Ever heard or experienced a “sugar withdrawal” or a “sugar detox?” I know, it sounds a little dramatic. But saying no to the ice cream, pastries, and chocolate chip cookies can be hard when they are right in front of you.
Surprisingly, sugar addiction, and sugar withdrawal are very real problems and can lead to some sugar withdrawal symptoms during a sugar detox.
When figuring out whether or not to quit sugar and start a sugar detox diet, or no sugar diet, you’re going to need to know what you’re getting yourself into.
In this post, I’ll share with you:
- Sugar detox symptoms
- How to make sugar withdrawal easier
- How to detox from sugar
- A no sugar diet
Here’s what I found out about sugar withdrawal and sugar detox symptoms.
- 1 Sugar Is A Very Real Addiction
- 2 Factors that Influence your Sugar Withdrawal and Symptoms
- 3 The Length Of Time You Have Been Eating Sugar
- 4 How Much Sugar You Eat
- 5 How To Detox From Sugar
- 6 Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms
- 7 Hunger and Cravings
- 8 Anxiety
- 9 Low Energy
- 10 Impulsive Behavior
- 11 Depression
- 12 Headaches
- 13 Other Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms
- 14 How to Make Sugar Withdrawal Easier
- 15 Get The Right Amount Of Sleep
- 16 Exercise Regularly
- 17 Vitamins & Minerals During Your Sugar Cleanse
- 18 Apple Cider Vinegar
- 19 Watch for Hidden Sugar
- 20 Be Prepared
- 21 Conclusion…
Sugar Is A Very Real Addiction
As I did my research, I read a lot of stories of sugar withdrawal and other’s stories of cutting out sugar from their diets. The majority of the detox stories I read sounded like someone coming off of drugs. I had no idea how hard giving up sugar can be, let alone how many complications it causes.
One story from a women name Tahlia, was unable to conceive until she quit sugar. It was a touching story that I think you should read too.
Some of what she experienced of withdrawal was kind of shocking, I’m sure you’ll agree:
When she was 15, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian disease and would not be able to conceive. After quitting sugar on a sugar detox program, 8 weeks later, her and her husband conceived!
“My doctor was just as amazed when we told him the only thing we had done was cut out sugar.”
If you need help on how to detox from sugar like Tahlia, you can click the link below. And also try the 21-day sugar detox program if you want.
Let’s get into sugar withdrawal symptoms and how to detox from sugar, shall we?
Factors that Influence your Sugar Withdrawal and Symptoms
An article from Mental Health Daily, talks about many factors that influence both the length and severity of your sugar withdrawal symptoms.
The Length Of Time You Have Been Eating Sugar
For most of us, eating sugar has been something you’ve done for your entire life, let’s be honest.
Think I’m exaggerating?
Even breast milk contains sugar. This sugar is in the form of the natural sugar called lactose. Even some baby formulas contain added sugars such as sucrose.
Experts claim that sucrose conditions babies to want and crave sweet foods throughout their whole life.
The longer you’ve been eating added sugars, the harder it is to detox from sugar completely.
How Much Sugar You Eat
If you start your day off with a cereal filled with sugar, then add sugar to your coffee, proceed to snack on donuts, candy and chips, then drink Coca Cola all day long you most likely are going to have a more difficult time cutting out sugar and getting on a sugar detox diet than someone who doesn’t consume much sugar. It could even be the reason you have love handles too.
The average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) of sugar each day according to Sugar Science. That translates into about 66 pounds of added sugar consumed each year, per person.
How To Detox From Sugar
Are you looking to slowly cut sugar out of your diet or just quit sugar all at once?
I prefer to quit sugar and other things the ‘cold turkey’ way when it comes to things like this. I have friends that have stopped smoking cigarettes and found replacements like e-cigs. But don’t fall into searching for replacements like aspartame to fulfill you sweet tooth.
Try to figure out what works best for you – there’s no hard and fast rule to detoxing from sugar.
I searched Google for quitting smoking the ‘cold turkey’ way and a Gallup poll found this to be the best approach. Only 2% recommended cutting down gradually to be the most effective way.
Dr. Oz also recommends quitting sugar outright as the best way to go.
Other studies on withdrawing from addictive substances found that gradually dwindling the use or consumption helps keeps patients in treatment and reduces drug use, when compared to other approaches.
I know I might come off as a little extreme, but comparing sugar to drugs has been shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine!
Keep in mind that if you’re someone who enjoys and eats a lot of sugar regularly, it might be a good idea to gradually detox yourself off your sugar cravings over the next few weeks, to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms
Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms I will talk about in their sugar detox plan. You probably will go through one or two of these as it takes time for your body to make adjustments to your new healthier lifestyle.
Hunger and Cravings
Sugar is a fuel for each and every cell in your brain and is considered a reward, making you want more sugar.
The more sugar you eat, the harder it is to break the habit because you continue to reward your brain. The same concept is similar to the effects of nicotine from cigarettes.
When you are starving, your body is screaming for more sugar. This is the sugar withdrawal kicking in! Instead, fight the urge to eat sweets and eat healthy, nutrient dense foods. Focus on eating a healthy breakfast, happy foods, and add cinnamon and honey to sweeten things instead if you must add sugar.
While you are still craving sugar, you may find yourself wanting to eat more carbs. But eating all sorts of processed breads, pasta and fries, means you’re still feeding your sugar habit. You can always try a keto diet with more proteins if you’d like.
These starchy foods are broken down by your body into simple sugars, which won’t help you reach your goal of giving up sugar and your new ‘no sugar diet.’
When you take something away that your body is used to, your brain is going to react to a sudden change.
In a 2002 study at Princeton University, rats were subjected to sugar dependence and then ‘sugar withdrawal’ (induced by food deprivation or drugs).
Each method of withdrawal resulted with the rats having displayed similar behaviors to anxiety. They also showed symptoms of anxiety from physical signs such as teeth chattering, paw tremors and head shaking.
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that can quickly result in a sudden burst of energy. But don’t be fooled, just as quick as the burst of energy comes, you can quickly crash too.
When you continuously eat large amounts of sugar, or simple carbs regularly, your body slowly gets used to using these simple sugars as its source of energy.
When sugar and simple carbs are eliminated during your sugar detox plan, your body is left confused and sluggish.
Dr. Mercola, says that switching from a diet consisting of mainly carbs to a predominately fat and protein based diet can and will help rebalance your body’s chemistry. This results in a gain in energy from these new food sources. Eating a keto diet incorporates more fats into your diet than carbs.
It’s still important to get carbohydrates but make sure you understand which carbs to eat to lose weight and stay energized. Focus on healthy whole grains and green leafy vegetables like kale. Now, that’s not to say that we don’t need carbs at all. We all do like I discuss in the three day military diet article.
If you are the type of person who is calm and relaxed but trying to detox from sugar, or anything else, you could struggle to control your emotions and behaviors when kicking an addiction.
This aspect of addiction and withdrawal is well-known with people who are trying to quit alcohol, nicotine or drugs. With that said, quitting sugar could have the same effect on your impulse control levels.
It has been shown that sugar withdrawal is linked to impulsive behavior and the parallel effects of addictive drugs and sugar suggests an increase in impulsivity as a consequence of sugar deprivation.
In the same study, rats who had been trained to drink water by pressing a lever, were then given either sugar and water, or just water.
30 days later, those who were fed the sugar pressed the lever far more times than the water rats, indicating impulsive behavior.
WebMD defines depression as feelings of intense sadness — including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless.
Sugar is a very strong drug that when withdrawing from sugar during a sugar cleanse can cause you to feel depressed too.
Another test on sugar-addicted rats found that, when withdrawing from sugar, they exhibited signs similar to depression.
In a ‘forced swim test’, the rats who were ‘coming down’ from their sugar high were more likely to show passive behaviors such as floating, rather than active behaviors such as trying to escape, which researchers interpreted as feelings of helplessness.
The evidence supports the hypothesis that under certain circumstances rats can become sugar dependent. This can translate to some human conditions as suggested by the study on eating disorders and obesity.
Another major sugar withdrawal symptom I think you will experience during your detox is most likely a headache. This is the most common, and painful side effect of sugar withdrawal.
If you do try to consume small amounts of sugar to alleviate the headaches, don’t go grabbing for a soda! Try picking more healthier items, like ones that fight free radicals, and fruits – apples, blueberries, strawberries and watermelon are all good options.
If you have really bad headaches, then you should giving the gradual dwindling approach to detoxing from sugar instead of cold turkey.
Other Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms
Other sugar withdrawal symptoms experienced by people who have detoxed from sugar include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Chills or sweats
- Strange dreams
- Gas and bloating
How to Make Sugar Withdrawal Easier
If the long list of sugar withdrawal symptoms above aren’t enough to help convince you to start your no sugar diet or sugar detox diet, I don’t blame you. There are a bunch tips and tricks to help make the sugar cleanse and sugar withdrawal process much easier.
Dr. Frank Lipman, has a list of things you can try to include:
- Eating three meals and two snacks, or five small meals, a day to keep hunger and cravings at bay.
- Include more protein and fat into each meal, to balance blood sugar.
- Spice things up with coriander, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to naturally sweeten your food.
- Take all of the sugary items out of your home – what’s not there, you can’t eat.
- Stay away from artificial sweeteners. If you have to use a sweetener, use stevia.
- Drink lots of water.
In addition to those tips you should also try these.
Get The Right Amount Of Sleep
Eight to nine hours of sleep each night is important to give you the energy you need to make it through out the entire day. Sleeping eight to nine hours each night will aid in boosting your energy during a sugar cleanse.
Not getting enough sleep can worsen symptoms of anxiety and also depression. During your sugar detox, this can be avoided by getting the right amount of sleep.
Working out is one of my top pieces of advice to prevent excess sugar in your diet. Exercising is the perfect way to stop any type of cravings you are experiencing during your no sugar diet plan. Exercising is a great testosterone booster too, for both men and women.
Vitamins & Minerals During Your Sugar Cleanse
When following a sugar cleanse or sugar detox plan, it is important to include some important vitamins and minerals.
Nutrients that can help reduce your sugar cravings and the symptoms of a sugar withdrawal include B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, chromium, and the amino acid L-glutamine.
You are able to take supplements but I recommend finding the right foods with these nutrients instead.
- Chromium comes from whole grains, string beans, beef, broccoli, mushrooms, oats, eggs, fish and seafood.
- The B vitamins can be found in fruits and vegetables especially kale, different types of grains, beans, fish, eggs and dairy.
- Zinc can be found in turkey, salmon, shrimp, spinach, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and egg yolks.
- Stay away from orange juice which is loaded with sugar. You can get vitamin C from foods like bell peppers, kale, broccoli, papaya and brussels sprouts.
- Livestrong lists the highest sources of l-glutamine as meat, poultry, fish and seafood, whole milk, yogurt, and turkey are just a few sources. Be careful eating too much red meat as it has ben deemed carcinogenic in October 2015.
Apple Cider Vinegar
A great trick, from Jordanna Levin at I Quit Sugar, to help slow down sugar cravings is to mix up two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water to drink.
Watch for Hidden Sugar
You can find sugar in most everything you eat! It’s hard to get away from sugar when it is in low fat foods to salad dressings.
If you do mistakenly eat foods containing sugar on your no sugar diet, it will just prolong the withdrawal process.
It’s important to be a label reading expert during your sugar detox. Sugar has over 50 different names from barley malt, to cane juice crystals, to maltodextrin and anything ending in ‘ose’.
It’s important to get to work each day with some food in your stomach. And don’t head towards the vending machine either.
I hope I was able to help you with how to detox from sugar. Quitting sugar isn’t going to be easy on any type of no sugar diet. Sugar cravings and symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult too.
When you make it through the sugar ‘detox’, the results will all be worth it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts – are you surprised to read about the no sugar diet and the crazy symptoms of sugar withdrawal? Have you ever experienced any?