Medically reviewed by Dr. Ari Magill
Sugar is a common ingredient in several foods we consume. It is, indeed, a vital source of energy that can also metabolize fat and prevent the body from using protein as energy. But, when we start consuming too much sugar, it starts causing chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
American adults consume nearly 77 grams of sugar (on average) every day, which is three times more than the recommended sugar amount for women. The situation is even more distressing for children.
As more people get addicted to excessive sugar intake, have you ever wondered what would happen if you stopped eating sugar for 2 weeks, or 14 days? Let’s see what the experts say:
Benefits When You Stop Eating Sugar
When you stop eating sugar, your body takes a 360-degree turn in transformation. Not only do you feel fit, but your internal organs cannot stop thanking you. Some of the benefits of cutting back on sugar include:
“Sugar causes inflammation within the body,” said Dr. Saya Obayan, MD, MPH, FAAD, a board-certified clinical dermatologist. The inflammation caused by eating foods with a high glycemic index can worsen certain skin conditions.
Too much sugar can start affecting your skin’s potential to repair collagen. Collagen is an abundant protein that plumps your skin. It strengthens the skin and ensures its good elasticity and hydration.
As sugar hinders the repair of your skin’s collagen, you may notice less elasticity and premature wrinkles due to this. But, when you cut down on sugar, it can prevent your skin from sagging and premature aging.
Excessive added sugar can be the greatest threat to our cardiovascular health. It can damage the cardiovascular system through uncontrolled inflammation, free radicals, and impaired insulin function.
So, how does reducing or stopping its consumption promote a healthy heart? It can limit both cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the human body and decrease heart attack risk.
Being a simple carbohydrate, sugar is digested and absorbed quickly into your bloodstream. Although it may give you a rush of energy at first, eventually, it will make you crash as it gets metabolized.
A good way to get energy through your diet is by adding protein. Naturopath diabetes specialist Dr Stanislaw says, “Have protein for breakfast [eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, sliced apple with peanut butter]. Start your day with a balanced blood-sugar level. Then you’re giving your body that balanced energy.” That’s why cutting back on sugar and replacing it with protein can stimulate lasting high energy and keep you power-packed for the entire day.
Reducing sugar and carbohydrates can also improve your kidney function. When it comes to diabetics, the kidney is the first organ that gets affected due to high blood sugar levels.
When you cut down on sugar consumption, the blood sugar level remains normal, and so does kidney health.
Sugar has empty calories, which means it hardly contains any nutrients. So, when you consume sugar regularly, it contributes to weight gain and obesity.
Replacing sugar with protein-rich food and good fats can stabilize the weight and fat distribution, and give you a flatter stomach. As increased weight is linked to many foodsit can also prevent harmful health conditions.
Besides the above-mentioned points, there are several other benefits of not eating sugar. Once you start your journey, you will be able to notice the changes yourself. Now that you know about the benefits of cutting sugar, let’s learn some simple steps on how you can get over sugar addiction naturally.
5 Simple Steps to Kick Sugar Addiction Naturally
Cutting sugar from your diet will benefit your whole body. At first, it’s going to be difficult to eliminate it completely from your diet so take small steps. But, once you hold the pace, there is no looking back.
According to Naturopath diabetes specialist Jody Stanislaw, whenever your body craves sugar, try drinking a glass of water first. As dehydration is a common cause of hunger, your craving might reduce after water consumption.
Besides drinking water, you can also try these five steps to reduce your sugar intake:
Keep Healthy Snack Handy
Snacking has become a part of our life. Whenever we get bored, we start snacking, and in most cases, it’s something high in carbohydrates and sugar. The best way to get over this habit is by trying healthy alternatives to unhealthy snacks and food.
Dr. Stanislaw says, “There are so many wonderful low-carb replacements now for high-carb foods. Pizza crust that’s made out of cauliflower; pasta can be made out of zucchini noodles; and—I love cookies—so I make chocolate chip cookies out of almond flour and stevia as my sweetener. There are so many great ones out there. ”
For a more flavorful snack, try this Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe.
Substitute Sweet With Savory
Another way to cut down on sugar is by replacing your sugary snacks with savory ones. This means, instead of chocolate and cookies, go for nuts (but not peanuts!) and seeds. Not only are they rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but they also reduce your sugar cravings.
Eat Probiotics and Sour Food
Probiotics, contained in foods such as yogurt, can fight and reduce Candida (a type of fungal infection) from your body. When you consume a high amount of carbohydrates and added sugar, it results in Candida overgrowth. Eventually, your blood sugar rises and converts the Candida into a pathogenic form.
Since probiotics can help treat Candida, you can add food like kefir, fermented vegetables (kimchi), and apple cider vinegar into your diet to improve your gut health and reduce sugar cravings.
This Kimchi Braised Chicken is a great way to add more probiotics to your meal.
Food and Life Modifications
Dr. Joseph Mercola, a family physician, author, and recipient of several awards in natural health, recommends making lifestyle modifications to keep blood sugar levels normal. He suggests trying an organic diet with unprocessed foods.
Dr. Mercola also recommends reducing fructose corn syrup, which is a predominant sweetener in sodas and soft drinks, and engaging in regular exercise.
Eat Food With Natural Sugar
Whenever you get sugar cravings, satisfy the sweet tooth with 2-3 servings of fresh fruit daily. You can also try out other natural alternatives like dried fruit, rolled dates, raw honey, and coconut nectar. Although it will seem tough to adapt at first, eventually, you will get used to it.
Are There Downsides to Cutting Down on Sugar?
Cutting down on sugar has a similar effect on your brain and body as stopping addictive drugswhich means your body may respond differently during the initial days.
It may cause some physical and mental problems. You may face depression, anxiety, cognitive issues, sleep issues, cravings, and headaches, or you may feel physically down.
The intensity or severity of these symptoms will depend on how much sugar you consumed earlier. But, as you get habituated, the withdrawal symptoms will lessen.
Sustainable Ways to Lower Sugar Intake
Some other sustainable ways to reduce sugar intake are:
- Decrease alcohol consumption
- Go through product labels to know the amount of sugar in the food you are eating.
- Watch your portion size.
- Try an unsweetened version of sweet products.
- Brush your teeth after dinner to cut down on dessert cravings
That’s it. Hopefully, now you know what happens when you stop eating sugar for 14 days. Before you start any detox diet, make sure to talk to your healthcare professional about the same.
. American Heart Association. (nd). How much sugar is too much? Retrieved October 2, 2022, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/how-much-sugar-is-too-much#
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