What is a sugar detox and how is it helpful?

Do you feel like you’re constantly craving sugary treats? Are you struggling to kick the binging habit? You might benefit from a sugar detox. But I want to preface this post by saying that sugar in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. Sugar is naturally found in things like fruits and vegetables. When broken down in the body, sugars (glucose) help our bodies survive and complete daily tasks. We need it for energy.

However, you might not have known that added sugar has addictive traits and reward systems for our brain making it harder to drop the habit. Added sugars include things like high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc.

So what is a sugar detox?

A sugar detox means an elimination of added sugars. This elimination will look different for each individual. Some may be able to let go of everything without risking a binging episode later down the road. Others may need to simply start substituting one sugary product for one less sugary and continuing that process over a period of time.

What’s most important to remember is that this is a process.

The addiction to sugar has often been related to the addiction to nicotine, alcohol, and other substances. If you choose to go on a sugar detox, you might spend time in recovery. So please remember to give yourself grace if you are deciding to go through this process. It’s about getting 1% better each day, not perfection.

What can you expect during a sugar detox?

You will likely have regular cravings for sugar at the start.

You brain is looking for that dopamine rush it was getting from sugar, so its way of communicating this need is by giving you that craving for something sugary. Consider finding a favorite fruit instead, drinking water, or having something bitter. These are things that can help with that craving. As your mind discovers new ways to get its “fix” so to speak, you’ll be less likely to crave the sweet treats as much.

You will likely be grumpy at first.

Going back to the dopamine rush, your body is upset about the change. Something you can do is find another rewarding activity to help get the dopamine receptors activated. Some examples of this include going for a walk, getting a gym workout in, reading a book.

My personal experience with detoxing from sugar

I’ve had two experiences with detoxing from sugar. The first was in 2012 when I was trying to do a Paleo lifestyle. I avoided my craving for chocolates for an entire month only to binge and eat the entire bag of Dove dark chocolate in one day. Had I just allowed myself a few pieces off and on throughout the month, it would have been so much better on my systems than binging and eating the entire bag.

Another experience is regarding lessening the sugary products I have on the day to day basis. I’ve realized that the less often I had sugary substances the less often I craved them. When I did crave them I often found the soda, cake, etc far too sweet that I actually didn’t want them anymore.

And it’s not to say that from time to time I won’t enjoy an amazing cookie, doughnuts, a fancy cocktail, etc. I do have the desire to experience these off and on. However, because of my sugar detox, my body simply can’t handle the overload of sugar like it was able to do when I was feeding it high levels of sugar regularly. Which leads to some of the benefits.

Benefits of a sugar detox

Sugar holds a lot of calories. But it’s more than just the calories, it’s the empty calories it presents. So not only are you taking in a lot of calories, but it’s being burnt with almost no nutritional benefit and you’re still left hungry.

To keep it nice and condensed… some of the potential benefits of going through a sugar detox include:

  • less empty calories = benefits towards weight loss/gain goals
  • decreased risk of diabetes type II
  • decreased risk of pre-diabetes
  • better teeth hygiene
  • less sweet cravings
  • decreased risk of heart disease
  • increased long term energy

If you read through this post and were like, “yes! I need this” but could use some more guidance and accountability to reach your personal goals, let’s chat! Fill out the form to schedule a complimentary coaching call and let’s see how I can help!

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Hi, it’s Mel!

Certified personal trainer and health coach. Former Army Medic turned Multi-passionate entrepreneur and Masters of Military and First Responder Psychology student with a passion for helping others create a life full of purpose, health, and wellbeing. 


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