What happens to your body while quitting sugar?

Quitting SugarCC: Shirley 810 at Pixabay

If you feel as though you’re living in an age of health fads, you’re probably not wrong. Some of them are better than others, and quitting sugar is certainly no bad thing.

At first glance, quitting sugar seems easy. All you need to do is ditch the Jolly Ranchers and cut out fruit juice, right? Wrong. Quitting sugar also means avoiding those foods that hide the white stuff with expert precision. For example, crackers and veggie burgers.

Putting in the effort while quitting sugar is worth it, though. If you’re intrigued, let’s explore the benefits together.

Your first 24 hours without sugar

How your body responds to its initial sugar break depends on your relationship with the stuff. If you’re the type of person who can’t resist a Krispy Kreme on their lunch break, you’re likely to experience cravings by the bucketload.

You may also experience sluggish feelings, especially if you depend on sugar as a source of energy. Fortunately, this is just your body adjusting to the lack of highs and lows as you cull sugar from your diet. Eventually, your insulin levels will stabilize and you’ll start to feel normal.

Within 72 hours, your body will begin turning to other energy sources. If you head down the extreme route and try the Keto diet, this means you’ll enter ketosis and begin burning fat as a source of energy instead.

Your first week of quitting sugar

It would be unfair to pretend that your journey will feel like plain sailing after 72 hours. Instead, you’re likely to experience the type of withdrawal symptoms drug addicts face.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. However, as sugar triggers a pleasant response in your reward center, your brain will experience a reduction in dopamine levels. At the same time, your acetylcholine levels rise. This means you’re switching a rewarding neurotransmitter for one that heightens your response to pain.

It’s believed that the neurotransmitter switch up is what leads to headaches and dizziness when you’re quitting sugar. If you’re willing to go cold turkey, these downsides will abate around a week after you start. But, what do you do if you want an easier ride that doesn’t involve such extreme withdrawal symptoms?

Ditching sugar the easy way

Although it’s easy to find plans such as the Three Day Sugar Detox, sticking to them is challenging. As an alternative, you can reduce your intake by 20% each week until you’re at near non-existent levels. Because most people eat too much sugar by accident through white carbs and on-the-go snacks, you should notice a tremendous difference without punishing yourself.

While you transition from a sugary existence to living sugar-free, try reshaping your response to cravings. Instead of heading for a candy dish, try snacking from your fruit bowl.

By now, you may be wondering what the aim of quitting sugar is. When approached successfully, this is an excellent way to lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and your dentist will thank you for your efforts. If it doesn’t seem feasible, don’t worry. You can always aim for a significant reduction and allow the odd sugary snack while still benefiting your health.


About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.