You may believe that cutting out all sugar entirely from your diet is the best solution. Sassos, however, says this isn't the case for those with years of unhealthy sugar habits under their belt: Simply cutting out sugar or cycling through compensatory behaviors (like "running it off" after eating third helpings of dessert) can lead to even more unhealthy eating patterns down the line. Whether you like to call it a detox or think of it more like a "reset," she argues a long term lifestyle change is the surest way to kick the bad habit.
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.
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It’s not a surprise that New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on losing weight, getting healthier, and feeling better. And like most people, you want the weight off yesterday and you want to feel better now! So, even though, deep inside, you know that the smart, sensible way to lose weight and gain more energy is by taking it slow and steady, some of those quick weight-loss plans seem pretty tempting. Maybe what’s caught your attention is a “detox” diet. What can it hurt, you ask?
Understand the general principles of diabetic dieting to better determine what requirements a detox plan must satisfy before being sound for diabetics. According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetics regulate their blood sugar levels through diet by controlling both the quantity and type of carbohydrate consumed, with slower digesting carbohydrates being preferable as they impact blood sugar levels less significantly. These slow-digesting carbs consist mainly of fruits and vegetables, making these staple items in any diabetic diet.
Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, a registered dietitian within the Good Housekeeping Institute, explains that excessive sugar can spike your blood sugar levels... and then turn into a sudden drop off afterwards. This is why you may feel super fatigued in the moment, or push through a huge mood swing, in any given afternoon. Over the long run, however, eating too much sugar can greatly influence your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, chronic dietary inflammation, and severe fatigue, among other physical risks. "There's a ripple effect on your body, as it can get accustomed to lots of sugar," she adds, citing habits like a daily office donut or sugary sweet coffee drink. "Over time, it becomes this difficult thing to decipher: Am I addicted to this, did I train my body to crave this food?"
Frontload your meals with protein and fiber: This is crucial if you've managed to eat or drink too much sugar early in the day. Protein and fiber, when paired with a carbohydrate of choice, can stabilize your blood sugar and help you avoid that dreaded crash. Be sure to choose snacks and meals that are high in fiber and protein naturally: hard-boiled eggs, for one, or even a small omelette; a handful of nuts at your desk; an apple with peanut butter, or even some crudité and hummus.
Dr. Hyman’s research made sense to me, so I thought I’d give his diet a try. With little less than a month until my follow-up doctor’s appointment, I wanted to jumpstart my progress. I read his 10-Day Detox Diet, which cuts out not only the inflammation triggers of gluten, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol, but also all grains, most fruit, legumes, and starchy vegetables, to help maintain balanced blood sugar levels. I welcomed the return of humanely-produced lean protein and an almost laughable amount of healthy fats — nearly 20 g per meal — which was absolutely shocking to someone who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, when fat was the enemy. Could this really produce results? I was about to find out.