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Is sweetness your weakness? This is how you give up sugar!

From birthday cakes to biscuits with coffee to cold summer treats, every holiday, season or special occasion offers delicious memories of favorite sweets. But what if you're trying to get healthy by cutting sugar out of your diet? We explain here how stopping sweet treats affects the body.

How does the body react when you stop sugar and how long do the symptoms last?
When you stop sugar, you're leaving a load of empty, useless calories, which should help you with weight loss—as long as you don't replace those sugar calories with other empty calories!
Replacing sugar with things like fiber and protein will increase your satiety levels, helping you feel full for longer while reducing your overall calorie intake. Sugar has a very low satiety value and causes sharp spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, giving you that “shaky” sensation and near-hungry levels of hunger soon after consumption.

Sugar is quite addictive, so some may experience withdrawal symptoms. It sounds crazy, but it's true:When your body gets used to certain substances, removing that substance essentially puts your body into a state of shock. It will cause some uncomfortable moments such as headaches, upset stomach or disturbance of bowel activity as your body resets itself. Withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to two weeks.

If you are past the immediate withdrawal, what can you expect? If you survived the initial withdrawal symptoms, your overall energy would improve in all areas of your life. For example, you may notice that:
* Hair, skin and nails start to improve
* Cravings change drastically (once you stop sugaring for a long time, you start missing it less and less)
* Improve performance in the gym and you'll recover faster from workouts and potentially reduce your risk of injury
* Work productivity should improve and you'll need fewer sick days
* Belly fat decreases because your body will not have excess sugar to store as fat in your adipose tissue
* Sleep cycles become longer and more consistent (sugar can negatively affect your REM sleep if your body is constantly looking for its next shot)

It may be a harsh comparison, but think about how drug addicts live on a daily basis. Work is of low quality or non-existent; workouts are either minimal intensity or non-existent; and their sleep patterns are constantly disrupted without ever feeling fully rested. Sugar is an addictive substance for some people, so there really is a need to approach it in a similar way to drug/alcohol detoxification.

How do you get through these phases without falling back? You can get through the phases by increasing your water intake, or by chewing gum or snacking on fruit for a sweet feeling without all the artificial sugar. Just give your mind and mouth something else to think about when a sugar craving approaches.

Sugar often makes us sleepy, tired and begging for more, which also takes a toll on the body. Some people may feel the positive effects of a sugar-free diet right away, while others may take a little longer. If you're experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may not even notice the benefits occurring simultaneously during that two-week period.

When do these positive changes start? Everyone's body is different, but for some people it is possible to start seeing, tasting and feeling changes in as little as three days. Fruit can become sweet again—almost like candy—because your taste receptors have been given a chance to relax and stop looking for sugar. Your sweetness tolerance will also begin to diminish within a few days. The higher your sugar tolerance, the longer it may take for naturally sweetened foods to taste as sweet as before. You may even find that certain foods are almost too sweet for your new preference.

Again, every person and every body is different. Many factors — such as genetics, presence of or risk factors for certain chronic diseases and conditions, physical activity level, carbohydrate/sugar sensitivity, age, gender — can play a role in how, and for how long, your body responds to the elimination of sugar. /P>