Break the sweet addiction

Break the sweet addiction

Cutting out added sugar from your diet will help you lose those extra kilos, make your skin more radiant and help you balance your hormones naturally, writes Aakriti Arora

Are you unconsciously reaching out for a dessert at the end of every meal? Chances are, you are addicted to sugar. If you keep up with the health and fitness trends, you might have heard about detox diets. Sugar detox is the new kid on the block.

Juicing or a fasting detox may not be a good idea in the long run as restricting too many calories or avoiding food groups in totality is definitely detrimental to your body and metabolism. When one eats sugar, their body releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter associated with addictive behaviour, and it activates the opiate receptors in their brains and affects the reward centre, which is linked to compulsive behaviour. Because of this, one craves more and more sugar and gets addicted to it in the long run. Sugar is said to be 8 times more addictive than cocaine, and because of this reason, even though one knows that eating copious amounts of sugar and added sugar will make them susceptible to weight gain, diabetes, heart diseases and hormonal imbalances, they cannot simply stop.

What is this sugar detox and how can one practice it? Sugar detox is nothing but cutting down added sugar from your diet. Added sugar is found in cold drinks, sodas, tea, coffee, chocolate, flavoured yoghurt, confectioneries, biscuits, cookies etc. When on a sugar detox, one should eliminate all forms of added sugar from their diet and stick to natural sugars available in fruits and vegetables.

Everyone can benefit from this sugar detox, even kids! Cutting added sugar from your diet will help you lose those extra kilos, make your skin more radiant and help you balance your hormones naturally. Reports indicate that children, especially those who are obese, showed improved brain function along with better metabolic rate after going on a sugar detox. Once you are on a sugar detox, be prepared to experience some mental and physical symptoms. These may include irritability, a little anxiety, heightened sugar cravings, headaches, fatigue and sometimes even nausea. But don’t let these side-effects scare you off, as they only last for 2-3 days to weeks, depending upon how much the person was initially consuming added sugar in their diet.

Managing side effects

First, to manage the side effects coming from this detox, one should up their hydration game. A minimum of 4-5 litres of water will help to keep the headaches at bay. Second, increase your protein intake to manage cravings and fatigue. Third, get a minimum of 8 hrs of undisturbed sleep to help with nausea. Fourth, have lots of fruits and vegetables to feel full and get your natural sugars. Fifth, and the most important, is to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which will activate the happy centres of your brain and keep irritability at bay.

Coming to the sweetest part of this detox, pun intended, are the host of benefits you are going to get from it, within the first few days itself. Be prepared to lose a little weight with lightness in your body. Your skin is going to thank you too because it will start glowing as this detox will reduce the inflammation in your body. Your mood and energy levels will start stabilising making you more productive and your brain function will also start to improve. Hormones will be managed naturally in the long run and your mental health will improve.

Here’s a pro tip: Eat/drink something bitter, such as coffee, arugula or broccoli to prevent sugar cravings, as they act on the receptors in the brain that drive sugar intake.

(The author is a nutritionist.)

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