The first step is to fully understand where sugar is hiding. For example, when you look at the nutrition facts on a product label you will see “carbohydrates” as well as “fiber” and “sugar.” Carbohydrates are in starchy vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Although carbohydrates are broken down via digestion into sugar molecules (glucose and fructose), you don’t need to avoid them completely during a sugar detox—however, it is helpful to keep carbohydrates to a minimum and in balance with protein. Aim for no more than 15 grams of carbohydrates each time you eat, and remember to balance out the carbs with a similar amount of protein (7 to 15 grams), plus healthy fats.
“Sugar” on the label indicates actual sugar, and that’s what you should try to avoid or decrease during the sugar detox. If you see that there are grams of sugar in the product, then look at the ingredients list to find out where that sugar is coming from. It could be actual sugar, or it could be sugar disguised in another form—so look for not only “sugar” on your food packaging, but also the following:
Beet sugar Brown sugar Brown rice syrup Cane sugar Cane juice Dextrose Dried cane sugar
Raw cane sugar Glucose Maltose Malt sugar Sucrose Evaporated cane juice
Fructose, which is in fruit and vegetables as well as agave, honey, and maple syrup, can be a problem too, especially when highly concentrated, such as in high fructose corn syrup. It doesn’t trigger insulin, but is instead a direct issue for your digestion, liver, and metabolism when consumed in large quantities. Watch out for fructose in these forms:
Agave Corn syrup High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) Honey Maple syrup Molasses