Sugar Detox. How to Do It, Symptoms, & Side Effects
3 Day, 7 Day, 10 Day, 21 Day, & 30 Day Sugar Detox Diet Plans
Medical Fact Checked by: Dr. Bryan Havoc
Sugar is one of the most addictive substances we know of. Eating too much sugar is the cause of a large number of health problems such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Did you know that you can go on a sugar addiction detox? What happens to your body when you stop eating sugar? With the introduction to a no sugar diet, you’re bound to experience sugar withdrawal symptoms. We’re going to let you in on all the info you need to know about a sugar detox diet plan - from it’s benefits, side effects, and the potential to shed some pounds while you’re at it!
What is a Sugar Detox?
A sugar detox cleanses the body of the stored sugar within your body. The best way to do this is by cutting sugar completely out of your diet. This also includes certain foods that are high in sugar content naturally, such as fruits. Some people go on a sugar detox for only a couple days while others swear by the one month sugar detox challenge. But why would you go on a zero sugar diet? Are you unsure of how to quit sugar? Removing sugar from your diet is a big change that takes some serious dedication. Let’s dive deeper into what sugar does to the body.
What It Does to Our Bodies When We Eat Sugar
When we eat sugar, it doesn’t just disappear. As sugar is digested in the body, it is broken down into something referred to as glucose. This glucose flows into your bloodstream and then transferred to tissue cells. These tissue cells are located in the muscles, organs, etc. Muscles and organs use this glucose as a source of energy.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re eating low to moderate amounts of sugar, the problem begins when you’re eating too much sugar. The pancreas is responsible for keeping track of how much glucose is present in your bloodstream as well as for releasing the insulin necessary to control it.
In most cases, excess sugar will be stored for use later so your blood-sugar levels remain consistent.
Some people develop certain conditions that cause their blood-sugar levels to become uncontrollable without medical intervention. It’s possible for your body to cease the production of insulin or become inefficient, causing blood-sugar levels to rise dangerously. Your body can also become resistant to insulin, causing the same dangerous effect. High glucose levels, also known as hyperglycemia, is responsible for heart disease, eye damage, skin problems, stroke, heart attack, and more. When high glucose levels are left untreated for too long, it’s possible to end up in a diabetic coma.
Symptoms You’re Eating Too Much Sugar
You don’t need to be in a diabetic coma to figure out that you’re eating too much sugar. It is also a misconception that if you eat too much sugar then you must be overweight. You would be surprised to know that there are plenty of people who aren’t overweight as well as people who are considered skinny that consume too much sugar. The signs of this show either mentally, physically, or both physically and mentally (usually the case). Some people become so accustomed to feeling certain effects that it has become normal for them.
Since sugars are extremely addicting, you’ll find yourself having intense cravings for sugar. Believe it or not, high sugar foods have been studied and reported to have a similar effect on the brain as drugs, releasing dopamine when consumed. Another way sugar can affect you mentally is by making it difficult to sleep at night, causing brain fog, and even depression or low self-confidence.
Since excess sugar is stored as fat on the body, a common sign of too much sugar consumption is being overweight. Especially if you aren’t very active, it is easy to put fat on your body by eating too much sugar. When you eat too much sugar your immune system becomes significantly weakened, making your immune system ineffective at fighting illness & diseases. Some other physical signs of eating too much sugar are bloating, skin rashing & irritation, unexplained aches, difficulty losing weight, low energy levels, and premature aging among other health problems.
Sugar Detox Symptoms (aka Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms)
Are you wondering how long does it take to withdraw from sugar? To be honest, you can start feeling sugar withdrawals as soon as the first day of your detox. The severity will depend on how much sugar you consumed before. How long does sugar withdrawal last? It can be anywhere from a couple days to a couple of weeks. Consistency is key, though, meaning that the longer you go without sugar, the less intense symptoms will be.
Symptoms of sugar withdrawal include:
- Sleep pattern changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased cravings
We’ve mentioned this before, but you may feel worse before you feel how much better it is when you eat less sugar. Just hang in there, make sure to try our tips to help make your detox easier, and you will be much happier that you stuck with it instead of giving up!
Benefits of a Sugar Detox Diet Plan
A sugar detox diet plan can help bring your body back to an efficient way of working. While detoxes are looked at as an extreme measure by many, a sugar detox is essential to help restore balance to your body in terms of blood sugar regulation, hormonal balancing, reducing & eliminating inflammation, promoting digestive health, and increasing the metabolism. There are so many benefits from a sugar detox that there is no reason to ignore it.
Here are the benefits you can gain from going on a detox from sugar:
- Eliminate food addictions and cravings
- Regulated blood sugar levels
- Rejuvenate your taste buds aka real food will taste better!
- Boost your metabolism
- Feel more satisfied from your meals
- Save money from not spending on sugary snacks
- Increased energy
- Better ability to focus
- Clearer skin
- Improved digestive health
- Weight loss
- Less mood swings
- Better overall mood
- Improved immune system
- Development of long-lasting healthy habits
Those are just a few of the benefits you can gain from a sugar detox. Low sugar diets are capable of improving health conditions and can lead to a long, happy life if you are willing to dedicate to living a healthy lifestyle.
Can You Lose Weight On a Sugar Detox?
One of the biggest things people experience from going on a sugar detox is weight loss. Depending on your weight and previous habits, you can lose as much as 20 pounds from going on a one month long sugar detox. Even if you decide to detox for a shorter amount of time, if you continue to practice healthy habits and take care when it comes to maintaining low sugar consumption, you will most likely experience continual weight-loss and health improvement.
How to Do a Sugar Detox on Your Body
How long does it take to detox from sugar? A general consensus is that it takes only 3 days to get your taste buds back to their normal state and 10 days to get rid of the addiction. This means that after 3 days of no sugar, an apple will taste sweet like candy to your taste buds! If you’re wondering, “how can I detox my body from sugar?” We have all the answers for you here. There are several ways to do it, so here’s a few explanations of how to do a sugar detox depending on the length you want to do it (3 days to 30 days)
3 Day Sugar Detox
The 3 day sugar detox, or first 3 days, should focus on incorporating protein in every meal. Have eggs for breakfast and opt for chicken or fish for lunch & dinner. Choose leafy greens for your serving of vegetables and stay away from starchy foods (potatoes, squash, etc.), bread, dairy, and grains. Fats such as avocado, flaxseeds, olives, and fish are important to help you feel satisfied. Don;t eat any fruits since they naturally have sugar.
7 Day Sugar Detox
After 3 days, you can start eating an apple every day as well as a serving of dairy. Yogurt or cheese are great options - just make sure you choose whole fat options and unsweetened.
High-fiber crackers are a great snack to help make you feel more satisfied.
You can also add in carrots, peas, and beans for more variety. Remember to keep yourself hydrated and drink lots of water through your sugar detox.
10 Day Sugar Detox
After 7 days, feel free to add berries into your diet. They’re rich in antioxidants and will be a real treat during your sugar detox. You can also bring your dairy consumption up to 2 servings per day. Yams and squashes are appropriate to bring back as well. By this point you will have a wider variety of foods to eat.
21 Day Sugar Detox
If you’re going for a 21 day sugar detox, then by the third week you can eat one serving of either quinoa, oatmeal, or barley for more carbs. Grapes and citrus can be introduced as well. One ounce of dark chocolate can be eaten every day as a healthy & sweet snack to treat yourself.
30 Day Sugar Detox (One Month Sugar Detox)
By week four, you can bring your grains up to two servings per day and include bread or rice as one of them. If you happen to be at a party or gathering, you can allow yourself to eat a serving of cake or ice cream. This is because you no longer have the addiction to sugar anymore. Once you’ve surpassed 30 days, you don’t need to limit your fruit anymore! All you have to do is keep practicing the healthy habits you’ve developed and you can enjoy the benefits of your sugar detox for much longer.
Tips to Beat Sugar Detox Side Effects
Let’s face it, a sugar detox is not easy. It takes a lot of patience and commitment. Luckily we have some tips to make a sugar detox easier:
- Replace sugar with protein and fats
- Eat high-fiber foods
- Drink lots of water
- Absolutely NO artificial sweeteners
- Drink green smoothies
- Get enough sleep and rest
- Eat bitter foods to drive away cravings
You may have heard of sugar detox pills to help reduce cravings. We can’t confidently recommend them since more research needs to be done on their effectiveness.
Best Sugar Substitutes
If you’re looking for healthy substitutes for sugar, then opt for these natural sweeteners:
- Maple syrup
- Agave syrup
- Fresh dates
- Other fruits
Sugar alternatives to avoid are artificial sweeteners. These often cause inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and are actually worse for you than sugar.
Sugar Detox Recipes
Before we share some sugar detox recipes, we’re going to go over an extensive list of foods to incorporate in your diet while you’re on a sugar free diet. Feel free to use any of these ingredients to create a personalized sugar detox meal plan that suits your preferences. You’ll find that it’s easy to have a diverse sugar detox diet plan that incorporates foods you already love to eat.
Sugar Detox Food List
Since a sugar detox calls for a no sugar diet, feel free to eat any of these foods while you’re quitting sugar. Make sure you eat mindfully, meaning you don’t eat either too much or too little. Also, refer back to our sugar detox lengths above. Depending on where you are on your detox plan will define whether you should include some of these foods or not. Foods to include in your sugar detox diet plan are:
- Leafy greens
- High-fiber crackers
- Sweet potatoes
The Takeaway: Reducing Your Sugar Consumption Will Improve Your Overall Health
A sugar detox is the best way to help improve your health quickly and shake off the sugar cravings. But if a sugar detox sounds too hard, then just simply reducing your sugar consumption will give you amazing health benefits as well. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have patience, be easy on yourself, and give yourself a realistic goal to focus on. In the end, you will find it was all worth it.
*This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.