Plenty of health experts will provide you with the advice to cut-down your sugar intake to better your physical and mental health, and they would be right.
The recommendation is fantastic but the delivery of the recommendation is not. It suggests that this would be an easy task to do alone. It implies that you would know exactly how sugar impacts your health and how to cut sugar out of your life.
Understanding the ‘why’ will make for a successful sugar detox.
Here are few reasons WHY you should do a sugar detox program.
Sugar makes you fat. The physical ramifications of consuming excess sugar (9 teaspoons for men and 5 teaspoons for women is the recommended daily allowance) leads to spikes in insulin levels. Insulin is the principle regulator of fat metabolism. Spikes in insulin stimulates fat storage and causes inflammation in the body’s tissues, exhausting the adrenal glands and leading to weight gain. We secrete insulin primarily in a response to simple carbohydrates and sugar in our diet.
Sugar is highly addictive, more so than cocaine. Tasting a little bit of sugar can make it difficult to “control” the craving for more sugar.
This leads us to the next reason.
In the brain, too much sugar impairs cognitive skills and self-control because of the drug like effects in the reward center of the brain.
We now know that eating sugar spikes the blood glucose levels and so our body produces more cortisol. A hormone that balances stress and blood sugar; also referred to as the ‘stress hormone’. Our bodies our extremely clever but any abuse i.e. too much sugar will keep cortisol levels high.
Normal amounts of cortisol does wonderful things for our body; increases immunity, pain tolerance and provides more energy often needed for a “fight or flight” response. Too much cortisol activates the fight or flight response unnecessarily. When this happens your body shuts down digestion because the body considers it a non essential process. Stress over activates the nervous system and with that is does not allow for your body to rest and repair.
Heal your Gut
Food changes everything. You may have heard of using food for medicine, so it’s no surprise that food can harm your gut too. Your gut microbiome is known as the ‘forgotten organ’. It weighs 3-4lbs and it’s made up of parasites, viruses, fungi, and trillions of good and bad bacteria.
When we eat nutrient dense foods we are diversifying and feeding the good bacteria in our gut which helps to repair our body, gives us energy, regulates fats, lipids and cholesterol and fight disease.
When we have a diet rich in sugar we have a less diverse microbiome which puts our digestive system under stress promoting the growth of unfriendly yeast and feeding the bad bacteria. Our immune defense is unable to perform their proper functions and this can cause disease such as; heartburn, IBS, constipation, colitis and celiac to name a few. Often chronic disease too; diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Detoxing from sugar is for everyone. Whether you want to gain 10 lbs or lose 10 lbs. This detox is for you. Other diets don’t take into consideration a person’s individual needs and that is why people jump from one fad diet to another. The detox is primarily about healing your body and mind. There is plenty of time for reflection and understanding of why you crave foods and how foods make you feel. It is not just a detox, it is an education.
Removing sugar does not suggest that you can no longer eat raw foods or you can no longer be paleo- you can continue to follow those lifestyles if they are serving you. It is about removing the sugar for long enough for your body to heal.
Self care is really heart control. If I tell you that I feel fat, don’t tell me to eat less junk food.
If you offer me some nutritious sugar-free recipes, then I may try the new recipes and soon I will feel good about taking care of myself. You can’t choose how you feel but you can choose to take action and change what is making you feel bad.
Doing something kind and healing for yourself is the ultimate form of self love. It’s easier to show compassion and empathy for others when we can do it for ourselves.
The sugar detox is an act of self-care. Much greater than pleasures like getting a massage, or manicure/pedicure. The result of a sound body and mind is the kindest gift you can receive and no one else can do that for you so you have to do it for yourself.
Detoxing from sugar will give your body a chance to heal. You will begin to crowd out harmful foods with nutrient dense foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut. Your immune system will function better and often eliminate completely digestive issues.
Taking sugar of your plate entirely gives you a better chance of succeeding in your quest to lose weight, manage disordered moods. No sugar = no cravings.
The sugar detox works for everyone. You can still follow any desired diet; vegan or paleo, raw or keto and continue to fast intermittently. This detox is universal and support throughout a detox program is the key to your success.