Remember when Aaron Carter sang “I Want Candy” and it was your favorite early 2000s song ever? Hey same. And while the song is a classic that will never die (well…?), I do not feel the same about actual sugar. I mean I love a good dessert, but if you find yourself seeking out sugar regularly, it miiiiight be time for a sugar detox.
Maybe you know it, and have just avoided addressing it. Or maybe you don’t even know that you’re kinda addicted to sugar. So let’s break down the signs of sugar addiction, why we should even care, and how to reduce your intake (aka DETOX because it’s addictive AF).
You might need a sugar detox if…
You’re always craving simple carbs.
Think pasta, bread, chips etc. That’s because when you eat these simple carbs, your body immediately breaks them down into sugar. So it’s a sneaky way of seeking out sugar.
You find yourself eating sugary foods, even when you don’t really want to.
Like you see the chocolate, you tell yourself no, you walk away. But then 10 min later, you’ve found yourself devouring the whole bar. It’s like your body took over and made you eat it.
You can’t stop.
When you have it in front of you, you overeat it, despite the consequences of bloating, gas, tired, sick, etc.
Brain fog alllll the time
You feel moody or mentally foggy or “off”
You get crazy salt cravings!
Super weird, but your body is quietly telling you that your sugar intake is too high, so it’s trying to swing the pendulum back to center by making you want salt/meat. Sneaky sneaky.
IDK about you, but that list makes me sick and anxious just reading it. I know I’ve been there before, and you probably have, too. But why should we care? Well, sugar is pretty awful for you. Sure, you already knew that. But you might be forgetting just how much it can affect you…
What’s so bad about sugar?
Hurts your heart
Well for one thing, pretty rough on your heart. Sugar is a major contributing factor in heart disease!
Fun fact (or depressing fact): back in the day, the sugar industry paid to have a bunk study done that pointed heart health finger at basically only cholesterol, grazing over the role sugar plays in heart health. Which is why we still don’t talk much about it! So that’s cool.
Slows down your brain
Sugar impacts brain function! So let’s be clear: you actually do need sugar (glucose) to function. Your brain won’t function without it, not to mention the rest of your bod. But if you have too much sugar, studies show time and again that you will have impaired brain functioning. You know that foggy, groggy feeling? Yep, too much sugar!
Just kinda makes you sick in general
There are plenty of other disease risks as well. Your body does not do well with tons of sugar (please see gif below for case in point ?). Sugar messes up your body in a whole ton of other ways… from Type 2 Diabetes, to leaky gut, to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, to potentially causing an increased risk of breast cancer. And more!
YIKES! Basically, excessive sugar messes with every single part of our body’s natural function and can make us pretty sick. And yet… we as a country have a serious problem with it. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. And just to help you out, 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams.
So that means the average American consumes 88 grams of sugar. Bleh no thanks.
Actually, women are really only recommended 6 teaspoons of sugar per day to remain healthy. That’s 24 grams total. AKA like 1/4 of that White Mocha. That means, on average, we’re consuming nearly FOUR TIMES the amount recommended for a healthy diet!
How to reduce sugar cravings
So yeah, no matter who you are, it’s probably important to watch your sugar intake a bit. Even “healthy” foods like kombucha have 10 grams of sugar per serving! Sounds easy, but the cravings might hit you pretty hard if you start cutting back.
And luckily, it’s pretty simple to reduce sugar cravings. That does NOT mean that it’s easy. But the steps are pretty simple and straightforward.
- Increase your fiber
- Eat more protein
- Drink more water
- Increase your healthy fats
- Introduce (or continue with) a probiotic
Luckily, this list is something you should already be doing to live a healthy lifestyle. If you’re following the HBMP, this is all broken down for you and you don’t even have to think about it. Plus, if you have the Guiltless Nutrition Guide, you have a ton of tricks & tips up your sleeves for simple, healthier substitutions.
Sugar is hidden in a ton of stuff – salad dressings, premade sauces, flavored yogurt, and so much more. That’s the beauty of the Guides, they help you take control of both your health and what you’re putting in your body!
Cutting back on sugar will make your life SWEETER
Cravings, particularly of sugar, are the #1 reason why people don’t stick to their diet/weight loss plan. Because our bodies and brains tell us we need sugar, even when we try to avoid it. So it’s definitely hard to cut, since we have to fight ourselves on so many levels.
Sometimes cutting out sugar improves your quality of life, and sometimes, if you’re already eating really healthy, adding more restrictions to your diet will only be isolating. You have to be honest about where you’re at and make adjustments from there.
But please, please don’t feel guilty about wherever you’re starting. Find that balance that gets you healthy, but allows you to live!
What cutting sugar might do for your weight loss
When you cut out sugar, you are going to see a change in your body. You’ll probably notice a flatter tummy first, because you’re not eating as many bloating foods.
Likely, you’ll be consuming less calories because you won’t have a bunch of empty ones coming from allllll the sugar we’re consuming (remember: 22 teaspoons per day… ). A reduction in calories will help get your weight loss on track for sure!
Less sugar = more real foods
Even if you keep caloric intake the same, you’re going to be eating real foods instead of processed, sugar-added crap. And the funny thing is, when you’re eating these real foods (high in protein & fiber) instead of crap, you are actually fuller longer, so you eat less. But you don’t feel deprived.
In fact, you’ll feel a whole lot better… once you get through that rough first few days if you’re legit detoxing.
Good luck, babe. You can do it and it WILL make your life better!