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Sugar withdrawal: how to give up sweets easily

Excessive consumption of sweets not only harms our figure, but also our health. But many people find sugar withdrawal difficult. Read our blog post to find out what symptoms sugar withdrawal causes in our body and how we can overcome our sugar addiction.

Table of contents
  • How does sugar work in our body?
  • What happens in the body during sugar withdrawal
  • What are the benefits of giving up sugar?
  • How long does sugar withdrawal last?
  • How do I manage sugar withdrawal?
  • Tips: How to make giving up sugar easier

How does sugar affect our body?

Sugar can be addictive and acts like a drug on our brain. The unhealthy sweetness leads to the release of dopamine and releases feelings of happiness. Our brain wants this reward signal as often as possible. The craving for sugary products increases and the constant temptation makes it increasingly difficult for us to resist the tantalising dopamine kick. This leads to a loss of self-control and a sugar addiction with strong cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Giving up sugar helps to reduce the craving for sweets. Lent is therefore the ideal time to take a sugar break.

What happens in the body during sugar withdrawal?

Sugar withdrawal can lead to both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can vary and range from headaches and concentration problems to tiredness, irritability or even depression. Your body is used to the regular energy boost from sugar and now has to get used to it. You may therefore feel tired and listless in the first few days of sugar withdrawal.

In addition to these typical symptoms of sugar withdrawal, you may also experience a strong craving for sweets. Chocolate, jelly babies and biscuits seem particularly tempting. The body wants its "drug" sugar and the associated energy and dopamine kick.

What are the benefits of giving up sugar?

Those who manage to quit sugar and consume little or no sugar in the long term can benefit from numerous positive effects. On the one hand, the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes, lipometabolic disorders or high blood pressure is reduced. On the other hand, you feel fitter and more focussed in everyday life as your blood sugar and insulin levels are no longer constantly jumping up and down. Better sleep and a more even complexion can also be the result of giving up sugar. Even the ageing process is said to be slowed down by sugar withdrawal. Furthermore, the bacterial flora in the gut and mouth improves. And last but not least, giving up sugar is of course also noticeable on the scales.

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How long does the sugar detox last?

After just a few days - two weeks at most - your craving for sweets will subside. Nevertheless, it is advisable to stick to the sugar-free programme for at least four weeks so that you don't fall straight back into your old habits afterwards. In addition, the positive effects of giving up sugar only become apparent after about a month.

However, if you really want to cut sugar out of your diet permanently, you will have to be patient a little longer. Only after a few months of abstinence does the perception of taste change to such an extent that sugar is even perceived as unpleasant. From then on, it becomes really easy to resist sweet temptations.

How do I manage sugar withdrawal?

It's not always easy to give up sugar completely, because it's not just the typical suspects such as biscuits and chocolate that you have to avoid. Many convenience products and processed foods also contain sugar, and not just in small quantities. Therefore, always check the list of ingredients when shopping and try to avoid any products with added sugar. Instead, cook your own meals and use unprocessed foods such as fresh vegetables, pulses and wholegrain products wherever possible.

You can find out more about hidden sugar in food in our blog post: Hidden sugar in food.

Sugar substitutes or sweeteners can also help with very strong cravings for sweets. These do not trigger the release of insulin or dopamine and therefore do not have the highly addictive effect of sugar. Those who find sugar withdrawal too difficult can use these sweeteners. However, the amount used should then be reduced over time.

If you fancy a chocolatey dessert despite the fasting period, you can simply stir our FlavePowder into yoghurt or quark.

Tips: Making it easier to give up sugar

Prevent cravings

Keeping blood sugar levels constant is the most important step in the sugar detox. You should therefore eat regularly. Three main meals and - if necessary - two small snacks (e.g. fruit, natural yoghurt, nuts, protein powder) are ideal. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables and wholemeal products, as the carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly than with white flour. Protein-rich meals keep you full for longer and also help to prevent cravings. If you enrich your breakfast porridge or smoothie with protein powder, for example, you will feel fuller for longer. Here you can use our neutral varieties or our Nature's Protein without sweeteners. Spices such as cinnamon, vanilla or cardamom can also help to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Avoid sweet temptations

It's easy to avoid the sweets section in the supermarket or the bakery next door. But what about invitations to dinner or birthday parties? In addition to temptation, there is also social pressure. It's best to inform the host in advance that you are currently avoiding sugar. You could also offer to bring a healthy alternative. A delicious banana bread or strawberry tiramisu. You can find more low-sugar and high-protein recipes here.

Avoid stress

Giving up sugar is particularly difficult in stressful times, as emotional factors also play a role. Many people associate the consumption of sweets with something soothing and comforting. Therefore, make sure you find enough balance, e.g. in the form of meditation or yoga. Getting enough sleep is just as important, as our cravings for unhealthy foods increase when we are tired. To stimulate the release of dopamine, you should get plenty of exercise, go out in the sun or listen to your favourite music more often. Reward yourself again and again for persevering, e.g. with a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a massage.