One of the bumps we often encounter on our weight loss journey is how to quit sugar.

As you probably already know, sugar is one of the major culprits of our current obesity epidemic.

how to quit sugar and tips to detox your body to reduce cravings in 5 days or quit cold turkey. Easily work these tips into your meal plan to quit sugar for good. #quitsugar #giveupsugar #healthyeating

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Specifically, it’s the added sugar found in processed food and beverages that are wreaking havoc on our body.

The average American consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar every day. That’s a whopping 58 pounds of added sugar in a year, per person!

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugar intake per day to 6 teaspoons for women, and 9 teaspoons for men.

Why Quit Sugar

In addition to avoiding extra fat storage and weight gain, there are many other benefits to quitting sugar:

  • Sugar is highly addictive and perpetuates a harmful cycle on our bodies.
  • When we eat sugar, insulin is released by the pancreas to remove glucose from the blood. A constant intake of excess sugar causes elevated levels of insulin over time which can lead to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.
  • You’ll experience dramatic ups and downs in your energy level.  This affects your mental sharpness as well.
  • Foods high in sugar attack the enamel on our teeth and cause decay.  Quitting sugar not only saves you from the pain and stress of visiting the dentist, but also expensive dental bills!

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What happens when you detox from sugar?

Sugar is highly addictive because it releases feel-good hormones (dopamine and serotonin) in the brain, triggering our body’s reward system.

The more sugar we eat, the better we feel, even if the effect is just temporary. 

When you stop eating sugar altogether, however, your body goes through a withdrawal process, not unlike that of when people get off drugs. 

You may feel cranky or irritable, especially in the first few days.  Additionally, you may experience exhaustion, headaches, brain fog, and gastrointestinal distress.  

After a week or so, your energy will begin to return, and you will feel more alert and less irritable.

What is the difference between natural sugar versus added sugar?

How to quit added sugar

The good news here is that not all sugars are created equal. So you don’t have to give up on your sweet tooth entirely, but you do have to choose your sugar wisely.

Naturally occurring sugars are found in real, whole foods.  Examples include the fructose found in fruits and lactose found in milk.

Added sugars, also known as refined sugars or sucrose, are highly processed from sugar cane and sugar beets. 

They’re high in calories and stripped of most of their nutritional value, whereas natural sugars contain vitamins and minerals.

These highly processed sugars are often added to sweeten foods and drinks during their manufacturing process. 

When we consume real foods, we digest all the nutrients provided by the food along with its naturally occurring sugar so that the sugar enters our bloodstream slowly and steadily.  

Processed foods with added sugars usually have a highly concentrated dose of sugar and it is absorbed into the body quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar levels that can lead to fat storage and weight gain.

How to Quit Sugar: 6 Keys to Tame Your Sweet Tooth 

1. Check ingredient labels

Shop processed foods carefully by checking ingredient labels for potential hidden sugar.

Avoid refined sugars, such as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Skip artificial sugar substitutes such as Splenda and Nutrasweet and eat clean.

Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.  The fiber in fruits helps to slow the absorption of sugar and prevent blood glucose spikes that can lead to fat storage.

2. Use natural sweeteners 

How to quit sugar - raw honey

Concerned about the side effects of quitting sugar cold turkey?  Try gradually weaning off your sweet tooth by substituting added sugar with naturally occurring sweeteners.

What can you sweeten your food and drinks with instead? Pure raw honey or maple syrup.  With moderation, of course.

Remember, you only need to substitute about 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of honey or maple syrup for an equivalent amount of table sugar for taste.

3. Stay minty fresh

Peppermint is a natural appetite suppressant. 

A study in 2008 from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found that participants exposed to peppermint on a consistent basis consumed about 2,800 fewer calories per week than those who were not.

And the peppermint is effective whether it is ingested or inhaled!

Fight your sugar craving by drinking mint herbal tea in between or after meals, or brush your teeth with a minty toothpaste after meals.

Related Post: 6 Best Teas for Weight Loss

4. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon

How to quit sugar - cinnamon

Research has shown that cinnamon can help to reduce sugar cravings by controlling blood glucose levels, and this helps to minimize insulin spikes that lead to increased hunger and sugar consumption (source).

Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to your coffee, tea or smoothies. It’s also great on porridge, roasted vegetables, or sliced apples.

5. Drink smoothies instead of juices

If you’re craving something sweet, a smoothie can be a great snack option.

The sweetness of whole fruits combined with the filling effects of yogurt can satisfy your desire for something sweet while providing lots of beneficial nutrients.

Boost the smoothies with fibrous greens to further help you stave off hunger and avoid sugar detox side effects like headaches and fatigue.

6. Fight sweets with bitters

How to quit sugar - dark chocolate

A study published by the University of Texas found that consuming bitter foods shuts down the receptors in our brains that drive us to desire and consume sugar (source). 

Bitter foods can help slow the absorption of sugar and regulate blood sugar levels.

They are also found to stimulates the release of hormones that are responsible for controlling our appetite and keeping cravings at bay.

Not sure if you’ll like bitter-tasting food? The truth is you are already eating many bitter foods and have acquired a taste for them by now. These foods include lemon, lime, grapefruit, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and dark chocolate.

Bitter melon is a fruit vegetable found in many types of Asian cuisines known for its ability to control blood sugar and potentially aid weight loss.

It’s usually prepared with some sweet sauces and mixed with meat that makes it one delicious and nutritious dish.  It’s one of the Chinese secret weapons to staying slim!

Before you order that sweet dessert at the restaurant next time, ask the waiter for water with slices of lemon, unsweetened tea or coffee to nip the sugar craving in the bud.

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