Dr. Oz Features Sugar Detox Diet: How to Win at Weight Loss and Keep It Off


Do you remember when you ate your first cookie? Recall discovering the joys of ice cream? Eating sugar-rich foods have become viewed as one of the delights of life. But experts Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, CDN and Patricia Farris, MD, FAAD say that there's a serious problem with all that sugar: It's addictive and dangerous to our health, from our waistlines to our skin. Health expert and talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz featured this duo and their new book, "The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Look Years Younger," to spread the word on just why it's time for us to say so long to sugar.

How Much Sugar Do You Really Eat?

Think you don't eat that much sugar? Prepare yourself for a scary fact: "The average American consumes up to 31 pounds of sugar a year, and a diet high in sugar can cause diabetes, obesity, and many other health crises. Our excess intake of sugar, from the white stuff on the table to the high-fructose corn syrup hidden in packaged foods, is not only making us sick, it’s making us fat and aging our skin," say Brooke and Patricia. And the problem: The addictive nature of that sweet stuff makes it hard to quit. Adding to that obstacle: It's difficult to discover the sources in our food. Labels can be deceptive, and sugar can be hidden in foods ranging from bread to cereal to toothpaste.

Giving Up Sugar: 3-Day Sugar Fix

Some diet experts advise making small changes. For example, perhaps just giving up a doughnut a week, or switching from regular ice cream to sugar-free ice cream. However, Patricia and Brooke disagree. They feel that to kick the sugar cravings, you need to go cold turkey. As a result, they have created what they call a 3-Day Sugar Fix that eliminate every iota of sugar from your life. What you'll eat: Protein-rich foods, approved vegetables, a small serving of nuts. During the three-day Sugar Fix, you have to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, dairy, wheat and fruit.


Staying Away From Sugar
Patricia and Brooke gradually ease you into a diet that includes other foods, such as wine, cheese, fruit, popcorn and even dark chocolate. However, they emphasize that to lose weight, enhance your health and feel great, it's essential to stay away from sugar permanently.

Long-Term Success
One of the most challenging parts of a dramatic change like this: Maintaining your momentum. In the excitement of losing weight, it's easy to keep going. But what happens when you've achieved your goal? NBC News recently reported that maintaining weight has been shown to be more difficult than losing those pounds. "People may successfully lose weight, but maintaining that weight is really where the challenge begins," explained Joy Dubost, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

So what does it take to succeed with weight loss long-term? In evaluating those who lost weight and kept it off, study leader Dr. Christopher Sciamanna uncovered two guidelines that help to keep off that weight:

  • Reminding yourself why you need to control your weight, and
  • Rewarding yourself for sticking to a diet and exercise plan

Let's explore how this works. In the case of ending your intake of sugar, you could create a poster showing all the results of eating foods like doughnuts, cake and ice cream, from aging skin to bulging belly to dental decay. Put it on your refrigerator door to remind you. And take control of what you bring into your house. Read labels carefully before you buy any foods. If they contain sugar in any form, from artificial such as aspartame to pure cane sugar to corn syrup, those foods do not belong in your home.

A reward system works well - as long as you offer yourself non-food rewards. A manicure, a massage, saving up for a new wardrobe with the money you've saved all make great rewards.

Do It Differently
Bottom line when it comes to keeping off the weight: You must change your life, says Robert Jeffery, director of the Obesity Prevention Center at the University of Minnesota. "We have information on people who have successfully lost large amounts of weight and kept it up for a long time," Jeffery said. "They exercise a lot more than most people do, and they eat a lot healthier diets than most people do."

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