Welcome to the Radiant Health 21 Day sugar detox! The sugar detox program entails the elimination of anything that includes sugar, sweeteners, and sugar alcohols, all of which are added to our foods and we consume, sometimes without even knowing about it. These hidden sugars make it into our food supply so during the next 21 days you will really want to make a point of reading all food labels of anything you eat. The importance of reading labels is not only critical for the sugar detox, but a good habit to learn to obtain for a lifetime. Be sure to read my previous blog on the sugar consumption by Americans.
Sweeteners to be on the look out for and eliminate in your diet for the next 21 days:
Artificial: Anything with the words “diet” or “sugar free”. Synthetic sugar substitutes like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose better known as Equal, Nutrasweet, Sweet’N Low, and Splenda.
Sugar Alcohols: They are a hydrogenated form of carbohydrate. They can cause unpleasant side effects of bloating, gas, diarrhea, and often have a laxative effect. Some of the more well-known sugar alcohols are sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, malitol, isomalt.
Natural sweeteners: Agave nectar, date sugar, fruit juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, molasses, cane sugar, and coconut sugar.
Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup and sucrose or common table sugar
Novel sweeteners: Stevia.
A couple of food exceptions to the sweeteners already mentioned to really enhance your sugar detox experience would be alcohol and dairy creamers. I’d like to encourage you to clean up your diet of all alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and distilled alcohol. Eliminating alcohol will help to improve this detox process and take the burden off our liver, pancreas, kidneys and digestive tract and reduce body wide inflammation,
The other exception will be no milk or dairy added to your coffee, tea or cereal. Milk lower in fat (eg. Skim, 1%, 2%, etc) has more sugar, a sugar called galactose. Dairy is also pro-inflammatory for a lot of people so taking it out of your day-to-day rituals for the next 21 days is a good thing to eliminate.
By adding the right foods, in place of the sugar-containing foods you are eliminating, you will balance blood sugar levels and insulin levels. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who already have impaired insulin sensitivity leading to higher circulating glucose levels. This can lead to disease like insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and Type 2 diabetes. However, you don’t have to have these metabolic disorders in order to have high circulating glucose. There is a test I run on all my patients that tells me what their blood sugar levels have been previous 2 weeks. These are people who do not have any known blood sugar dysregulation issues, but this test can uncover that they have not maintained healthy blood glucose levels.
How To Successfully Follow My 21-Day Sugar Detox In 4 Easy Steps
First, start by eating a whole foods diet, specifically: healthy fats, protein, and fiber. These foods will help to keep you feel full longer and help you to overcome sugar cravings.
–FATS: avocados, nut butters, sprouted seeds, coconut oils, organic butter
–PROTEIN: organic grass fed beef, organic wild turkey, chicken or salmon, organic dairy, free range eggs, fermented cheese, or protein powders
–FIBER: dark leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds
Secondly, I think the first 3-4 days of any elimination diet program is the hardest. So if you’re someone who really craves sugar, then I suggest you do this slowly and take the next week to really go through your pantry, fridge, and cupboards to take the sugars out of reach so you cannot consume them. You need to eliminate sugar from your food supply. As you take the sugar out, replace them with the novel sweetener or organic stevia so that by day 8 or 9 you will be completely off all sweeteners, including the stevia.
Next, bring in sugar balancing herbs and nutritional support. Taking the right supplements can help to balance out blood sugar levels and reduce cravings, especially if you have a major sweet tooth and struggle to eliminate the sugar in your diet.
I love an herb called gymnema sylvestre, which has earned the nickname the, “sugar destroyer”. The taste response lasts about 30 minutes and if you take 400-600mg three times a day with meals you can not only decrease cravings because of the terrible taste it gives to sugary foods, but also help to balance blood sugar levels.
You can also take 200mcg of the trace mineral chromium piconolate with each meal three times a day.
Word of CAUTION: those of you who are already on a glucose lowering medication need to consult with your health care provider first before starting, as you may lower your glucose levels too far.
Take a take good high-grade probiotic with a balance of at least bifidobacteria, lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces boulardii. 25-50 billion daily with a meal can not only bring a healthy robust level of healthy bacteria to the intestinal flora, but will also help to reduce sugar cravings and reduce yeast overgrowth.
Finally, a good methylated form of B-complex will help to reduce sugar cravings, specifically Vitamin B6 and B12. I offer B-complex intramuscular injections in my office because they really are the fastest way to boost those levels and also bypass having to be absorbed in the gut which for many people can be a problem and oral form can create nausea of take on empty stomach so be sure to take with food. They also can help with energy while balancing mood and decreasing anxiety.
Lastly, change your habit associated with consuming sugar. If you know that those Skittles are calling you at 3pm. Step away from your desk and go out for a brisk walk to increase your mood and energy. Once you find a healthy habit, you will find that you won’t associate the craving for that sweet treat with boosting your energy and mood.
• Overcome a sugar addiction!
• Cardiovascular benefits. Decrease blood pressure and your risk stroke or heart attack.
• Neurotransmitter balances. Improve your mood and outlook on life.
• Weight loss
• Improved sleep.
• Bring hormones into balance improving libido, fertility, focus, and energy.
• Healthier skin and reduction in acne
• Lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels
• Balance blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
• Improve your immune function and decrease your chances of getting sick this cold and flu season!
You are unique and your healthcare should be too. Naturopathic Doctors and Acupuncturists at Radiant Health SF believe in a customized integrative approach to help you achieve optimal wellness for a healthy and enjoyable life.