Halloween may be over, but the sugary treats remain. We know that even adults like to indulge in candy too!
However, too much sugar can wreak havoc on the body. Diets high in sugar can result in a number of significant, detrimental effects on your health. Here are just a few of the harmful effects too much sugar can have on the body:
- It is a leading contributor to obesity
- It is highly inflammatory, which contributes to the development of pain and chronic disease
- It stresses the liver, and can contribute to fatty liver disease
- It significantly increases the risk of insulin resistance, which leads to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes
- It contributes to tooth decay and is harmful for dental hygiene
- It raises harmful cholesterol, and contributes to heart disease
- It causes crashes in energy, that can lead to headaches and sluggishness
- It is highly addictive, due to the dopamine release in the brain
While sugar is harmful to your health, there is also no shame in indulging in a sweet treat once in a while. Moderation helps you enjoy life, and keeps overindulgences from occurring regularly. However, if you feel like you have overindulged on the sugar, you can hit the reset button with this sugar detox.
By “sugar detox,” we don’t mean a juice fast, or a restrictive diet that leaves you hungry and feeling deprived. Follow these simple steps for a few days help reset your digestion, and get you back on track to feel energized and refreshed, instead of sluggish and tired.
Get rid of all added sugar. Cut out all candy, cookies, soft drinks, juice, baked goods, or any processed food with added sugar for 3 days.
Drink lots of water! We all know how important hydration is for our cell function, energy levels, and overall health. Sip on water all day (aim for at least 64 fluid ounces,) and add lemon or herbs to your water to make it even tastier to drink! Proper hydration decreases bloating, and helps flush out toxins. Stick to pure water (still or sparkling) and unsweetened tea only, and make sure you aren’t drinking any sugar during the day in drinks such as soft drinks or juice.
Eat protein, healthy fats, and veggies at every meal. Protein and healthy fats keep your blood sugar stable, (no more spikes and crashes!) and it keeps you full and satiated. Low sugar, high fiber veggies provide you with needed vitamins and minerals, nutrients, and hydration that nourishes your whole body. Don’t forget to get in your omega-3s, which are excellent for heart health and for your mood.
When you eat fruit, eat it with a source of healthy fat and protein. In order to stabilize your blood sugar, eat a fruit with something like nut butter or a handful of raw, soaked nuts and seeds, which helps balance and regulate the absorption of glucose, keeping you fuller longer and your energy sustained.
Here’s a days worth of meal ideas to get you started:
Breakfast: Hot steel cut oats cooked in water or almond milk, topped with blueberries, cinnamon, and a tablespoon of all natural almond butter
Lunch: Baby kale and arugula salad with avocado, grilled chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, quinoa, shredded basil, and olive oil + balsamic vinegar dressing
Snack: A banana with a tablespoon of all natural peanut butter
Dinner: A filet of roasted salmon with a steamed sweet potato, and roasted asparagus
Dessert: Frozen mixed berries
In general, even after your reset, make sure to keep the amount of sugar eaten to a minimum, as it does a lot more harm than good to your body. Follow a diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins in combination with regular exercise, to keep you looking and feeling at your best. And remember, don’t guilt yourself over enjoying a treat or two! It’s all about moderation and balance, so that your life can be the healthiest and happiest it can be.
Author: Maggie Harriman