I'm almost 2 weeks into this sugar detox, and by far the biggest question I get is, um why????
For starters, I think a good reset is important to overall health. In addition, getting more in tune with cravings and why they occur is important. There is a reason the whole concept of mindful eating is gaining more steam.
In addition, this time of year is so full of sugar! Holiday parties, family dinners, goodies at the office. There are sweet treats everywhere you turn. For me, I feel like I don't always crave a lot of sweets and I've been eating a more 'real food' diet for quite a while and do my best to avoid refined sugars. But it can be hard to say no when they are always right under your nose. The problem with the standard American diet is that sugar is found in so many packaged foods, diet/low-fat foods and things you probably never even realized! Take a look at some labels in your pantry, and you will be shocked! The other issue is that the names of hidden sugars are staggering. Cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, evaporated cane juice, etc to name a few. No wonder it can be so hard to stay away!
So the 21 day sugar detox, or 21DSD for short is a plan developed by nutritionist Diane Sanfilippo.
There are 3 levels of the program to choose from. It is very easy to follow, as she has a guidebook and also a cookbook with meal plans, in addition to loads of content on her website, and also you can sign up for even more support via an online program as well.
I have the guidebook, which has been a great resource. There is a whole section at the beginning that talks about reason behind sugar cravings and why people become so reliant on it for energy.
There are a lot of other resources to look at if you are interested in reading about all the bad things sugar can do, but here are a few highlights.
1. The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That is insane! Most of this sugar is found in processed, prepackaged foods and sweetened beverages. Most of these have very little nutritional value.
2. Sugar really is addicting! There are very complex hormonal cues that cause cravings and make you overeat. Sugar lights up the same part of the brain as things like cocaine and morphine. yikes!
3. When you eat sugar, your body produces insulin, which signals your body to store the sugar or glucose in your liver and muscles. when you eat more and more bad carbohydrates, you need more and more insulin to keep your blood sugar levels under control. When you run out of space in your liver and muscles to store sugar, guess what happens? That resulting sugar is turned into fat and stored either as triglycerides in your blood, or adipose, aka body fat.
4. Fake sugar or sugar substitutes are no good either. The body gets confused because the hormone signals are disrupted. You get a sweet taste but no signal that you are getting fed. So the body turns up its hunger cues, causing you to actually eat and crave more!
If you want to learn more, definitely check out the links below for more information. I'll be back soon with my first full week recap of the detox.
Dr. Mark Hyman's Blood Sugar Solution
The 21 Day Sugar Detox
5 foods to help wean yourself off sugar
What is your relationship with sugar?