Should You Start a Sugar Fast?
If you've been diagnosed with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, you know that cutting the sugar in your diet can really improve your health. But you don't need a diagnosis to benefit from a sugar fast.
What is a Sugar Fast?
Sugar fasts mean different things to different people. Some like to eat only low glycemic foods for a period of time, while others strike almost all dietary sugar from their intake.
The glycemic diet is the most common and least painful form of sugar fasting. It provides a balanced variety of foods with low sugar content, but allows healthy carbs in the form of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
The Benefits of Sugar Fasting
Metabolic syndrome, a combination of medical conditions caused by chronically high glucose levels, can be improved by eating a low-sugar weight loss diet. By controlling metabolic syndrome, you can decrease your chances of developing heart disease.
Some individuals credit sugar fasts for reducing their insulin resistance and bringing their blood sugar under control. Many women find relief from polycystic ovary syndrome after cutting sugar from their diets.
Some other benefits of sugar fasts include reduced hunger, fewer sweet cravings, higher energy levels, and rapid weight loss.
The Perils of Sugar Fasting
Most people feel much better after completing a sugar fast. There are a few symptoms to watch out for, though.
When you begin, your sugar cravings will be at an all-time high. As your body adjusts to the lower level of sugar, you might experience fatigue, headaches, or irritability. These symptoms typically disappear by the third day of the sugar fast.
Some people, such as insulin-dependent diabetics, need to consult a doctor before starting a sugar fast. Cutting too much sugar from the diet could result in dangerously low glucose levels for these individuals.
Foods to Avoid
During your fast, you will want to avoid all sugary sweets and refined carbohydrates like white bread. That includes crackers, tortillas, or any product made from white flour. Very sugary fruits, like bananas, should also be avoided as these are common mistakes that make you fat.
Read labels carefully to weed out hidden sugars. Any ingredient ending in "-ose", like dextrose or fructose, can potentially raise your glucose level and undo your hard work. Corn syrup is another sugary addition to many snacks.
Instead of drinking fruit juices, eat low-glycemic fruits like cantaloupe and berries. You will get a much smaller dose of sugar, along with extra fiber to keep your glucose stable.
How Long Should You Fast?
While short-term sugar fasts can break a sugar addiction, going low-glycemic for life can bring major health benefits. Make changes you can live with, that don't leave you feeling too deprived.
If you have a sweet craving, use a natural sweetener like stevia. It will add sweetness to your food without raising your blood sugar level. And remember, after a few days without sugary treats, your cravings will dramatically decrease.
Ready, Set, Fast!
If you decide to start a sugar fast, weigh and measure yourself on the first morning. You will lose an amazing amount of water weight and inches during your fast, simply because you're giving up many foods that make you bloated.
Over time, your stable blood sugar levels will encourage your body to let go of its fat stores, resulting in a trimmer you!
You can find a list of low glycemic foods online. The popular South Beach diet is made up of low glycemic foods, and Phase 1 of the diet is designed to act like a sugar fast.
In general, you'll need to shop for plenty of lean meats and a variety of low-glycemic berries. Add low-fat cheese, milk, and yogurt (sugar free!) for calcium.
Your carbohydrates will mostly come from whole grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and bulky green vegetables. Nuts of all sorts make great snacks during a sugar fast.
Whether you reduce your sugar intake for a week or for life, your body will thank you for clearing out the rubbish and replacing it with nourishing fuel.