Quitting the Sugar Habit: Your Body’s Response

Sweets are a major part of the diet in many parts of the world. Kids reach for sugary snacks after school and dessert is a regular occurance in many households. Sugar often tops the list of ingredients in breakfast cereals, as well. Attempts to get healthy and lose weight often start with eliminating sugar from the diet. This can be frustrating once you calculate how much sugar is in your daily foods. Quitting is no easy task. Your body goes through a series of changes as you progress through a sugar detox.



Unfortunately, your body gets used to the regular supply of sweet foods. Withdrawal from sugar can be a physical struggle. The consumption of sugar leads to changes in the nervous system. This is similar to how drugs, such as cocaine, affect your body. Those that eat sweets for comfort may also have a mental reaction to the initial decrease in sugar intake. Headaches are one of the first withdrawal symptoms. Your body is feeling the loss of a regular supply of sugar. Staying hydrated with water may help ease the pain. Body aches and the shakes are also a part of this process. This is due to a decrease in blood sugar levels. Mood swings play a part in this major change, as well. This can stem from the changes in your body or simply from the discomfort of other symptoms. Sugar is considered highly addictive and has been compared to cocaine when it comes to quitting. Take it slow, if necessary.


Cravings are a part of the withdrawal process, and may remain for several weeks. Cravings happen when your body is trying to fulfil a need. Sugar is linked to the release of serotonin in the brain. Women may especially feel vulnerable to cravings due to hormone fluctuations. Feelings of depression often accompany a decrease in serotonin, making the cravings more intense in an attempt to restore mental well-being. Cravings can also be a result of a vitamin D deffiency, or salty foods. This can be the worst part of limiting your sugar intake.

Sensitivity to Sugar

After a while, your body adjusts to the absence of sugar. After you go through a full detox, the levels of leptin in your body may change. This hormone is partialy responsible for regulating the appetite. Individuals that are overweight have higher levels of leptin. The taste buds do not respond to sweetness as much when high levels of leptin are present. Once you start losing weight, you may find that even small amounts of sugar are extremely noticeable. Craving should also be gone by this time, making sweet foods less appealing altogether.

Weight Loss-1

Fructose and glucose are the two ingredients in refined sugar. Fructose must be processed by the liver. Those struggling with belly fat may be suffering from an abundance of sugar in their diet. An excess of fructose increases the burden on the liver. Fructose is then sent back to the middle section as fat. Individuals can be thin and suffer from a large belly due to this condition. Over time, serious health issues can result from this accumulation of fat. Liver and belly fat combined can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic complications.The brain also receives different information about calories when liquid is consumed. Calories from sugary drinks, therefore, affect you differently.   Once the refined sugar is cut from the diet, weight loss is easier to achieve.

Better Sleep

Sugar can cause your sleep patterns to become interrupted. Once you start limiting sugar in your diet, expect to sleep more soundly with less waking up throughtout the night.  These problems can be a result of foods that turn into sugars, such as pasta. These types of foods delay the time at which melatonin is dispersed into your system. Melatonin is naturally released towards the end of the day when it begins to turn dark outside. Melatonin starts the process of relaxing the body for sleep. Foods high in sugar or carbohydrates should be eaten earlier in the day.

Absence of Energy Lows 

Your body responds to high sugar snacks by having a sudden burst of energy. This shock to your system may make you alert for a short period of time. Refined sugars, however, do not offer sustainable energy. Once they are metabolized, your blood sugar drops quickly. This sudden drop causes you to feel sluggish and may affect your focus. Healthy snacking on high fiber foods throughout the day can remedy this problem.

Limiting sugar intake can be a difficult process during the first few weeks. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings may be overwhelming. It is important to find ways to remain calm and focused until your body adjusts. Your body is going through many physical changes related to your prior dependence on daily sweet foods. The health benefits of improved sleep, more energy, and weight loss can be great motivating factors.

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