Your Sugar Detox is Over – Now What?
I love sugar. I’ve had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember. Sugar is my happy food. I grew up with eating healthy dinners, but ending the meal with desert. So, the habit of eating something sweet after a meal is deeply ingrained.
If you are the type of person to be able to have a little sugar then walk away and not have any sugar again for a few days, that’s great! I, unfortunately, I have never been that person. Actually, due to the addictive nature of sugar, most people have a hard time with it. When we eat sugar, opioids and dopamine are released in our brains. When our systems are flooded with dopamine, the programming of our brains actually changes so that we want that ‘sugar rush’ (aka dopamine rush) again, and again, and again.
As we wind down this week’s sugar detox, I want to say WAY TO GO to everyone who cut sugar
For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@emilyakradi), you may have done the sugar detox with me this week. As we wind down the sugar detox, I want to say WAY TO GO to everyone who cut sugar. I know it isn’t easy to fully eliminate and it takes commitment and focus to get through those cravings. As we end the detox, I thought it would be useful to share a few tips to help you stay on track with the healthier you!
Tips for easing back into ‘real’ life after sugar detox
- Going forward, continue to limit sugar consumption. According to the American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 37 grams/day and for women the recommended amount of sugar is 25 grams per day. Now that the sugar detox is over, the goal isn’t to cut out sugar entirely, as healthy foods contain small amounts of sugar. Instead, you should limit sugar intake to within the healthy range so that you don’t get stuck in the cycle of sugar addiction, with energy spikes and crashes.
- Eat balanced, nutritious meals and keep healthy snacks handy. We all live busy lives and it can be so tempting to grab quick and easy meals on the go that aren’t nutrient rich, making us feel hungry soon after. This often leads to us snacking on foods soon after that contain added sugar. To prevent this, plan and prepare meals and snacks ahead of time, making sure that your food is balanced with protein, fiber and healthy fats. For snacks, choose things like vegetables with olives and cheese, clean meat sticks, raw nuts, fruits, or a nutrient-rich shake. The moment a sugar craving hits, grab a healthy snack.
- Absolutely, without a doubt, avoid the really bad sugars. I’m referring to high-fructose corn and artificial sweeteners. Check labels and ingredients, and don’t buy foods that contain these products. Taking it a step further, also try to limit added sugars. Added sugar is the main ingredient in candy and is frequent found in many processed foods, such as soft drinks, breakfast cereal, ketchup, juice, sweetened yogurt, granola bars, and even salad dressing. Instead, when you do eat sugar, try to consume foods with naturally occurring sugar, such as fruits. And when you add sweetener, instead of using processed white sugar, try using honey or maple syrup.
- Do a sugar detox again! I like to do a sugar detox at least a couple of times each year. Completely eliminating sugar is not a realistic nutrition plan for me on a day to day basis, however, by detoxing and avoiding sugar occasionally, I allow my system to reset and curb those cravings.
Now that you’ve finished the week-long detox, check out my recent post with tips for managing your child’s sugar intake. Healthy eating is a family affair and begins with you establishing good habits. Once you have your day-to-day lifestyle dialed in and your healthy habits in place, the hardest work is done.
Remember that living a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing journey where good decisions made consistently pay off. If something goes wrong, don’t worry, just get back on track and keep moving forward! If you participated in the sugar detox, I’d love to hear how it went! Leave a comment or send me an email, and let’s keep working to reduce the sugar in our lives.