It’s time to breakup with sugar!
Here is the first change: Detox sugar from your diet. As you start paying attention to what foods contain refined sugar you will naturally move to a more wholesome, unprocessed diet. Okay, this is a tough one I’m not going to argue that, but hopefully by the end of this post you will see the multiple reasons to do this.
Canadians on average eat 110 grams of sugar daily equivalent to 26 teaspoons. That’s 21 % of our total calories.
Refined sugar is: Any substance that is processed from its raw state, found in nature, to alter the texture, colour, or structure of the substance. This video shows how sugar cane becomes table sugar
How does the body process sugar:
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. Now before we start making carbs the bad guys or sugar the bad guys let’s make sure we understand what they do in our body!
The smallest unit of a carbohydrate is a monosaccharide, the more monosaccharides a carbohydrate contains the longer it takes to break it down into absorbable contents. When you eat sugar, your body will break it down into the simplest component: a monosaccharide. The monosaccharides will be absorbed into the blood stream and processed by your liver. Glucose will then be distributed to your body for energy use, while fructose remains in the liver and converted into triglycerides (This is not a bad thing fats is another energy form for your body). So far everything looks good, this is normal and necessary for our body.
However the problem that we face today is that we are getting too much sugar, and as a result our body and liver will store this as excess fat. Another thing to keep in mind is that our body needs vitamins and mineral to breakdown these sugars. Not only are we getting an excess amount of sugar, we are also depleting our vitamins and minerals to breakdown the excess sugars.
The difference when we eat a teaspoon of table sugar vs a fruit containing the same amount of sugar:
- the fruit contains vitamins and minerals,
- the fruit also contains fiber which lengthens the release time of sugar into your body
For example, a peach will contain fructose, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin K, and variety of B vitamins. When looking at it from a weight loss perspective eating 3 teaspoons of sugar is a lot easier than eating 3 peaches, meaning we are more likely to over consume table sugar and drastically increasing the sugar dump effect as it absorbs very quickly!
The biggest shock when I first started on this journey was how much sugar we all eat. When I would look at the statistics, I’d think to myself ‘no this isn’t possible’ or ‘other people eat so badly’ . I’d use this as a justification when I would eat dessert because eating one cupcake or two (let’s not kid ourselves sometimes I’d go for a third) still didn’t amount to the average of 110 g of sugar that everyone else ate. Little did I know that sugar is in almost EVERYTHING, and we all get our fair share even when we say no to the sweets. I had tried several times to cut down on sweets and failed. What I found is that going cold turkey on eliminating the refined sugar is actually easier than scaling back on sweets. The reason for this is because refined sugar are so prevalent, that even though you are skipping the piece of cake, you are still getting the sugar in other foods like salad dressing (insert shocked face). Therefore your body would not be breaking the vicious cycle of consuming sugar, and craving it.
Studies have found that sugar opens up the pathways to the reward center in the brain, and also follows the same addiction components as drug addiction. Earlier this year, I eliminated refined sugar I found that by day 2 I had a headache, and bit grumpy ( I think a bit, but others beg to differ) and by day 6 my cravings, and grumpiness had stopped. Which was shocking because in comparison to the other times, I had tried cutting down on the sweets, a week was the longest I could handle.
Try this for the next 2-3 days, look at the ingredient labels of the food you eat. If you see listed any refined sugar, take note of the sugar value. Add up the total you had in each day, and see how you compare to the average. How much sugar do you eat daily? If you are like me I’m sure you will be shocked.
Note: Beware of “sugar free”, there is a whole string of negative side effects to these substances. We want to avoid these at all cost.
Common sugar free substance names: Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Glycerol, Glycyrrhizin, Isomalt, Maltitol, Saccharin, Sucralose.
How to detox sugar:
- Make the decision and know why you are doing this. Write this down!!! It will help you in the hard times. To avoid the temptation, you may want to do a kitchen clean prior. It’s always great to be prepared with this note and a snack in hand ( free of refined-sugar, of course)
- Cut is out. Yes all of it!! As I said it above and still stand by it, this will make it easier, I promise.
- Beef up on the protein. Add protein to every meal, and don’t be bound to just animal products. I am a meat eater and I turn to plant base protein to change things up and also add more variety to my food. In the cases you do have meat, make sure you are getting grass-fed meats.
- Eat more veggies. This is a standard one, you’ve heard this plenty of times. The reason for this is because during a detox stage veggies are going to be the best fighters at getting the “garbage” out. So eat away!
- Eat fat. What fat? Yes, you got that right. Fat does not make us fat, sugar makes us fat. Focus on eating good fats (no, not trans-fats found in your Big Mac, more like natural fats: avocados, nuts, chia seeds follow the drift?)
- Lemon water. I discovered the benefits of lemon water reading one of my favourite food blogs, and I haven’t gone back since. Plus it’s so easy to incorporate so why not.
- De-stress. This is so important and in our Western culture we all need this, not just people detoxifying sugar. However, when detoxifying your body is working at its max trying to kick its old habits so make sure you do your best to stay calm and detox on. In addition when we are stressed we are more likely to choose more sugary tasting foods.
- Sleep. Well, if all else fails you can sleep for the next few days until your body gets use to the change.. JOKING!! But sleep is important because it can minimize cravings, and it gives your body a rest from the hard work it’s doing for you. Aim for 7-9 hours daily.
The first change is always the biggest and hardest! But remember that the reward is your health!! We also need to remember we can’t be prefect all the time, do your best when you have the option to choose better alternatives. In the long run there will be some cases, like when you go out to eat, that there will be hidden sugar and that’s OKAY, enjoy your meal.
Our wellness journey is about moderation not perfection!
Use all your new-found knowledge to drive through this, and know that you can do this. Also keep in mind this would be a detox to remove the excess sugar in your diet, so that when your body is ready you can start adding whole, natural sugars in moderation.
Wellness Seekers, let me know how your progress is going, and how you are feeling!