Sugar Detox: How to Reduce Cravings and Manage Withdrawal

The use of sugar in our culture re-sembles the use of a drug and can be treated as such. For a successful sugar detox, learn how to how reduce cravings and manage withdrawal.

| June 2012 Web

  • Sugar Detox
    Those sensitive to refined sugar or sweeteners may experience genuine symptoms of abuse and withdrawal, which can include fatigue, anxiety and irritability, depression and detachment, rapid heart rate and palpitations, and poor sleep.
    Photo By Sea Wave/Fotolia
  • In this fully updated edition of "The Detox Diet," Dr. Elson M. Haas guides readers through the detoxification process and follow-up cleansing programs for those struggling with addictions to sugar, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
    Photo Courtesy Ten Speed Press

  • Sugar Detox

In The Detox Diet, 3rd Edition: The Definitive Guide for Lifelong Vitality with Recipes, Menus, and Detox Plans (Ten Speed Press, 2012), Dr. Elson M. Haas offers a variety of fasting and juice-cleansing options, fifty deliciously satisfying follow-up recipes, and specially designed menu plans to help you safely and effectively detox your body, whether you’re struggling with sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or common chemical sensitivities. In this excerpt from chapter 10, “Sugar Detoxification,” Haas discusses ways to reduce sugar cravings and replace sugary foods in your diet with healthier ones. 

Sugar Detox

Although sugar addiction is common, sugar withdrawal is usually physically mild, with periodic strong cravings. Emotional attachments and withdrawals may be more pronounced. For those who are sensitive to refined sugar or sweeteners, or who consume them in large amounts, genuine symptoms of abuse and withdrawal may occur. Some of these symptoms include fatigue, anxiety and irritability, depression and detachment, rapid heart rate and palpitations, and poor sleep. Most symptoms, if they do occur, last only a few days.

We can decide to cut down on or eliminate sugar quite easily by simply avoiding many of the sweet foods. There are plenty of nutritious nibbles to replace sugary snacks or treats—see below for suggestions. We should clear our cupboards of unhealthy sweetened foods. Once sugar has been removed from the diet, it is still possible to use it once in a while, as it is not as readdicting as many stronger drugs. Most people who have kicked the sugar habit find that they no longer tolerate sugar very well.

A diet that is rich in whole grains and other complex carbohydrates, vegetables, and protein foods can also help stabilize blood sugar and minimize the desire for sugar. Many people who are protein deficient seem to crave sugars and carbohydrate foods. Conversely, eating a diet that focuses on protein and vegetables is a good way to minimize sugar cravings. If you don’t tolerate sugars and sweet foods well, fruits should also be minimized and fruit juice avoided.

Supplements and Sugar

Nutrients that can help reduce sugar cravings and the symptoms of sugar withdrawal are the B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, the trace mineral chromium, and the amino acid L-glutamine. Chromium is a cofactor in helping insulin work more efficiently in removing sugar from the blood and nourishing the cells. L-glutamine, which can be used directly as a fuel source in the body and brain, is also helpful in reducing sugar (and alcohol) cravings.

Children can also benefit from a nutritional supplement program that includes some of the above-mentioned nutrients, of course in lower amounts than for adults. Use of a good quality children’s multiple vitamin-mineral, additional B vitamins to support the nervous system and general development, vitamin C at about 250 mg twice daily, and extra chromium (50 to 100 mcg one to two times daily) all help minimize sugar cravings and the transition from sugar and sweetened foods. The supplement plan applies to children ages six to eleven; amounts may vary depending on the age and size of each child. These vitamins are water soluble and basically nontoxic. However, if your child has a special problem or is below the age of six, you should check with your pediatrician or health-care provider for specific recommendations.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Get the latest on Healthy Living and Natural Beauty!

Mother Earth LivingRedefine beauty and embrace holistic living with Mother Earth Living by your side. Each issue  provides you with easy, hands-on ways to connect your life with the natural world -- from eating seasonally to culinary and medicinal uses of herbs; from aromatherapy and DIY cosmetics to yoga and beyond. Start your journey to holistic living today and you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter