A sugar detox enables you to make better food choices
Ever feel like you can't stop eating sugar no matter how hard you try? Having a sugar addiction can sabotage your fitness goals as well as your overall health.
Refined sugar contributes to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Two out of every three Americans is overweight. Consuming too many calories from sugar is one of the main reasons this number continues to rise.
Fortunately, a sugar detox done correctly can rid you of this addiction and enable you to start making better food choices.
Step 1: Cut out all added sugars.
This is a long list but includes most condiments, sodas, fruit drinks, processed dairy products, processed grains, pasta sauce, jams, white starches, honey, agave and even artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame.
These refined sugars are high in calories but low in nutrients. Their simple carbohydrate content gives you a false sense of energy while spiking blood sugar levels -- only to have you craving more sugars a short time later. Learn to identify all the different forms of sugar on ingredient labels so you're not unknowingly eating hidden sugars. Ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, cane juice, nectars, lactose and sucrose should be avoided during the detox.
Step 2: Eat ample amounts of low-glycemic foods.
This includes plenty of green vegetables, so adding salads to your menu during your detox is a great option. You can also steam veggies or even roast them for a bit more flavor. Ensure you're getting plenty of natural protein sources such as fish, poultry, legumes and lentils. And don't skimp on healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, seeds, nuts and olive oil. Fruits in moderation are OK, but don't consume more than one serving at a time and aim for a wide variety. In addition, increase your water intake so you're making a trip to the bathroom every hour.
Step 3: Embrace your new diet while forming long-term habits.
After about a month, you can ease up a bit but don't just fall back into your old sugary habits. Continue to avoid or limit added sugars and instead focus on natural foods such as lean meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and natural oils.
At this point you can reintroduce a few starchy carbs such as rice, potatoes and quinoa but limit your serving size. If eating a carbohydrate, always include a protein and a fat along with it.
A diet centered around nutrient-dense foods is more likely to satisfy so you don't reach for those sugary alternatives.
So if sugar seems to control your life, it may be time to give this sugar detox an honest try.
For a complete list of all the foods to avoid, visit PushFitnessTraining.com for links to our blog and social media resources.
• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.