If you’re feeling fatigued or experiencing low energy, brain fog, or digestive issues, it might be time to think about the amount of sugar you are consuming and consider a cleanse. Research links high added sugar intake with those problems, as well as more serious conditions of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. A sugar detox can boost your overall health and protect against the development of chronic disease.
Added sugars are obviously found in cake, ice cream, sweetened breakfast cereal, candy, cookies, and sugar-sweetened beverages, but there are many hidden sources as well, including processed foods, sauces, salad dressings, and condiments. Fortunately, making small changes to your sugar intake can significantly affect your overall health. Here are a few helpful tips to slowly reduce your added sugar intake over time.
Tips for Cutting Sugar from Your Diet
- Replace sweetened drinks with water – energy drinks, soda, and fruit juice are all high-sugar beverages, and water is sugar-free and offers many additional hydration benefits.
- Eat a high-protein breakfast – Fuel your body with fiber and protein in the morning to stay full and reduce cravings before lunch.
- Read labels – Many foods and condiments are sneaky sources of added sugar.
- Focus on whole foods – Plant-based and natural foods can regulate blood sugar and promote greater satiety because they contain greater amounts of fiber.
- Add more fiber to your diet – Fiber helps slow the rate at which glucose is released into the bloodstream from the food you eat and leaves you more satisfied after a meal or snack, which prevents overeating.
- Choose healthy snacks – Granola bars and protein cookies may be packed with added sugar. Choose whole, nutrient-dense snacks like nuts and seeds, fruit, hummus, vegetables, and eggs.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners – Swapping out sugar for artificial sweeteners may seem like a good idea when you’re trying to cut sugar, but research suggests certain artificial sweetener may lead to metabolic changes and actually increase cravings, food intake, and cause weight gain.
- Get Active – Research shows that exercise helps increase energy and reduce stress, which fights fatigue, low energy levels, and stress-induced cravings
- Pass on sugary desserts – After meals are you really hungry, or is dessert just a bad habit? Choose desserts that are high in protein or healthy fats like Greek yogurt with berries or nuts.
Reducing your added sugar intake is a great decision to make for a healthier lifestyle. While it may be challenging, the health benefits are worth it!
Authored by Zach Meeker, Research Assistant for Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center
Daniel J. Reis, Stephen S. Ilardi, Michael S. Namekata, Erik K. Wing, Carina H. Fowler, The depressogenic potential of added dietary sugars, Medical Hypotheses, Volume 134, 2020, 109421, ISSN 0306-9877,
Ahmed SH, Guillem K, Vandaele Y. Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Jul;16(4):434-9. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328361c8b8. PMID: 23719144.
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