Sugar Detox: The Guidelines

I am not a doctor or a dietician, so please know that I am not prescribing this type of eating for anyone other than myself.  I am not an expert on eating or nutrition and barely know what works best for me. Everyone has different dietary needs and will have different results, even when eating the same foods. I’ve found what works best for me by learning from a lot of other people, not by following their exact eating patterns/plans. 

Last June I completed a two week long sugar detox that I created for myself.  By reading many different sources that discussed sugar detoxes (mainly blogs), I decided to craft my own plan.  I had been consuming sweets in the form of desserts on a daily basis and felt horrible as a result.  I felt guilty, bloated, soft, and unhealthy.

To make a long story short — I did my detox for two weeks and felt great.  I ate as much as I wanted of healthy whole foods, exercised regularly, and felt 100% better.

During the holiday season, I found myself back in the same predicament.  I haven’t just been eating sugary things at special occasions, but daily or even twice a day.  I’m ready to get back on track an even made it one of my 2012 resolutions.

My plan is simple.

When I did this detox last summer, the number one question I got was, “What do you mean you say eliminate the majority of sugar from your diet?” Some people asked if I cut out sugar completely.

That is virtually impossible to do because almost everything we eat has some form of sugar in it.  Some is naturally occurring (like fruit) and some is added, albeit unnecessarily in a lot of cases (like tomato sauce).

If you’re interested in knowing more about hidden sugars, please see a post I wrote on this topic.

I have found that both eating snacks and amping up the healthy fats I eat, help me not to eat mindlessly later on in the day — something with which I definitely struggle.

Before getting into what I don’t plan to eat, let’s focus on the positive.

What do I eat on my sugar detox plan?

Image: Grant Cochrane /

The Good List doesn’t show a complete snapshot of what I will be eating during my detox, but more of a brief overview.

Dairy actually has some naturally occurring sugars as well.  One cup of skim milk has 12 grams of sugar.  I’m more of a cottage cheese and plain yogurt eater, which has much much less sugar.  I’m not going to restrict myself from having a splash of milk in my coffee or my beloved Starbucks Misto occasionally.

Maybe I’m not very hardcore, but I have to have a plan I can live with.  And I can definitely live with this plan.

I’ve read about some detoxes that completely cut out fruit, but I don’t think life is worth living without fruit.  There’s nothing wrong with a bit of naturally occurring fructose.  The only reason I limit my fruit intake during this detox is so I don’t eat five to six pieces of fruit a day and end up with the same amount of sugar in my bloodstream as I would have eaten if I had a piece of cake.

Although, I don’t plan to use artificial sweeteners, I do not have a problem with using Stevia. I’m not going to be dumping it on everything I eat, but a little here and there won’t hurt me.

Now, let’s get to what I’m not going to be eating during this detox.

Image: Suat Eman /

The Bad List is a bit tongue in cheek.   I don’t think these things are bad in moderation, although what is moderately healthy is different for every item. I personally have an issue with sugar, while many people do not.  By cutting out these items from my diet, I have nothing left but really healthy things, which is what I want to focus on.

The last time I did this detox, I cut out protein powder.  I was using a protein powder that I got cheap and didn’t realize it was sweetened with Splenda, which I avoid.  This time around, I’m using a more natural whey protein, made from with no GMOs and  sweetened with Stevia.  A serving has 7 grams of sugar, so I might supplement my smoothies with half a serving.  I’m still a bit undecided on this one.

I’m excited to share some sugar detox friendly recipes during the month of January.  If you have any questions about why I’m doing this or that, please feel free to ask.

And if you’ve ever participated in a sugar detox, I would love to hear about your experiences.

For a complete picture of what I ate for the first week of my last sugar detox, please see this post.

What’s your sugar kryptonite?
Mine is anything seasonal because it feels “special” (i.e. candy corn, Christmas cookies, chocolate eggs, etc.).  As long as it’s in a shiny seasonal colored package, I feel like I need to partake to celebrate whatever holiday is happening.