How to Break Up with Sugar

We know that added sugars are bad for us, so why is it so hard to tackle our sweet tooth? Well, it turns out that there’s more than willpower at play. When we consume sugar, our brains get a hit of dopamine, the feel-good chemical. Dopamine is part of our internal reward system, driving us to consume more of whatever gives us pleasure. This leads to a cycle of sugar addiction that keeps us craving more. Over time, our dopamine threshold increases, requiring more and more sugar to keep us satisfied. This can cause our cravings to get more intense and make it harder for us to fight temptation.  

One way to kick the cravings is to go on a sugar detox. This is a period of time, usually a month, where you avoid all added sugars. In addition to resetting your cravings, a sugar detox can help you lower chronic inflammation, improve your energy, mental clarity, and even lose a few pounds. 

Check out these tips to help you break up with sugar:  

Focus on Foods That Fill You Up

Eating foods full of protein, vegetables, and fiber can help us feel fuller longer. When we feel full our body releases our satiety hormone, leptin. Leptin signals to our brain that we are done eating, reducing our cravings and desire to snack. Check out the recipes on the Plantable blog for ideas and inspiration on healthy meals that fill you up. 

Eat Whole Foods

Processed foods (even the “healthy” kind) are often full of hidden sugars. These sugars are used to make the food more palatable, and in turn, addictive. Even natural sources of sweetness – like maple syrup, agave, and honey – can cause harm because they are broken down in the body as sugar. Try to incorporate more whole foods in your diet and always be sure to read food labels. To learn more about hidden sugars, check out our blog on The Skinny on Hidden Sugar.

Skip the Dairy Aisle

In addition to increasing inflammation, milk is a source of natural sugar (lactose). While there can be some health benefits to dairy, it’s best to avoid it during a sugar detox. 

Swap Your Sodas

Drinks are another common source of added sugar in our diets. Sodas, juices, and many coffee shop drinks come loaded with sugar. During your detox it’s best to skip these and replace them with unsweetened teas, coffees, or water. 

Drop the Sweeteners

While sweeteners don’t technically contain sugar, they may actually result in more intense sugar cravings. That’s because artificial sweeteners are manufactured to have a higher sweetness than sugar. Our taste buds can’t tell the difference between the two, so our food reward pathway gets triggered in a big way increasing our addiction. 

In summary, giving your body (and brain) a break from the sweet stuff can go a long way towards resetting your cravings and health. Try out these tips to help you detox from sugar.  

Know what to do but don’t know where to start? Plantable’s 28-Day Reboot program makes detoxing from sugar simple. Our program offers delicious and satisfying chef-prepared ready-to-eat meals, education, and unlimited access to a personalized coach for three months, who will answer your questions and support you along the way. Transform your body and break up with sugar for good in just 28 days. Learn more about the Reboot and how you can take back control.