5 Benefits of a Sugar Detox

5 Benefits of a Sugar Detox

It's time. You're going to start a sugar detox. You know it's good for you, but not exactly sure how. Alas, the benefits of a sugar detox are well worth it, including these 5!

Detoxing from sugar can be hard. A lot of people are addicted and don't even know it. Maybe you don't slather teaspoons of white sugar on your cereal in the morning, but the second you see a gooey chocolate chip cookie, you start to drool. Or maybe you never touch soda, but could eat five cups of grapes in one fell swoop. It's possible that you could take a pass on jelly beans and gummy bears all day long, but the second the bread basket comes your way at dinner, you can't pass it up - even if you're not hungry.

Are you addicted to sugar? If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, there's a strong chance you could be addicted to the sweet stuff.

Instead of telling you about the foods you should avoid, I'm here to deliver a little good news instead. When we avoid sugar, life gets a lot easier. Excessive sugar consumption breeds a flurry of complications from A to Z.

If you're wondering what excessive sugar consumption is, the American Heart Association gave us some guidelines to follow:

  • Children: 3 teaspoons or less a day (about 12 grams or less)
  • Women: 6 teaspoons or less a day (about 24 grams or less)
  • Men: 9 teaspoons or less a day (about 36 grams or less)

Cutting back on sugar can have some pretty great side effects. Not always easy to eliminate, once you're over the hump and cravings begin to pass, you'll feel a lot better.

1) Weight Loss

You'll shed weight - and pretty quickly, too! For starters, you'll be able to control your insulin better. In turn, your blood sugar levels will be under much better control, too. You're not dieting, per se, either. You're simply eating healthier. When most people go on a diet, they cut calories, often far too low, with no real care given to the quality of food they eat. The weight lost dieting almost always makes its way back around your belly two-fold.

When you cut out sugar, the focus is on the sweet stuff, not calories. Steer clear of sugar and there is a good chance that your weight loss will be permanent.

2) Better Gut Health

Sugar breeds bad bacteria in your gut. Given that a majority of our immune system is controlled in the belly region, it's no surprise that an overgrowth of bacteria triggered by too much sugar affects our health. Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and irritable bowel are a few signs that bad bacteria is beginning to take over any good bacteria that might exist.

Take a good probiotic first thing in the morning. And NO, I don't mean a sugary yogurt with probiotic qualities added to it. I mean a probiotic in tablet, pill, powder or liquid form. If you want to get good bacteria (probiotics) from the foods you eat, you can make your own yogurt or your own pickled vegetables. It's really easy to do either.

As always, stay away from sugar. If your gut is a house on fire, sugar will only fan the flames.

3) Improved Mood

You may not know it, but if you're struggling with anxiety or depression, cutting out sugar could help. A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that middle aged people who regularly consumed processed foods, typically high in refined sugar, were much more likely to suffer from depression than those who ate a less processed diet.

Sugar can be as addictive as cocaine. Feeling good, almost high, when you eat something sugary is a sign that you need to hit the brakes. Sugar ignites our brain's pleasure center, which is activated again when we indulge in something sugary. This vicious cycle continues until the pattern is finally broken.

It's easier said than done, but if you know you'll have a problem easing off sugar, have healthier alternatives around and ready to go. Keep chopped up carrots or apples on-hand. Make sure you pair them with something with a little protein and fat, like almond butter or hummus, to control your blood sugar levels. If that doesn't sound appetizing, stay away from the kitchen when you know cravings set in. If you fall prey to fast food or quick and easy grocery store pick-me-ups, focus hard and keep your eye on the prize. Think of will power as a muscle. It only gets stronger if you use it.

4) Fewer Wrinkles

The more sugar you eat, the older you'll look. Sugar creates something called glycation, which is when sugar and protein bind together. Sugar causes these proteins to oxidize, which damages us on a cellular level, but rears its ugly head on our skin in the form of wrinkled, dull, dry skin.
Sugar consumption interferes with collagen, too! Collagen helps the tissue in our body stay strong, from our heart muscle muscle to the ligaments around our ankles as well as our skin. Eat less sugar and more of the  foods that nourish your skin. You'll look younger by next week.

5) Less Inflammation

Sugar creates inflammation in a big way. A lot of people assume inflammation is simply arthritis or heart disease, but it's also chronic infections and obesity, too. In fact, if you have inflammation, it can be very difficult to lose weight. Eating more anti-inflammatory foods can help control inflammation, but eliminating added sugar will give you a fast head start.

Traci D Mitchell is a nationally-recognized health and fitness coach, and author of the Belly Burn Plan. Featured on numerous news programs, publications, and radio shows, such as the TODAY Show, Steve Harvey, Dr. Oz, Oprah.com, and SHAPE magazine, Traci specializes in weight loss through clean eating and high intensity interval training. Traci is also a speaker, and has a natural ability to engage and motivate large groups. You can learn more about Traci on her websiteFacebook or Twitter.

Get 3 recipes from her forthcoming book, The Belly Burn Plan, right now.

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