Sugar Detox – Why You Shouldn’t

Dan DeFigioBehavior and Mindfulness, Sugar Addiction

sugar detox doesn't work

Sugar Detox programs. 21 Day Sugar Detox. Quit Sugar Now. As the author of Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies, I am finding myself in a bit of a moral pickle.

Yes, I help people get off sugar, lose weight, and find a healthy sustainable way to feed themselves. But I can’t get behind the “sugar detox” concept. Why? Here’s a great example:

A colleague of mine started up a Sugar Detox group on facebook, and me to join in to offer my advice. Normally, I’m glad to do this kind of thing.

The problem is, this person’s “sugar detox program” is the typical “Swear off all sugar on ‘Day 1’ and suffer through all your cravings and urges.” You’re expected to change all your habits at once, and completely revolutionize how you eat. If you’re ‘motivated’ and ‘committed’ enough, you’ll be sugar-free in 28 days.

I think all these poor people are doomed to failure.

Their stories and sagas bear this out.

They’re sharing stories about how many times they’ve tried and failed to quit sugar binges and stress eating. They’ve tried lots of “detoxes” before.

They feel frustrated, ashamed, and hopeless. All they have is HOPE that they can somehow ‘do it this time’.

But they keep doing the same thing over and over.

They keep failing for the same reasons.

My dilemma is that I KNOW this approach doesn’t work.

I know that you can’t succeed when you change everything at once, and expect to willpower your way through a “detox” until Day 28 when you magically never eat anything that’s unhealthy again.

The way you change habits is to take baby steps. It’s the small wins that add up over time. If you want to improve your body and your health, you have to change what you usually do.

You have to change what is normal for you.

“Detoxes” don’t change anything, because when you’re done, you “go back to normal.” What’s normal for you is what got you into trouble in the first place. THAT’S what you have to start changing!

The only way to create BIG wins (weight loss, dropping clothes sizes, eating better, more energy, etc.,) is by creating small wins. Repeatedly.

Getting the body you want is about the accumulation of hundreds of meals and thousands of decisions. Each one counts just as much as the next one.

Whatever you do most of the time, that’s what you get.

You don’t need another temporary “detox” or special “diet” to suffer through.

Permanent change comes from changing what you usually do.

That doesn’t mean NEVER eating anything bad for you.

It does mean planning (healthy) food to eat most of the time.

It does mean learning to catch yourself when you’re triggered to use food to medicate uncomfortable emotions.

It does mean taking baby steps towards healthier habits.

If you do it the smart way, a few weeks from now you can have a few improvements under your belt that don’t feel like deprivation or grueling willpower sagas.

You can be better without struggling and suffering.

And most importantly, you can STAY better because your new Normal will stay with you. Normal doesn’t end on Day 28.

So what you YOU going to look like 28 days from now?

Let me know if you want my help setting some goals and actions to change! Contact me here.


beating sugar addictionDan DeFigio is a well-known fitness and nutrition expert who has been featured on CNN’s Fit Nation, The Dr. Phil Show, SELF Magazine, VeryWell.com, and a host of other media outlets.