You’ve heard the list before: weight gain, higher blood sugar levels, inflammation, tooth decay, etc. But knowing sugar is bad for you and knowing how to actually STOP. EATING. SUGAR. are two different things. As it turns out, sugary lattes and spoonfuls of cake frosting (hey...we’ve all done it), are really freaking delicious.
That’s where a cold-turkey sugar detox can help. By cutting out sugar altogether for a couple of weeks, you can help reduce sugar cravings and find low-sugar foods you actually love. Because that’s easier said than done, here are our tips for a successful and not-ridiculously-miserable sugar detox:
1. Make a plan
We’re not saying you need to prep every meal, track macros, or do a Whole 30. We are saying that quitting sugar is tough, so winging it won’t cut it. Plan your detox for a time when stress and travel will be relatively low, and make a grocery list and flexible meal/ snack plan to get you through.
Think about your main sources of sugar, when your sugar cravings tend to be the strongest, and what swaps you can make to help. If you douse your coffee with sugary-hazelnut-flavored creamer every morning, stock up on Nut Pods or just plain heavy cream instead. If you always reach for a soda in the midafternoon slump, keep some sparkling waters on hand to replace them.
It may also help to write down your “whys” for your detox and some things you can do when the cravings are hitting hard (drink a glass of water, take a walk, eat a healthy snack, etc.)
2. Get tons of sleep
It’s best to plan a sugar detox for a time when you know you can get adequate sleep. Why? Poor sleep seriously messes with your blood sugar levels, making a sugar detox that much harder. So resist the urge to binge watch Bridgerton and get yourself to bed.
3. Clean out your pantry and fridge
If your favorite childhood cereal is calling your name from the pantry, will-powering your way through the detox is going to be super tough. Set yourself up for success and toss all the sugary stuff before you start. That means leftover Easter candy and that nostalgia-laden cereal have got to go.
Be sure to read labels for hidden sugars when in doubt – especially for health-washed products like granola bars, yogurt, sauces, and breads. They might be hiding way more sugar than you realize.
4. Fill up on healthy fats and protein
When you’re making that grocery list, be sure to include plenty of protein and healthy fats. They’ll help you feel full and keep blood sugar levels stable, so you’re less likely to crave sugar. Some great sources of fat are avocados, nut butters (check the label for sugar though!), grass-fed dairy, healthy oils (like coconut, olive, and avocado), and fatty fish like salmon. For protein, fill that basket with things like eggs, meat, fish, and plant-based sources like legumes.
Whatever you buy, get a variety and find some recipes that help you actually enjoy your meals!
5. Reframe and be grateful
Try to focus on all the delicious things you do get to eat on your sugar detox plan instead of the stuff you can’t eat. It might not feel authentic, but build the habit and you’ll be happier and more likely to stick with your new low-sugar diet after the detox is over.
6. Stock up on protein-packed snacks
Some cravings and crashes are unavoidable when you’re quitting sugar, so have a stockpile of sugar-free snacks that are high in protein or healthy fats to get you through. Check out some of our favorite grab-and-go high protein snacks for inspiration, and obviously we have to mention our zero-sugar jerky and meat sticks. They’re delicious enough to make that whole “gratitude” thing
7. Drink more water
Hydration is good for you in general and might help curb your cravings. Guzzle plenty of water and other yummy, hydrating drinks like tea, herbal tea, and sparkling water. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to kick a soda habit!
8. Don’t cheat with natural sugar and sugar replacements
Cutting out refined sugar is great, but if you just switch to drenching everything in honey, it’s not really a sugar detox. It’s best to cut out all sweeteners for your detox – even keto-friendly ones like stevia and erythritol. This way, you’re actually resetting your palate, breaking habits, and reducing cravings.
Need some more inspo along the way? Read up on some of the benefits of a low-sugar diet, and check out our other tips on how to quit sugar. We might be biased, but we think keeping a few delicious sugar-free jerky flavors in your pantry is pretty good inspiration too. (It’s science, right?) Stock up on Country Archer’s Zero Sugar line before you start your detox!