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Nutrition Pro’s Easy Sugar Detox Breaks the Cravings Cycle to Boost Weight Loss — Here’s How to Do It

Tosca Reno's plan "keeps you calm and comfortable" as you wean off sugar

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Here’s some startling news: “There’s sugar in 80% of the food on supermarket shelves. So we may not realize it, but most of us are in the grips of sugar addiction,” says nutrition expert Tosca Reno, mega-selling author of The Eat-Clean Diet. And studies show that, like opioid drugs, sugar hijacks the brain’s pleasure center, stoking constant cravings and making it difficult to lose weight. So if your waist keeps expanding despite your best efforts, “a gentle sugar detox can make all the difference,” Tosca says. And she’s developed a simple fix can have you feeling back to your best in no time. Keep reading to discover how a simple sugar detox can help you restore good health.

What you do on the sugar detox diet

Why exactly do we need to cut back on sugar? At this time, the average person consumes about 152 pounds of sugar per year, an excess that wreaks havoc on body chemistry and leads to fatigue, rapid belly-fat storage, blocked fat loss and a high risk for many diseases. But most diets feed the addiction or do little to soften withdrawal. “I saw the need for a plan that feels good and gets the job done,” says Tosca, who created Strike Sugar 2.0. Women are raving. “They tell me their cravings are gone and they’re vibrating with energy and radiating joy and health.”

Although it may sound tough, Tosca’s strategy is simple and soothing. You enjoy 5-6 small sittings a day, each packed with protein, good fat, fiber and antioxidants. In fact, these nutrients make meals and snacks exceptionally filling. (Learn how much protein women need.)

Plus, you get one every 2-3 hours, “so there’s no hunger, no psychological sense of going without. It keeps you calm and comfortable — and I’ve found that’s the key to success when weaning off sugar,” says Tosca, 62, who shed 84 pounds and stumbled onto a new career as she experimented with ways to break her own sugar addiction years ago.

Related: Princeton Doc: “The Average Woman Unknowingly Consumes 22 Tsp. of Sugar a Day” — How to Cut Back & Lose Weight

How sugar wreaks havoc on health

If results seem dramatic, here’s why: Scientists say sugar’s impact goes far beyond empty calories. In fact, all the sweets and processed carbs we eat gradually damage cells, making it hard for the hormone insulin to get sugar inside of them to be burned for energy. We make more insulin to force the sugar in, but no luck. Then our cells, starving for fuel, trigger intense cravings for carbs and sweets. (See how almonds boost weight loss and dial back cravings, plus more healthy eating hacks.)

Meanwhile, all that unburned sugar circulates in the blood through our entire systems, causing inflammation and damage, “even in the brain,” notes Elizabeth Bradley, MD, a functional medicine physician and former director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. Unburned sugar is finally stored as belly fat. Finally, we grow tired and foggy, and diabetes and other diseases may take hold. But there’s good news…

How a sugar detox restores fat burn

When scientists at Skidmore College tested a plan similar to Tosca’s, folks not only lost significant weight in 12 weeks, they “cut levels of insulin in half,” reports study head Paul Arciero, PhD. That’s more than common diabetes drugs. “When insulin comes down like that, it means the body is handling blood sugar much better, which brings down cravings and inflammation. It also means fat burn, especially around the abdominal area, goes way up.” (Click through to learn how to lose a stress belly.)

The secrets that make Tosca’s approach so effective? Firstly, it gently cuts blood sugar–spiking foods that would do more damage. Secondly, it delivers lots of protein in small, steady doses. To that end, Arciero explains that the body can use small doses most effectively, absorbing maximum amino acids to repair sugar-damaged cells. Then, cells heal — often in about four weeks, the length of Tosca’s detox.

“Many people immediately feel less hunger and more energy and start losing weight,” confirms Dr. Bradley. “I just had a patient in constant fibromyalgia-like pain try protein-rich mini meals. The pain just went away. The results are very impressive and gratifying!”

Related: Cutting Back on Sugar? Docs Say Sucralose Is OK In Moderation, But May Have Sneaky Side Effects

Sugar detox success story: Debi Stevens, 59

In a series of trial and error, Debi Stevens found that keto and intermittent fasting made her cranky and failed to get rid of her “menopause belly.” Then, she found Tosca’s Facebook page. Intrigued, she joined a group using the Strike Sugar plan. She batch-cooked things like chicken dishes and healthy meatballs so she’d always have heat-and-eat meal options on hand.

“It was so doable, and my body responded,” recalls the Oregon grandmother, 59. “The cravings for mocha lattes and popcorn went away, and my mood, memory, joint pain and energy all got better. Even my menopause ‘sweats’ have stopped.” Of course, it’s how fast her tummy disappeared that has people begging for her secrets. Down four jean sizes in 40 days, “it’s almost completely flat now. It’s abs-olutely fantastic,” she laughs. “I’m telling everyone who asks about this!”

Sugar detox before and after: Sandra Mendoza, 57

Before and after photos of Sandra Mendoza who dropped 5 sizes with a sugar detox by Tosca Reno
Rudy Meyers

After a lifetime of sneaking candy bars and late-night fridge raids, Sandra Mendoza found her go-to diets stopped working. “I was gaining weight, my belly kept getting bigger, my cholesterol and blood sugar kept going up. I felt powerless,” recalls the California grandmother, 57. Then she heard about Tosca’s plan. “I loved that it was working for women with sugar addictions.”

At this point, she found protein-rich mini meals (her favorite: air-fryer salmon with sautéed veggies) worked wonders. Her belly flattened right away. “I had some cravings on days 9 and 10, but that was it!” After the detox was over, she stuck with the basics. All told, she shed 46 pounds and five jean sizes, and her blood work is in great shape. “For the first time ever, sugar is not controlling me. If you’re looking for freedom, try this plan!”

Sugar detox meals to try

To try Tosca’s sugar detox approach, enjoy 5-6 sittings, one every 2-3 hours. Make meals with 4 oz. of lean protein, unlimited low-starch veggies and a little good fat. For snacks, have 2 oz. of protein plus fat and veggies/fruit. Add ½ cup of quinoa daily; skip dairy except full-fat Greek yogurt. Aim for 64 oz. of water daily; a cup of coffee or tea is fine. Always get a doctor’s okay to try a new plan. We’ve got some meal ideas below.

Breakfast: Microwave egg mugs

Stir two eggs, optional cooked lean protein and chopped veggies in mug; microwave one to two minutes.

Lunch: Salmon patties + salad

Mix one pouch of salmon, three tablespoons of almond flour and one egg. Form patties; cook in olive oil. Serve over salad.

Snacks:

Two to three times a day, have a serving of fruit with nuts, fruit with Greek yogurt, or veggies with hummus.

Dinner: Beef, veggies + quinoa

Sauté grass-fed lean beef with veggies and seasoning. Serve with half a cup quinoa.

Bonus recipe: Tosca’s beat-cravings bread

Sliced bread made with a recipe as a part of a sugar detox
SewcreamStudio/Getty

Try it as a snack toasted and spread with yogurt or avocado

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tbs. coconut flour
  • ¼ cup ground flax
  • ¼ cup ground chia seed
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. white or coconut vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Combine flours, flax, chia and baking soda; set aside.
  2. Beat eggs, honey and vinegar.
  3. Combine egg and flour mixes and pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.


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