I finally did it… I kicked my sugar addiction.
Not long ago, my idea of a great dinner was the coffee and dessert course. Then my doctor gave me the news… ” You’re prediabetic!”
Sugar was killing me. I knew I needed to do something. I knew that I’d have to seriously downplay sugar from my diet. It had to become a permanent lifestyle change with an on-going commitment.
It’s not easy… at least, not for most of us.
Yes, I did it, I’m sticking with it, and I feel great. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m back to perfect health and fitness just yet, but I’m getting there. It’s a day-by-day process to change.
Is Sugar Killing You?
Our lust for sweet stuff might seem harmless, but the hard truth is that we are eating more of it than we need… and way more than our bodies can handle.
The typical American consumes somewhere around 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. Pile that up and see what it looks like.
It will make you sick to look at it!
As far as I’m concerned, my own innocent sweet tooth was doing serious damage to my health. It was a leading factor in weight gain, high blood pressure and out-of-sight cholesterol levels… not to mention a really bad example for my children.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of The End of Dieting, says eating too much sugar should be considered just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. And, there’s no way I’d do that to my body… so the sugar had to go.
“A diet with sugar and high glycemic index foods promotes all the leading causes of death in America,” says Dr. Fuhrmansays. “I don’t see value in cutting out sugar for a few days and then going back to eating it, but I do see value in cutting it out permanently.”
Why It’s So Difficult to Kick the Sugar Habit
Sugar addiction is a real thing. It’s no joke.
I call sugar “the other white drug”. Once you’re hooked, it’s hard to resist.
Sugar addiction leads to obesity, diabetes and many other chronic health issues. This is a fact we cannot ignore.
Some studies show that, in many people, the brain actually reacts to sugar like it does to drugs and alcohol. This explains why, when you initially remove sugar from your diet, you feel horrible for a few days. It’s sort of like trying to cut a coffee habit cold turkey. You get headaches, feel jittery, and you’re a bit sluggish.
Cutting cake, cookies, soda and sweetened coffee from your diet isn’t easy. But, as I discovered, your effort to cut sugar from your diet will pay off. Big time!
In my case, my energy levels improved within a few days. A week or so later my cravings and fatigue diminished, as well.
In addition to simply feeling better, the health benefit of removing sugar from your diet can’t be ignored. A study published in the journal Circulation explained that drinks sweetened with sugar are directly responsible for 184,000 deaths a year due to the cardiovascular disease and diabetes they cause.
Speaking of diabetes, it was recently revealed that diabetes treatment is the #1 cost in U.S. healthcare. Incredible.
Sugar-Free Detox Diet
There’s more than one way to skin the sugar beast.
I can tell you from first hand experience, taking a moderate approach doesn’t work. It’s too easy to fall back into the same ‘ole habits. For me, cold turkey was the only way to go. That said, cleaning up one meal at a time is an approach others say worked best for them .
Regardless of the sugar detox plan you go on, the most important goal is to cut added sugars from your diet. This includes desserts, beverages, snacks and other processed foods.
- Men, you should consume no more than nine teaspoons of sugar a day.
- Women, bad news, your consumption should be even less, at no more than six teaspoons per day.
It’s also essential to have a plan for when cravings hit. And, trust me, they will.
Most of us struggle the most in the afternoon and after dinner. Especially if you’re watching TV instead of being up and active.
From my discussions with others, I think many people go too far and take fruit and berries out of their diet. There’s no reason to go that far. It’s far better to substitute processed sugars for natural sugars in fresh fruit.
Ready to detox? Here’s a free 21-Day Sugar Detox meal plan that will get you started:
21-Day Sugar Detox Diet Guidelines
Breakfast: Cereal, oatmeal or Fauxtmeal with fruit on top
Commercials tell you it’s heart healthy, but your morning bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios is ladened with sugar. Try picking unsweetened oatmeal, or shredded wheat cereal options, instead. For sweetness, add fresh fruit and berries.
Your goal at lunch is to fuel your body and fend off that inevitable afternoon crash for as long as possible. “I think having veggies and a protein at lunch is great way to give people a midday boost,” Doerfler says.
RELATED: Berry Balsamic Salad Dressing
Welcome to the diet killer. Around 3 p.m. our circadian rhythm begins falling. That’s why we feel fatigue and want some nap time. So you might as well anticipate that you’re going to want a snack and have a game plan. You can have as many veggies as you want, or a handful of nuts.
Just because you’re avoiding sugar doesn’t mean you need to completely eliminate carbs. Dinner is when you can add another whole-grain to your diet (unless you’re gluten-free). Whole-wheat pasta, couscous, or sweet potatoes are fine. If you are gluten-free, try cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, or my favorite gluten-free pasta (made from brown rice… did I mention it’s my favorite?). FYI: 1-cup of cooked pasta is considered a serving.
RELATED: Sundried Tomato Cashew Pesto
When it’s dessert time, if your mind immediately goes to a double-fudge chocolate brownie with French vanilla ice cream, maybe it’s time to retrain your taste buds. Fruit is the lowest sugar dessert option and it’s loaded with antioxidants and fiber. A helping of fresh fruit can help you lose weight and feel full. If you honestly can’t live without something decadent (I feel ya), check our what you can do with a Quest Bar (oh, my!).
Need more meal ideas? You’ll find tons on the 3-Week Diet page.
Where to go for Help… Taming Your Sugar Beast
As I said at the beginning… It isn’t easy.
Admit it, you’re on a drug almost as powerful a crack.
For me, the 21-Day Sugar Detox plan made the difference. It’s a clear-cut, whole-foods-based action plan that helped me reset my body and kick the sugar habit. Trust me when I say, it’s effective.
3 Weeks Will Feel Like a Long Time
Even though the program is touted as just 21 days, that’s three whole weeks of rebooting your system. That’s asking a lot when giving up something as powerful as sugar is on the body and brain.
That’s where the book comes in… I also CHEATED, which I’ll get to in a bit. Trust me, you’ll want learn this secret.
There are 90+ simple recipes in the book that will help you kick a lifetime of sugar and carb cravings. The program has three different levels, making it very approachable… no matter what stage you’re in, even if your diet is gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, or primal. Plus, the book shows you haw to modify if you’re an athlete (endurance, CrossFit, HIIT, etc).
You’ll Need to Stick to It
Doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) for less than the program’s 21 days is a surefire way to relapse.
And, here’s the thing. This is not a one-off event. It’s designed to disrupt old eating habits so you can form new ones that include an intake of sugar that’s healthy.
The 21DSD program fully embraces this concept… with a dose of reality.
A lot of diet programs out there promote extremely restricted eating. Not 21DSD. That’s because a detox program program works by getting your body to naturally cleansing itself of substances that create negative health effects. That’s why this program works!
It’s Not a Lifestyle Plan
21DSD isn’t laid out to show you how to live a healthy lifestyle. Instead, it simply presents a way to help you get rid of sugar so you can start eating wholesome foods.
When you concentrate on eating quality protein, healthy fats, and good carbs, you modify your habits around food and your body adjusts. After 21 days, if you honestly commit to it, you’ll continue eating this way “most of the time” because you’ll feel so amazing.
I can promise you this, after changing your eating habits by kicking sugar to the curb, you’ll gain a new understanding and appreciation for how food works in your body. You’ll also full understand how much nutrition affects your life and your whole-being wellness.
Beat Your Sugar Craving… with this Simple Supplement!
If you’ve tried in the past to beat sugar cravings on will power alone, but you couldn’t quite get there, I am about to make your day. Maybe your whole year!
I recently sat in on a lecture (The Diet Cure) by Dr. Julia Ross (author of the book). In the course of the lecture, she let slip the most useful bit of information — how to conquer sugar cravings with a simple, affordable amino acid supplement.
According to Dr. Ross, most of us are deficient in one neurotransmitter or another. In fact, she tells use that many things can set off a deficiency… stress, job, pregnancy, death in the family, whatever!
What does this have to do with sugar?
As a result of our sugar addiction, we tend to eat a diet rich in refined carbohydrates instead of the nutrient-rich foods that can actually provide us the amino acids needed to stave off neurotransmitter deficiencies.
Yet, overcoming our addiction is near impossible with willpower alone. I know… I tried!
This is because, according to her studies, sugar is 4-times more addictive than cocaine. Her words, not mine!
So, How Do You Stop the Sugar Cravings?
According to the good doctor, L-glutamine is the surefire cure to sugar cravings. Her recommendation is taking 1,000 mg twice a day when your blood sugar is at its lowest.
Well, I tried it and it works!
Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox Safe for Type 2 Diabetics?
The 21-Day Sugar Detox is a whole-foods based program, and is safe for most diabetics. That said, if you are under the care of a medical professional, are insulin dependent, or are taking blood sugar regulating medications, we recommend that you consult with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional program. You may find that your medications need to be adjusted with your new way of eating, and enlisting the support of your healthcare team is important. If you don’t have a doctor who is supportive of your decision to change your nutrition to support your body in your health journey, we recommend checking out The Paleo Physicians Network or Primal Docs.