will alert you to added sugar sources.
Cook what you can from scratch to have control over what goes into your food. Follow this advice and you’ll be free of that sugar habit in less than a week.
FYI: Fast food products contain tons of hidden sugars. The most surprising, for me, was french fries.
Fries have a coating of ingredients that give them that yummy, uniform golden color, thanks to sugar. The same property of sugar that, when heated correctly, turns table sugar into syrup is used to give fries that perfectly cooked look.
It is not surprising that fast food manufacturers would also employ the addictive properties of sugar into their food products.
Day 7 – Ta-da!
Guess what? If you followed through with the past six days, you are automatically healthier! Congratulations my friend!
And even if you didn’t finish 100%, you are better educated for next time.
I get it. I tried multiple times to quit sugar. Multiple times. Eating a mostly meat diet with some added fat helped more than anything else. Much easier!
Temptation After Your Sugar Detox
You’ve made it through your sugar detox and are on your way to a lifetime of eating healthy, wholesome foods. A lot of your sugar cravings are gone, but you may succumb to temptation out of habit. That’s life right?
Let’s talk about what you can do to deal with temptation in the weeks, months, and years to come. Yes, there will always be sugary treats around.
The goal of this sugar detox is to put you in the drivers seat.
You get to decide if you eat sugar, not a food addiction. It may take a while to break free and gain back that control.
Do not beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. Just get back on and keep moving forward, from wherever you are. Keep in mind:
Expect To Be Tempted
The first key is to not let down your guard. Temptation is all around us from that box of donuts left in in the break-room to the offered piece of homemade pie.
While you can keep it out of your house, be mentally prepared for temptation at work, when you go out to eat, and particularly when you’re over at someone else’s house.
If you are going to succumb, then choose what you will eat, eat it, and be done with it.
If you think that one taste will set off sugar cravings, weigh the consequences and decide.
I know that I have to avoid banquet tables of yummy sweets or I will just stand there…eating everything. I decide to avoid that area, and instead I focus on meeting new people. I find that activity more rewarding.
Don’t Leave Home Hungry
Eat a high protein meal before you leave home. You will be better able to fight temptation, or at least not binge, if your belly is full of quality food.
Be sure to pack a good protein lunch for yourself as well. Chicken or egg salad, cheese and sliced meats, or other high-protein foods are great for this.
If you’re hungry, your willpower may slip.
Carry An Emergency Snack
For those cases when you do find yourself hungry and tempted, carry an emergency snack of mixed nuts in your purse, car, or briefcase.
If you need to buy a snack “on the road”, head to a gas station. They always have lots of great high protein snacks. Jerky (watch for hidden sugar!), pepperoni sticks (unless you need to be up close to people lol), or even string cheese all work.
They also sell pork rinds, which work great for ‘crunchy-salty’ snack cravings.
A bottle of water to go along with your snack is also a good idea.'Failing to plan is planning to fail' - Alan LakeinClick To Tweet
Forgive Yourself And Vow To Do Better
No matter how well you prepare yourself and how strong your willpower is, chances are you’ll slip up here and there. It happens.
Maybe you’re grabbing a cookie without thinking and don’t realize that you’re eating sugar until it’s almost gone.
Or maybe there simply isn’t a polite way to turn down your grandma’s homemade coconut cream pie that she made just for you because she knew you were visiting.
There will be slip ups.
And there will be times when quite frankly it is worth the cheat. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but try to go with a thin slice/small piece. Eat it and move on.
A little sugar here and there won’t kill you. It’s the 160+ pounds per year that does.
Don’t use that as an excuse to slip back into old habits. Use it to enjoy social events and eat well the rest of the time. Your body will thank you for it.
These are some strange times when common foods turn us into food addicts, but that’s where we are. As long as you understand what is being done to you, you can decide what to do about it, if anything.
Holistic approaches never just address symptoms of specific health problems, but instead aim to return or keep the patient in a state of balanced health between mind, body, and spirit. Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here’s to our health!