Deciding to do a longer detox or adopting a prolonged low-sugar or no-sugar diet (after speaking with your healthcare provider first) could help you improve your health beyond simply targeting sugar. You may realize that you finally need to correct other lifestyle choices that cause fatigue, like poor sleep hygiene, or even take a look at your hormone levels in a screening with your doctor.
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Tara Bellucci is a lifestyle writer and marketing consultant focused on helping entrepreneurs boost their small businesses. Her work has appeared on Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, and Boston.com. A co-founder of the Boston Food Swap, she hosts monthly events where people swap homemade and homegrown food. She writes openly about her health journey at MindMouthMantra.com.
There are different detox regimens, some harsher than others. Most of them are very-low-calorie liquid diets. Some detox plans aim to clean you out with the use of fiber supplements, enemas, or herbal teas that act as laxatives. And some plans have you fast for a few days, after which you gradually add back food. There’s no shortage of detox plans, either, so you can take your pick. Just Google “detox diet.” Or, check yourself into a spa and get pampered while you purge your system of bad things (of course, be prepared to pay a hefty sum, too.).
As with most detoxes, it gets worse before it gets better. I had intense gluten withdrawal, which caused headaches, irritability, and the craziest cravings I had ever experienced. I felt like I would die (or someone in my immediate vicinity might) if I didn’t immediately eat a pizza-pasta-bread sandwich. Thankfully, it passed in a couple of days, and the other side saw a lifting of “brain fog” that I didn’t even know I had. So much energy! Such clarity! It felt pretty great.
Week four defines the maintenance part of the plan – though intentional indulgences are allowed, such as ice cream or a piece of cake at a birthday party. “Because the addictive behavior is gone, having ice cream once or twice will not send you back to square one,” Alpert said. Additionally, no fruit is off-limits once you’ve completed the 31 days.
Eating too much sugar may be the most apparent dietary faux pas you can make — after all, your body immediately feels the after effects of a sugar rush, and the inevitable dreaded crash that follows. Over time, however, your body may become accustomed to the copious amounts of sugar you consume, maybe without you even realizing it; added sugar has a funny way of sneaking into everyday items that you don't even associate with being sweet. And since items high in added sugar are often lacking nutrients, eating sugary foods can often lead to uncontrolled weight gain over time. Before you know it, you may be unconsciously reaching for sugary sweet treats at the end of every meal (even if you are full!) as a love of sweets turns into an unhealthy sugar habit and extra pounds.