Congratulations! You made it through our #NoSugarTODAY detox. You did something most people wouldn't dream of doing: going ten days without your favorite sugary snacks and sweet treats.
So, what's next for you?
Although I know it feels like heaven to have the allowance to consume added sugar once again, be prepared for a "sweet shock." That’s because during these past 10 days, when we omitted all sources of “added sugar” from our diets, we also created a new baseline for our taste-buds.
Things like cake, soda, fruit juice, and even ketchup, which used to taste normal, will now taste very sweet.
So, instead of diving back into sugar, how should we carefully select what to consume?
First, consider that the mission of the detox was to open our eyes to the massive amount of sugar that we’re actually consuming on a daily basis (some things were obvious, others surprising). So, of course you will reintroduce your favorite foods. But this is the time to get super-selective.
My top tips for reintroducing sugar to your diet are below.
Think before you pop something into your mouth or grocery cart. Ask yourself “do I really need that?”
The answer will most likely be "no." (Sorry!) If it's not, and you're experiencing some serious cravings, well, then, that's okay. Don't torture yourself.
Identify your must-haves. Then, cut back.
Make a personal list of sugary items you can’t Iive without, and then work them back into your diet in a more moderate way. For example, if you "need" three packets of sugar in your coffee, pull back to one packet. If you need a daily dessert after dinner, allow yourself an indulgent treat three nights a week (as opposed to the full seven), and substitute fresh fruit on the other nights.
When it comes to packaged nutrition bars and snacks, buy brands with no more than 12 grams of sugar per serving. For breakfast cereals, stick to no more than 8 grams of sugar. And for flavored yogurts, you'll want to go with less than 20 grams of sugar per container. Additionally, be sure to stick to the listed serving sizes. Sure, it might seem obvious, but sometimes we forget: If you eat double the servings, you’re consuming double the sugar, too.
Limit artificial sweeteners and other zero-calorie substitutes.
While I understand and respect the fact that they deliver a sweet taste without any calories, I personally think they should also be limited. For people that would like to use them, my advice is to go easy and limit yourself to no more than two daily packets or two items (sweetened with sugar substitutes) per day.
And if you experience an off-the-rails overload moment...
...shake it off and jump right back on track. Nobody’s perfect and slip ups are expected. Simply forgive yourself and start fresh the next morning. The point is, you shouldn't think that all is lost and start waiting for our next #NoSugarTODAY detox. Don't put off your changes until New Year's Eve, either!