According to the American Heart Association, adults should only intake a maximum of 9 teaspoons of sugar for men and 6 teaspoons of sugar for women – each day. If you’re regularly getting more than that and are over 30, you’re probably experiencing joint pain, skin problems, excessive weight gain, and possibly even heart problems. (And those are only some of the many medical reasons to lower your sugar intake.)
Does that mean you have to completely detox from sugar, or is that kind of thing just a fad diet?
Create a Plan for Going Off Sugar
You’ve probably heard of programs like the 21-Day Sugar Detox or seen a 3-Day Sugar Detox featured on the Dr. Oz Show. Whether you detox from sugar for 3, 21, or 30 days — or simply wean yourself off most simple sugars, the crucial part is to cut back for the long haul.
If you want to escape the most intense symptoms of withdrawal — and the equally intense temptation to give in and the resulting tendency to gain weight — you might do better weaning yourself off sugars, a little at a time.
Here is a suggested weaning schedule, in case you decide to go that route:
Week 1: Phase out sugary drinks.
Whether your weak spot is soda, your favorite coffee shop beverage, sports drinks, or even fruit juice, cut those out and replace them with water.
Week 2: Eliminate desserts and sweet snacks.
You can add them back in moderation at some point, but for now, just learn to do without. You can do it, honest!
Week 3: Start reading labels.
Once you start reading food labels, you’ll realize the sad truth that many condiments and processed foods include sugar in some form. If anything you normally enjoy has more than a few grams of sugar, it has to go.
For some, major discomfort for a shorter period is easier to handle than less extreme withdrawal symptoms over a longer time frame; for others, though, the opposite may be true. Another consideration is whether you’re more of an all-out type and stand to be more successful eliminating all processed sugars at once, or if such an extreme lifestyle change usually sets you up for failure. Only you can decide what method will be best for you.
Plan To Struggle
Understanding how our bodies respond to sugar and other ingredients — as well as getting less of them — is key in the battle. Oh, yes, it is a battle. The struggle is very real. Many studies show brain scans that demonstrate the fact that our bodies (and our brains) respond to sugar in a way similar to how they respond to addictive drugs such as opiates. Along with realizing the fact that like other addictive substances, the more sugar we get, the more we crave, we should expect for our bodies to respond to not receiving sugar by going through a form of withdrawal.
In Part 2, we’ll look at some specific symptoms of withdrawal that you can overcome more easily by anticipating them.
PhysioDC of Washington, D.C. is a boutique physical therapy center which helps patients recover, strengthen, and return to healthy living after they travel or on a day-to-day lifestyle. Located in downtown Washington, D.C., PhysioDC is an excellent resource to contact for all joint and body pain. For more information on physical therapy for your body, visit PhysioDC at www.physiodc.com. PhysioDC is located in downtown D.C. at 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 330 (at the corners of K Street and Connecticut Avenue NW).