Sugar Detox: 4 Ways to Balance Sugar Cravings (And Why You’re Getting Them)
Can you remember how you felt the last time your body was overloaded with sugar? The lightheaded feelings of dizziness, an inability to concentrate on anything else, an almost immediate change in mood and response to stress… It’s almost like an inner monster is let loose and there’s nothing you can do to tame it. This is why I try to avoid refined sugar wherever I can. However, I know that sugar cravings are an all-too-real issue for so many, so I wanted to share 4 ways to balance sugar cravings and explain why you might be getting them.
When the body is craving sugar, it can be signaling a number of different things. It often may feel like a sweet, sugar treat is the best way around the symptoms, but it likely means the exact opposite is what our body needs.
Some of the most common things people experience when both craving and detoxing from sugar are:
- An intense thirst or dehydration. This comes from the body’s inability to correctly determine whether the signals it’s receiving are ones of thirst or hunger, and too often people then reach for a fast-acting food, when really what they’re craving is an extra glass of water.
- Afternoon energy slumps. Excess sugar impacts blood glucose levels, the fast-burning sugar that is used to regulate energy expenditure within the body. By reaching for fast-absorbed but fast-burning sources of energy, our bodies don’t have the correct nutrients to maintain a consistent level throughout the day.
- Inability to concentrate and changes in mood. Overconsumption of sugar can actually lead to changes in neurological brain function, which can lead to changes in emotional states and behaviors. Sugar has been shown to trigger chemical reactions in the brain that influence stress, anxiety, and depression. In particular, the excess of elevated glucose in the bloodstream has been linked to poor concentration.
- Lack of quality sleep. When your body develops such a strong craving for sugar, and it’s mind-altering abilities, that you’ve lost touch with your natural circadian rhythm alongside the deregulated energy levels. It sounds scary but it’s not the end of the world. But slowly easing out sugar intake and working healthy swaps into your meals, your sleeping patterns will slowly regulate and find their norm.
So what can you do to detox sugar from the body and balance those cravings once had for all? These are four simple steps you can take, starting today…
1. Hydrate & Flush It Out
Just as hydration may be one answer to what your body is truly craving in the moment, it’s also one of the best ways to flush the toxins of refined sugar out of your system. As sugar is broken down into glucose molecules, it filtrates through to the bloodstream where it’s capable of having a significant impact on the body. However, we also know that hydration is needed to keep nutrients moving through the body, and the act of ‘flushing it out’ can be extremely successful in easing the symptoms of sugar cravings as well as the stress of sugar on the body itself.
2. Include Healthy Fats & Proteins
As the human body uses sugars (glucose) as a fast-acting, fast-burning source of energy, it also needs an adequate intake of slow-acting, slow-burning source of energy for when our immediate stores get slow. Healthy fats are a great source of energy within the body, and as they take longer to break down than glucose, they help to regulate energy levels and provide a sugar-free source. As well as this, adequate and balanced protein intake is needed for stabilizing blood sugar levels. Ultimately, protein and fat slow the release of sugar from your food into your body, keeping your blood sugar stable and helping prevent those sugar cravings later on.
3. Daily Green Juices or Superfoods Powders
One of the best ways to detoxify the body from toxins, reduce specific food cravings, and bring ourselves back to a state of balance is by implementing a daily dose of greens. Green juices and superfood greens have an innate ability to assist in alkalizing the body and support flushing residual sugars out of the system. If you’re looking for a quality superfood greens powder, you can find our favorites here.
4. Use Natural Sugars Where Needed
In a healthy diet, sometimes the sweet-tooth cravings need to be honored. In fact, ancient Ayurvedic principles define sweet as a taste that needs to be included in all meals for satiety. It may not be in every meal for you (it’s not for me!) but when you do reach for something sweet, make a conscious effort to use healthy sweeteners. Instead of foods made with refined white sugars, which have been shown to have a greater negative impact on the body, opt for small amounts of sweeteners found in nature. Some of our favorites to reach for include dates, coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, stevia, or even just a fresh piece of fruit!
If you’re still looking for some sweet-but-healthy inspiration for those times where you’re craving a pick-me-up, try our three favorite sugar-free recipes to ease your sweet tooth.
For more tips and tricks to tackle the sugar cravings in your life, as well as elevating your health, join us for our February Community Challenge! In our private Facebook group, the Food Matters team will be sharing their non-negotiables for ultimate health and wellbeing.