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Sugar Detox: Symptoms, Withdrawal Side Effects, and How to Manage Them

The first step

Sugar is responsible for a number of medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sugar depletes your energy and can contribute to depression.

Removing sugar from your diet can make you feel better and can decrease your health risks.


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Sugar Detox: Symptoms, Withdrawal Side Effects, and How to Manage Them

Sugar Detox: Symptoms, Withdrawal Side Effects, and How to Manage Them


Key Ideas

The first step

Sugar is responsible for a number of medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sugar depletes your energy and can contribute to depression.

Removing sugar from your diet can make you feel better and can decrease your health risks.

You can feel lousy

Sugar is as addictive as nicotine, cocaine, and morphine. Sugar leads to a rush similar to injecting heroin. It leads to a vicious cycle of cravings for more sugar to feel good.  

Stopping your sugar intake could result in withdrawal symptoms - at least at first.

Symptoms of sugar withdrawal

A sugar detox can cause unpleasant physical and mental symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can last up to two weeks. Sugar cravings can be worse in between meals or when you feel stressed. 

Physical withdrawal symptoms include light-headedness, nausea, tingling and fatigue.

Mental symptoms

  • Depression is a common sugar withdrawal symptom. 
  • Anxiety. You may feel like you have less patience than usual and are on edge.
  • Changes in sleep patterns. You might find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep.
  • Cognitive issues. You may find it difficult to concentrate and can forget things.
  • Cravings. You may find yourself craving sugar and carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and potato chips.
  • Tips to overcome side effects

    • Quit cold turkey. This includes prepackaged foods, sweetened beverages and white flour.
    • Eat more protein. Protein will help you avoid hunger.

    • Increase your dietary fiber to help you control your blood sugar.

    • Drink more water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. Water also helps keep you regular.

    • Avoid artificial sweeteners as it encourages sugar cravings.

    • Manage your stress to keep cravings under control.

    • Exercise increases energy and reduces stress.

    • Drink some greens. It is found to decrease sweet cravings from day one.

    • Get enough sleep.

    • Eat something bitter. Bitter foods like coffee, arugula or broccoli raab shuts down the receptors in the brain that makes us crave sugar.

    We all slip up

    Don't beat yourself up when you slip up. 

    Write down why you want to quit sugar. Remind yourself every time you feel yourself slipping.

    If you slip up, use it as a learning experience and start again. Make sure to avoid the same trap next time.


    Fasting Ketosis

    In addition to eating a high-fat diet and limiting carbohydrates, the metabolic, fat-burning state of ketosis can be induced by fasting.

    Fasting can help your body burn fatty acids ins...

    Common Side Effects of Fasting Ketosis
    • Water flushing
    • Fatigue
    • Hunger and sugar cravings
    • Keto breath
    • Digestive concerns
    • Muscle cramps
    • Less energy
    • Heart palpitations
    • Ketosis flu
    How to Deal With Fasting Ketosis Symptoms
    • Get enough sleep
    • Work on reducing stress as much as possible.
    • When combining intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet, eat enough calories during your eating periods.
    • Stay hydrated
    • Increase salt intake
    • Eat mineral-rich foods
    • Supplement with magnesium
    • Take exogenous ketones
    • General self-care

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    ... is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in ...
    Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
    • Weight Loss.
    • Keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels due to the type of foods you eat.
    • Mental Focus: Ketones are a great source of fuel for the brain.
    • Increased Energy & Normalized Hunger: Fats are shown to be the most effective molecule to burn as fuel.
    • Epilepsy: Keto diet has been used since the early 1900’s to treat epilepsy successfully.
    • Cholesterol & Blood Pressure: shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup.
    • Insulin Resistance.
    • Improvements in your skin health.
    Do Not Eat on a Keto Diet
    • Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
    • Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
    • Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
    • Tubers – potato, yams, etc.

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    Cravings can be conquered

    Cravings for sweets things may increase as you start a sugar detox. If you persist, the battle will be won in about a week.

    Deprivation tastes better with friends

    If you're going to give up sugar, find some friends to detox with you. Keep each other accountable and celebrate healthy choices together.

    Strange side effects

    Side effects that you might not have considered at first includes a fuzzy head, memory loss, sleep problems and some irritability.

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    Detox and Its Limitations
    Detox and Its Limitations

    Detox diets are generally short-term dietary interventions designed to eliminate toxins from your body.

    A typical detox diet involves a period of fasting, followed by a str...

    Most Common Ways to Detox
    • Fasting for 1–3 days.
    • Drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, water, and tea.
    • Drinking only specific liquids, such as salted water or lemon juice.
    • Eliminating foods high in heavy metals, contaminants, and allergens.
    • Taking supplements or herbs.
    • Avoiding all allergenic foods, then slowly reintroducing them.
    • Using laxatives, colon cleanses, or enemas.
    • Exercising regularly.
    • Completely eliminating alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, and refined sugar.
    The Lack Of Evidence For Detox Diets Success

    Detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they aim to remove. The mechanisms by which they work are also unclear.

    There is little to no evidence that detox diets remove any toxins from your body. However, your body can clear itself of most toxins through the liver, feces, urine, and sweat.

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    Celery is not a miracle cure
    Celery is not a miracle cure

    Phytochemicals in celery can help reduce blood pressure and inflammation, as well as the fight against oxidative stress. You can reap these benefits from celery whether you eat it whole or juice it...

    Celery juice lacks fiber

    When celery is juiced, the fiber is removed, and fiber provides a wealth of benefits, including sparking weight loss, helping with balancing blood sugar levels, and more.

    Sleep deprivation
    Sleep deprivation

    Willpower, memory, judgement, and attention all suffer when you are sleep deprived.

    You drop things, crave junk food sugar, overeat, gain weight. You’re more irritable, negative, emotio...

    Get through sleep deprivation:
    • Stabilize your blood sugar, by eating hearty food (protein and fat) more often.
    • Reduce refined carbs and increase fats and proteins.
    • B-complex vitamin supplements can give you an immediate boost in alertness and mental clarity.
    • Soak in an Epsom salt bath - might even help you get enough energy to exercise the next day.
    • Drink more water than you usually do to help compensate.
    • Exercise is the single best way to “take out the trash” in your body, and after staying up more hours than you should.
    Detoxing ≠ juicing or cleansing

    Juicing or cleansing practices** are techniques for detoxing. **

    There are dozens of different protocols you can follow to perform a detox, though not all are created equal...

    Your body's detoxing systems

    The effects of modern life — pollution, poor dietary choices, contaminants in our food and water, stress or a sedentary lifestyle — can compromise the body’s ability to effectively detox the way it’s supposed to.

    The result of this toxic internal “congestion” is that we gain weight, develop diseases and lose our natural energy and vitality.

    Tired or sick

    While it’s normal to feel somewhat fatigued during the first few days of detox, most experience more energy and sleeping better once they’ve adjusted. Mostly, detoxing shouldn't make you feel tired or sick.

    Part of the reason for this is that your body is doing less work digesting, which means you’re getting the benefit of that saved energy.

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    Detoxing to recover your health

    The toxicity in our body appears in different ways, ranging from a slow metabolism or craving for sweets or different substances to a lack of sleep and even depression. Most people have fou...

    • It is bad if you feel your system doesn't work properly without it: lack of concentration, tiredness, bad temper, headache.
    • Why should you keep it: Drinking 3 - 4 cups of black coffee a day provides the most health benefits overall, including a lower risk of several specific cancers and neurological, liver, and metabolic conditions.
    • If you’re nixing caffeine: Going cold turkey can lead to significant withdrawal symptoms like low energy, fatigue, lack of concentration, therefore a gradual reduction is suggested.
    • How bad is sugar? Sugar creates hormonal insulin swings and causing inflammation. People with a diet overloaded with sugar have poor cholesterol and are at risk of high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.
    • Can it be good? Sugar is a carb, and carbs are your body’s main energy source. That means the good kinds of sugar can be healthy.
    • If you’re cutting out sugar, remember this: You’re likely eliminating a lot of carbs, too. That can be pretty taxing on the body. Consume extra electrolytes, plenty of fluids, lots of proteins, bone broth, and soups to help with the transition.

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    Best foods don’t have labels
    Best foods don’t have labels

    Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

    There is no "best diet"

    The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

    That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

    The "Age" of vegetables
    The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

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    Artificial sweeteners

    It is commonly believed that the consume of artificial sweeteners helps reduce the intake of calories., resulting in less chances to develop a heart disease. However, there are ups and downs also ...

    The traps of the artificial sweeteners

    While artificial sweeteners can help you reduce weight and even the risk of developing a heart disease, you should consider consuming only the ones officially approved, such as saccharin or stevia. Furthermore, it is not recommended to consume extra sweets just because you are reducing the intake of sugar by consuming artificial sweeteners. One next point to be taken into account refers to the danger to consume of these products while lying to yourself that they are not the real staff, therefore you cannot possible gain weight. Well, that is not so accurate and you risk ending up with many extra pounds. Finally, the biggest threaten posed by these products is the addiction: you might realize, a bit too late, that you are too much into artificial sweeteners

    Consuming artificial sweeteners

    The moderate consumption of artificial sweeteners can lead to weight loss as well as to less chances of getting a cancer. However, there are a few risks that one should take into account when consuming these products, such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. The safest option would be to consume foods that contain sugar in their natural form, as whole fruit and as few as possible artificial sweeteners and sugar itself.