Sugar is one of the leading causes of weight gain and illness—and this is why many diet programs are bent on cutting it out of daily consumption.

While there are different types of sugar, varying in healthfulness, the general idea is that regardless of the nutrition plan that you adopt, consuming more than the required daily value of sugar can bring more harm than good to the body. And with the many sweet temptations all around, who can resist just one more bite?

Fortunately, there is a way to give our bodies a break by undergoing a sugar detox diet. This program has had varying methods, with some promising to detoxify the body in just seven days and other taking up to a month or so. According to nutritionists, drastically cutting certain types of food out of one’s diet is not a sustainable lifestyle approach in the long term (not to mention potentially dangerous), so detoxing on sugar should be done gradually and carefully.

Here are some ways you can adopt a sugar detox diet, without eventually suffering low blood sugar levels, fatigue, dizziness and other related deficiency symptoms.

1. Try going cold turkey for three days

Nutritionists say that is you’re not really a sugar binger, it is possible to just cut sugar from your diet—specifically added sugars. This applies to both adults and children. At the start of your sugar detox plan, going cold turkey has been observed to work. This means getting rid of added sugars, as well as fruits, starchy veggies, grains, alcohol and dairy. Focus on eating healthy fats, high fiber vegetables, and protein. The same goes for artificial sweeteners.

2. Go for an apple

After your three-day cold turkey plan, having an apple will be heavenly. During the time you took sugar out of your system, your palate will naturally recalibrate and you will begin to appreciate natural sugars, mostly found in fruits. You can gradually add one fruit or one dairy food per day. Recommended dairy treats include unsweetened or full-fat cheese or yogurt. You may add berries after a week and small servings of starchy vegetables.

3. Don’t turn calories into a drink

Some people think a liquid diet is a fool-proof plan to weight plan and healthy living—but it all really depends on what you put into your drink. Liquid calories, according to health experts, are worse than solid food that contains flour or sugar. For example: one bottle of Gatorade contains some 14 teaspoons of sugar.

4. Find out which carbs are the right ones

Vegetables are a great source of carbohydrates, and not just the starchy ones. After your three-day cold turkey session, you can enjoy unlimited servings on high-carb but non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, onions, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, and more. Still, steer clear of beets, potatoes, squash and like.

5. Choose fat over sugar

Several studies show that sugar has a bigger effect on obesity compared to fat, so if it comes down to making a choice, choose fat over sugar. In fact, fat makes you feel sated and, alongside protein, should be included in your daily diet. Foods rich in good fat include coconut butter, nuts, omega 3 fats from fish, avocados, and seeds.

Finally, drink plenty of water, or at least 250 ml per day. Don’t drink it with a meal because it will result in poor digestion. If possible, add some lemon to your water and have it on an empty stomach. Water helps the kidneys flush excess sugar out of your system.

Sugar cubes
This photograph shows sugar cubes and a miniature shopping trolley Getty Images/Joel Saget/AFP