Should You Do A Sugar Detox?
Have you ever heard these things said….
“Sugar makes you fat.”
“Sugar makes your energy levels crash.”
“Sugar worsens your mood.”
I’m guessing you’ve heard at least one of them.
**Enter The Infamous Sugar Detox**
It’s common for people to go on a sugar detox to lose weight. Is that a good idea? Maybe.
Cutting sugar out of your diet reduces your carb intake. Which means you are eating less calories. And eating less calories than you burn means you will lose weight.
See, it’s not the *sugar* that makes you put on weight. It’s too many calories. So if you eat too much sugar, which leads to excess calories, you’ll gain weight. If you eat too much fat, which leads to excess calories, you’ll gain weight. If you eat too much of anything, you’ll gain weight.
Two groups. Both groups eat the same number of calories and protein each day. 1 group has higher sugar. 1 group has lower sugar. What happened?
Both groups lost EXACTLY the same amount of weight.
There are many studies that support his claim. The sugar content made no difference.
The total calories and protein was the determining factor. Surprised?
In the US, the population is averaging 459 more calories per day than they did in the 1970s. Do you know how many of those extra 459 calories are coming from sugar?
21. I repeat 21. That’s less than 5% of the extra calories coming from sugar. It is clear that the overall increase in calorie consumption causes increased weight gain. Not sugars.
It’s easy to scaremonger and use sugar as a scapegoat. The media do a fantastic job at this. BUT from a weight loss perspective, sugar isn’t as bad as you likely think.
Now, cutting sugar may improve your well being, improve your mood and stop you from binging. If it does, by all means cut it out….
BUT don’t assume that just cutting sugar will help you lose weight.
Your total calories are the deciding factor here. Not a magical drop in eating less sugar.
Should you do a sugar detox?
Maybe. For a short while. It could be an interesting experiment. But I wouldn’t recommend it long term. Unless you have a serious amount of discipline and willpower (most of us don’t), a sugar detox won’t be a sustainable diet.
Why? Because most of us can go a few days without suagr and then end up splurging on our favourite sugary foods. (Hello Ben & Jerry’s….)
When that happens it’s easy to let things spiral out of control. 1 high sugar day leads to another. Which leads to another.
When it comes to sugar and junk food, I give my clients a couple of options…
They follow a moderated diet that allows them a little junk food everyday – so long as their calories are met.
They focus on consuming fruits, veggies, good fats, wolesome carbs and lean meats 80-90% of the day. Then they allow 10-20% of their calories to come from more questionable foods.
6 days of the week they eat a diet that consists 100% from fruits, veggies, good fats, wholesome carbs and lean meats.
Then 1 day per week they let their hair down and have an “off” day or “refeed” day where they can eat what they want. This is a less moderated approach and more all or nothing.
Both of these options work well for different people. And in both instances the total number of calories consumed each week is still the most important part.
My clients know that if they eat a cake or go over on their calories every now and then, it’s all good. We just get going again.
No guilt. No feeling of failure. Life goes on. Don’t fear sugar as the bad guy.
Focus on a lifestyle rich in fruits, veggies, protein, good fats, wholesome carbs and physical activity. Then allow 10-20% of your calories to come from more questionable foods. Whichever option you take.
If you decide to opt for a bit of extra sugar here or there, so be it.
It won’t kill you. Because sugar isn’t the reason for gaining weight.
Too many calories are.