How to Do a Sugar Detox for a Healthier Mind and Body

The first decision to better health is cutting back on sugar. It seems many people know this but it is hard to do. Sugar detox is not easy and the symptoms of withdrawal are not either. The benefits are worthwhile, given the negative impact of sugar on the body. Sugar is linked to increased risk of medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sugar zaps energy, increases depression, and contributes to poor dental health. Cutting sugar helps reduce risk and makes people feel better overall.

Why It is Hard

A number of studies have found sugar impacts the brain the same way addictive substances do. People get up to 30 teaspoons a day, more than the recommended 6 teaspoons, and some get withdrawal as a result. The brain has a reward system that helps people survive. Food is a natural reward and consuming sweets stimulates the brain’s reward system. Experts are divided on sugar addiction, animal and human studies have also found that the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens creates havoc in the brain. Sugar can have a similar effect heroin has on the brain in terms of the ‘rush.’

Sugar Withdrawal

Sugar detox can cause unpleasant physical and mental symptoms. The body reacts to quitting sugar in different ways than everyone thinks. Symptoms may vary and withdrawal can last from a few days to two weeks. The longer the body goes without sugar, the less intense the symptoms and cravings will be. Stress is known to trigger cravings for sugar, so some symptoms may get worse during times of stress.

Beat the Effects

To combat the negative side effects of sugar, there are some ways to go about it. There is no one easy answer so try a few things to see what works:

  • Quitting cold turkey: cutting sugar out will help body become used to living without it, which means a faster end to withdrawal symptoms
  • Eat more protein to help avoid hunger and low energy levels during sugar detox. This also helps avoid temptation for sweets
  • Increase dietary fiber: this helps keep blood sugar under control and keep nausea at bay when it comes up. Consume beans and legumes for best results
  • Drink lots of water to keep up hydration
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners by reading labels on everything that is consumed
  • Get enough sleep and stay focused on eating and exercising regularly

With some preparation and a little patience, you can make it through a sugar detox without severe symptoms and come out feeling better than ever. Remember that any symptoms you may experience are only temporary. The benefits you gain from cutting back on sugar are more than worth it.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.