{Real Food} Sugar Detox

Sugar Detox


The first time I made an attempt to drastically change my diet by cutting out sugar and processed foods, I was really surprised by the severity of the physical symptoms. I knew that I was addicted to sugar, and that I would have a long mental battle. However, I didn’t realize that my physical body was addicted to sugar as well.

So, I want you to be prepared-forewarned is forearmed. Especially if you have been eating a SAD (standard American diet) diet, you will likely experience physical withdrawal/detox symptoms in addition to the emotional battle.

The good news is…the battle is more than worth it! I have read testimony after testimony of the ways that people’s lives and health has been changed by eating clean and eating real, whole foods, and cutting out refined sugars. I’ve experienced a lot of it myself.

Symptoms to Expect {the bad}

Sugar really messes with your body, both physically and mentally. It can be an addiction and when you quit sugar and processed foods, you are likely to experience some detox/withdrawal type symptoms. For me, it tends to be really bad, but different people can experience different symptoms and to varying degrees.

Detox/Withdrawal Symptoms to expect:

  • Migraines or severe headaches
  • Fatigue, weakness, lack of energy
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia

In addition to these things, when I first start eating real food only after having a diet heavy in carbs and sugars, I usually feel hungry all the time at first.

Some people experience these symptoms only mildly and for the first day or 2, while others (such as myself) experience them more severely and for a longer period of time.

Unless you’re already eating very, very well and living a very healthy lifestyle, you’ll likely experience some level of detox or withdrawal symptoms if you quit sugar and processed foods completely.

Please don’t be discouraged. I am not telling you about these things in order to make you scared, but so that you can go into it prepared. The good thing is this–the negative symptoms don’t last forever. In fact, within a few days (or maybe a couple weeks), those negative symptoms should give way to positive ones.

Did you notice that? The bad symptoms last for a little while, but are followed by good ones.

The symptoms of sugar are exactly the opposite.

{Be sure to watch for tomorrow’s post as I will be sharing some practical things you can do to lessen the severity of detox symptoms, or get through them}

The Consequences of Sugar Consumption {the ugly}

Sugar has virtually no positive effects except for a few sweet minutes.

Sugar tastes good at the time, but the results aren’t so sweet. Because after I’ve eaten something sweet to celebrate something or take the edge off a bad day, I’m left feeling the effects of that sugar, and those consequences last far longer than the few minutes it took to enjoy the slice of cake.

Sugar may taste sweet, but it’s followed by bitter, bitter consequences. And I want you to remember that as you try to break the hold that food has over you. So, I discussed some of the negative things to expect during the detox period, but let’s remember some of the negative symptoms of eating too much sugar:

  • obesity
  • weight gain
  • bloating
  • addiction/dependence
  • brain fog
  • headaches
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • Increased depression
  • Moodiness/Irritability
  • Cravings
  • Diabetes/unstable blood sugar levels
  • Dental problems–tooth decay, etc.
  • hyperactivity and poor attention (i.e. symptoms similar to ADHD, or aggravated/worsened ADHD)
  • can block absorption of key nutrients
  • can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • can increase cancer risk
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease

The list is much longer, and these symptoms don’t go away. If you’re interested, you can find even more at this link–> 146 negative effects of sugar on your health. Yes, 146!

Refined sugar is pretty much one of the worst things you can put in your body and most Americans today consume about 3-5x the maximum recommended amount! In 1822, the average sugar consumption was 9 grams per day. Now it is 153 grams per day!

The detox symptoms will go away once the sugar is out of your system. The negative effects from eating too much sugar will just keep on and on. They will never go away.

The Symptoms of a Successful Sugar Detox {The Good}

Things that are easy rarely have good results. Forbidden fruit is tasty and pleasing for a short moment but it’s followed by harsh, long-lasting consequences. And sugar is like that.

The encouragement is this. There are also some symptoms you can expect from a successful sugar detox:

  • Weightloss
  • Increased Energy
  • Better Sleep
  • Less heartburn
  • Better heart health
  • Mood stability–including less depression, anxiety, and irritability
  • more stabilized blood glucose levels, reduced diabetes medication (for some people)
  • clearer skin
  • Many chronic illnesses are helped when you limit sugar
  • decreased joint pain
  • Better immune system
  • Less food cravings
  • Better overall health
  • FREEDOM from the sugar addiction.

These are actual things reported from people who have quit sugar. Read more here, here, and here,

It’s worth it. It is so very worth it. 

PS–I’d love to have you join in the 40 day sugar fast! It starts Monday, and you can get support and encouragement from the facebook group here.




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