Returning to reality after a festival can be a bit depressing. But then, celebrations are not over yet. Diwali and Bhai Dooj are just round the corner. If you are already feeling guilty about all the sweets you gorged on during Navratri and Durga Puja, fret not! Embrace sugar detox to get back on track.
What is sugar detox?
Cutting down on all the added sugar from your diet for a specific period of time is called sugar detox. While this process is beneficial for many, the best way is to focus on reducing added sugar intake for life and not just for a time period.
‘It is Always better to have sweets as snacks, not after a heavy meal’
Eliminating all the refined forms of sugar from your diet will go a long way in keeping you healthy. Avoid sugar, coconut sugar and palm sugar. Try natural sugar, like raisins and dates, instead. Never look at your favourite food as a cheat meal. Gorging on sweets in the festive season is fine but instead of ordering in, you can have homemade ones. You can make paneer-based fondue, apple or oats halwa. It’s always better to eat sweets as snacks rather than after a heavy meal.
Riddhima Batra, nutritionist
‘It’s the best lifestyle choice I have ever made’
It’s been several years that I have completely cut off sugar from my diet and that has been the best lifestyle choice I have ever made. I think having sweets or refined sugar is more harmful than fried foods. With sugar detox, I have noticed positive changes. I have acne-prone and oily skin. The skin texture seems much better now. Also, my hair fall problems have stopped. At times, during festivities, when I badly crave for sweets, I just take a small bite. I can’t imagine myself having an entire sandesh, chocolate bar or even a bowl of ice cream. For people, who are suffering from insomnia, they should completely stop having sugar post 6 pm. I do not add sugar to my regular tea or coffee. I replace sugar with either organic honey or a piece of jaggery.
Benefits of sugar detox
Helps you lose weight: The most obvious benefit is weight loss. Sugar can be replaced with nutritious and whole foods like fruits (lemons, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, kiwis, grapefruit, avocado and watermelon) and vegetables (lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cabbage and broccoli). Sugar detox will
make you fell less bloated and more energetic. It will improve hormone levels and slim down your waistline.
Improves complexion and skin tone: Consuming food high in sugar content leads to hormonal imbalance and in turn affects your complexion and skin tone. Sugar detox can help the skin look younger, beautiful and firm. It also contributes to an even skin tone and healthy complexion.
‘Your skin gets a natural glow with sugar detox’
I have consciously cut off consuming refined sugar for quite some time now. But on some cheat meal days, I do indulge in some chocolates or pastries, as I have a sweet tooth. The immediate effect that I noticed after following sugar detox is that the bloating in the body reduces. You start looking leaner and your skin also gets a natural glow. I have never experienced low energy levels after I have stopped having sugar. Also, as a substitute to sugar, I do mix honey in my green tea often.
Higher energy levels: Who said sugar detox will lower down the energy levels in your body? Rather, health experts say that intake of sugar spikes up the energy in your body momentarily and makes you feel all drained out and extremely tired later on. Cutting out on all types of sugar from your diet will help you feel twice as energetic for an extended period of time. Its impact can be seen during your daily workout regimen. Sugar detox helps burn more fat and exercise more efficiently.
‘I often replace sugar with organic honey’
I generally avoid sugar and sugary food all year round, but I do have occasional cheat meals, especially desserts, like ice creams, cakes and pastries. During Durga Puja, I did gorge on some of those delicious desserts but now since the celebrations are over, I am back to my regimen, which is pretty intense. I have completely cut down on sugar and my major source of energy comes from protein, complex carbs and fats. I am trying to eat as clean as possible and I must say it feels really good, both physically and mentally. While maintaining my strict diet, I often replace sugar with organic honey.
Improves digestion: Digestive problems are at bay if you are eating a healthy and nutritious diet on a regular basis. Giving up on food high in sugar content will not cause issues like gas, bloating, feeling of nausea, acidity and indigestion in your body.
‘I ensure my cravings are restricted to weekly cheat meals only’
I have mostly been off sugar since July last year. But being a true-blue Bengali, I have a sweet tooth. However, I ensure my cravings are restricted to weekly cheat meals only. This helps me enjoy my favourite rasmalai at times, while keeping a check on calories I consume. During festive seasons, my diet takes a backseat and I let myself just go with the flow. However, that leads to stricter diets in the following weeks and I don’t miss my workout sessions. My personal trainer at the gym is of huge help when it comes to getting rid of those extra inches I add
during the festive season.
Reduces risk of diabetes: Diabetes is one of the biggest health concerns faced by millions across the globe. The primary thing to ward off diabetes is to cut off sugar completely from your diet, which in turn will keep you fit and help you lose some extra pounds. Intake of sugar rich food can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.