By Amy Inman-Felton RDN

Health and Wellness Contributing Editor

3 Minute Read

Detox from Sugars

If you are contemplating one dietary change, consider focusing on sugar. Reducing intake of sugar overall may have the most significant impact on improving your health in 2019.

Here is why.

Higher intake of sugar is a key culprit for many chronic inflammatory conditions including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer’s.1 Proinflammatory effects of sugar are associated with premature aging, yes- wrinkles (no thank you).

Take note – sugar is also addictive.2

The American Heart Association recommends using foods with added sugars sparingly, if at all
Women: 6 teaspoons daily (or 24 g of added sugar or 100 kilocalories)*
Men: 9 teaspoons daily (36 g of added sugar or 150 kilocalories)*
*1 teaspoon provides 4 g of sugar (16 kilocalories)

*1 teaspoon provides 4 g of sugar (16 kilocalories)

The average person now consumes a whopping 32 teaspoons (126.4 g) of added sugar a day- quadruple the AHA recommendations while providing a significant source of calories.3,4

This one little modification in your diet might be the trick to help boost stubborn weight loss.

Exploring added sugar in foods, beverages, and mixed drinks might surprise you. Check out the foods, and beverages below. How easily (and quickly) sugar adds up during the holidays. Most of these foods per serving exceed the recommendation by 150 to 200%.

SizeFood and BeverageSugarsTSP%Target Goal
16ozCaramel Frappuccino - Grande66g13205%
7ozLow Fat Yogurt (fruit)47g12156%
12ozStarbucks Peppermint Mocha40g10136%
MedCorner Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie28g793%
8ozHorizon Chocolate Milk28g793%
8ozFruit Juice (Orange)22g673%
1Trader Joe’s Blueberry Cereal Bar16g453%
8ozNestle Tool House Cookies14g346%
TBSPNestle Tool House Cookies11g446%
% Target is based on the average for women and men (30g/day)
How do you jump-start your sugar detox? Here are five ways to begin:

Check food labels. Get familiar where added sugars are sneaking in your diet. There are over 50 names for sugar [see here]. 5 Pay attention to the ingredient list on labels. If the first three ingredients are sugar or derivative the item likely should be set aside or go goodbye.

Solution: Many ingredients use terms to disguise sugar. Look for sucrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar or syrup (which is 70 to 90% fructose), beet sugar, coconut sugar – to name a few. 5

Limit or avoid pre-packaged foods. Processed food items including – cookies, cakes, pastries, candy, M&Ms (as in our house). Low-fat food products often use sugar to replace the fat in the ingredient lists.

Solution: Remove the cookie or snack jar from accessible reach. Clean out your pantry or don’t purchase and keep in your house. Replace with healthy whole-fruits as a natural nutrient-rich alternative.

Pay attention to beverages and drinks. Particularly alcoholic mixed drinks, specialty coffee drinks or teas made with added syrups, sports drinks, fruit juices, and flavored waters, and teas. Fruit juices – even made from concentrate as 100% juice still provide a significant sugar source/serving.6

Solution: Opt for the fresh fruit (plant-based) version rather than fruit juice where the natural form of fructose provides fiber plus vitamin and minerals.6 Squeeze your own from the natural fruit. Try drinking beverages without added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Note skinny version means low in fat- not low sugar.

Beware of breakfast foods. Hefty amounts of added sugars are found in ready-to-eat cereals, granolas, cereal bars, protein bars, instant oatmeal, bagels, pastries, and bread and yogurt.

Solution: Shoot for less than 8 to 10 g sugar/serving when purchasing cereal or instant oatmeal. Opt for plant-based foods (fresh berries, nuts, seeds) or hard-boiled egg or rather than processed cereal bars or protein bars. Try cottage cheese in place of high-sugar yogurts.

Retrain your palate. Simply avoiding sugar for a period (including foods made with high-intensity (artificial sweeteners) retrains your tastebuds so you crave less. It works!

Solution: Avoiding sugar (including foods made with high-intensity (artificial) sweeteners like aspartame (Equal), sucralose (Splenda)). These trick your brain and body causing you to crave more. Removing can help to detox your palate so, you crave less.

The Sugar Detox by Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, CDN is a great book, providing easy and simple suggestions on how to kick the sugar habit including a simple 3-Day Detox and healthy reintegration. I can personally attest – my husband lost 40lbs in 2018 using this simple plan.

What are your sugar busting strategies or what foods did you find are high in sugar? Please share with your EBTS followers and let us know what works for you!

Comment below!