It’s hard to resist sugar. Think about all the cakes, chocolate, cocktails, and all calamarized delicacies you’ve had. The addiction seems to be inescapable.
Why do a sugar detox then? Because sugar intake greatly influences our weight, heart health, and even skin condition. And cutting off sugar to a minimum level is a scientifically proven way to effectively improve both physical and mental health.
The goal of this article is to give you some solid information about how taking too much sugar and how not taking sugar can affect your body.
At the end of the day, you will be the one who decides whether it’s necessary to do a sugar detox or simply cut off some amount of sugar intake in your daily diet.
What Is Sugar Detox?
Detoxification, medically speaking, refers to the process of gradually eliminating toxic substances from our bodies.
This might be carried out gradually over time, or might involve a sudden cold-turkey stop to the ingestion of whatever it is that we’re trying to eliminate from our systems and diet.
The World Health Organization tells us that we should have sugar make up only 10 percent of our daily calorie intake each day. What this would involve is cutting back on added sugar sources such as honey, refined sugar, agave, maple syrup, brown sugar, and such.
For those of us out there with a sweet tooth or thirty-two, the very idea of going on a sugar detox might sound like something out of a nightmare, but it really shouldn’t.
Whatever your reasons for going sugar-free may be, there will be plenty of ups and downs along the way.
Not to worry though, because as with all new experiences out there, however daunting they may seem, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in making the challenge easier to face.
Let’s take a closer look at the sugar-free lifestyle, and what you might expect to meet as the days go by.
What To Expect From A Low-Sugar or Sugar-Free Diet?
It’s important to be aware of both the benefits and potential risks that can be generated due to low sugar intake.
So, let’s look at the benefits first. A low-sugar or sugar-free diet can favor the following things.
1. Weight Loss
This is a bit of stating the obvious, but hey, still not so many people are determined to abandon all the sweets despite thinking about losing weight.
Let’s kick this thing off by saying we really need to cut back on the number of sugary sodas we drink.
In the western world, where we are most affected by obesity and its related negative health effects, sugary sodas and soft drinks are the greatest contributors to our added sugar intakes.
There are two types of fat in our bodies: the subcutaneous fat that is found right underneath our skin, and the visceral fat that is accumulated around our internal organs (basically in the region of our gut).
Subcutaneous fat is more or less alright, but the belly fat that gives us those potbellies is dangerous.
On a sugar-free diet, it’s not too much to expect to shed off a few pounds every couple of weeks, especially if you were a heavy soda drinker with a fondness for the sweeter things in life.
In the fitness-crazy times, we’re living in, any step that helps us lose a couple of unwanted pounds can’t be all that bad, right?
2. Improve Heart Health
Added sugars might seem quite innocuous while going down, but they have some hidden effects on our system.
You might be surprised to learn that reducing our intake of added sugars may greatly improve our blood pressure levels, reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in our bloodstreams while increasing the levels of good cholesterol.
The upshot of these changes is that our risks of strokes and heart attacks will be considerably reduced.
While this might not be at the top of your list of worries right this moment, it counts for a lot in the long run.
3. Reduce Type II diabetes and Cancer Risk
Research told us a while back that excessive sugar in our diets is one of the highest risk factors in the onset and development of type 2 diabetes, even if we can’t claim that it’s the sole cause of the condition.
While it might not be explicitly stated that sugar actually feeds cancer growth, we know with satisfactory certainty that going sugar-free considerably reduces our risks of developing prostate and colorectal cancers.
4. Improve Mental Health
While it may seem there’s nothing quite like a sweet treat or bit of dessert to give you a quick pick-me-up when you’re feeling rather blue, the truth is that the excess sugar we ingest from our sugary drinks and sweets actually increases our rates of depression and certain mental disorders.
You will actually be able to tell after a few weeks of going added sugar-free that your cravings for the instant artificial boost of a sweet treat fade away as your moods stabilize to a more natural, steady, and healthy groove.
5. Gets Your Skin Glowing Again
Should you be among the countless millions that suffer from frustrating skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, and the like, then going sugar-free is definitely the way for you to go.
Sugar is one of the elements that set off the inflammatory reactions that result in these conditions.
Aside from these benefits to our skin’s health, it has been shown that sugar plays a part in damaging the elastin and collagen components of our skin, which is what eventually leads to the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
6. Eliminate Cravings For Good
While there is quite a bit of debate as to just what sugar addiction’ is, or even if it exists at all, the inescapable fact of the matter is that once we cut back on our sugar intake, our bodily systems as well as our palates adjust.
Within fourteen days of a sugar-free diet, you will find that the sugar-free foods, fruits, and veggies that tasted so bland before actually begin to taste really sweet.
As you adjust, you will eliminate your craving for the sugar-bombs you lived for in the past.
7. Get your Pep Back
As children, our parents would keep the sugar-packed stuff away from us as they would inevitably lead to a sugar rush and its accompanying crash later on.
This isn’t healthy for kids, and it certainly isn’t healthy for grown-ups.
Replacing the added sugar sources with fiber, protein, and healthy fats will give us a more balanced, evened-out, and longer-lasting source of energy to see us through the day.
It’s not all roses on the sugar-free side of life. Here are a few of the downsides you might encounter.
1. Become A Label-hawk
Keeping sugar out of your diet requires constant, eagle-sharp vigilance on your part.
Sugar is a component of so many of the products we consume that you will have to always check the labels of your grocery purchases for such ingredients as sucrose, cane sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, fruit juice concentrates, raw sugar, cane crystals, malt syrup, evaporated cane juice, and oh so many more.
2. It’s Required at Certain Times
For the fitness and body-building enthusiasts out there, sugar might actually be your friend once in a while.
Those high-intensity workouts call for plenty of energy, and the most readily available form of energy for your muscles is to be found in glucose – a form of sugar.
Whether it’s complex carbs such as brown rice or helpings of honey in your breakfast that you turn to for your energy requirements, you will have to find a way to balance your sugar-free diet with your bodily requirements.
3. The Risk of Eating Disorders
As with all diets and health trends out there, there is always the risk of taking things too far when it comes to the sugar-free lifestyle.
When your sugar detox becomes an obsession, you may run the risk of developing orthorexia (obsessive behavior in search of a healthier diet), which will eventually interfere with your ability to live a full, healthy, and enjoyable life.
Should you at any time feel that your sugar detox is getting away from you in some way, don’t hesitate to talk to a healthcare professional about getting help.
With all these being said, the benefits of sugar detox surely outweigh the disadvantages. We, modern day human beings, take way too much sugar than needed in most cases.
A 7-day, 14-day or 30-day detox can be a good start to test how your body will be transformed physically and psychologically without sugar intake.
Salute to a healthier lifestyle!