One of the most popular detoxes going around over the last couple of years is the Sugar-Free Detox sometimes known as the Sugar-Free diet.
But what exactly does it mean to go ‘sugar-free’ and why are so many people signing up for it?
First, the not-so-sweet truth. We are literally making ourselves sick consuming too much hidden sugar. Our addiction to sugar and carbohydrates (sugar is a carbohydrate) is robbing us of our health.
While we need to eat some sugar as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet (it is after all one of the body’s main energy sources) too much sugar, hidden sugar especially, can lead to health problems.
What is hidden sugar?
Hidden sugar is sugar that is hidden in processed foods and drinks such as tomato sauce, reconstituted fruit juices, pasta and confectionary. A 600 ml bottle of Coca Cola contains 16 teaspoons of sugar alone. It’s enough to stop your heart just thinking about it!
Here are some other examples of foods and drinks that have hidden sugar and offer little to no nutritional value are:
danish pastry = 4 tsps of sugar
chocolate: 50g = 7 tsps of sugar
boiled sweets: 1 sweet – 1 tsp of sugar
soft drinks: 375 ml = 10 tsps of sugar
sports drinks: 375 ml = 7 tsps of sugar
An increasing number of health problems have been associated with consuming too much hidden sugar. These are:
- tooth decay
- heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
HOW MUCH SUGAR IS TOO MUCH?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a new guideline strongly recommending that we reduce our ‘free sugar’ intake to be no more than 10% of our total kilojoule intake. WHO defines free sugar as sugar added to foods and drinks by manufacturers, cooks and food producers including those found naturally in honey, syrups and fruit juices but doesn’t include sugars found in fresh fruit, vegetables and milk. This new guideline is based on evidence that keeping consumption of free sugars below 10% of total energy intake reduces the risk of health problems.
DETOXING FROM SUGAR
A sugar detox is more than just trying to avoid adding white sugar to your tea and coffee. It means actively reducing the consumption of refined sugar in food and drinks, particularly processed foods that contain high amounts of hidden sugar.
We all know that sugar is addictive and our bodies crave the taste of sweetness. The sugar detox helps you reverse this habit so that your body learns not to crave it. By doing a sugar detox, like the popular I Quit Sugar 8-week detox program championed by Australian TV journalist and health guru Sarah Wilson, you are actively reducing sugar cravings so that overall, even once you finish the detox, you crave sugar less.
As a result of reducing sugar intake (and processed foods) your health improves. Health benefits include:
- increased energy
- weight loss
- clearer skin
- better sleep
- improved moods
- lower risk of illness
- enhanced mental clarity
- improved dental health
5 TIPS FOR REDUCING SUGAR IN YOUR DIET
If you don’t want to lock yourself into doing a ‘serious’ detox, but still want to reduce your sugar intake, here are our tips:
1. Drink lots of water and avoid sugary drinks, cordial and sports drinks
2. When shopping, purchase fruit and vegetables, lean meat, chicken fish and dairy and avoid processed foods.
3. Always check the sugar amounts on food labels.
4. Replace sugary and processed snacks with activated nuts, unsalted nuts, pepita seeds or yoghurt
5. Avoid adding sugar to cereal, tea, coffee and when cooking and choose natural alternatives if you must.
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