When I started looking into the 21 Day Sugar Detox, I scoured the internet in search of honest reviews but I had a hard time finding anything that didn’t read like a sales pitch or an affiliate link. I wrote a week one recap, but got busy and decided to wait and write an honest review of the 21 Day Sugar Detox program after I finished it. (Spoiler Alert: I only made it to Day 19 before I said, “Screw all these rules!” and ate a candy bar.)
So here it is:
- Why I chose 21 Day Sugar Detox
- What I liked about the program
- What I didn’t like about the program
- What I WISH I had known before I started the program
- Would I recommend this program?
Why I chose 21 Day Sugar Detox:
As a recovering food addict, I know that refined sugar, white flour and that sort of thing really have no place in my healthy eating plan. I have resigned myself to this fact, and to be honest, I’m perfectly happy with things like fresh fruit & veggies, whole wheat, and lean proteins most of the time. I like Stevia, almond butter, almond milk, and coconut oil. I am currently cooking through an entire clean eating cookbook on Instagram. I scour Pinterest for Paleo recipes because my little one is lactose-intolerant and to live without alfredo sauce feels like an injustice.
The problem is that I also like sugar. Specifically when I’m feeling stressed, upset, bored or even when I just want to celebrate something good that happened in my life. I recently started an 18 month recovery program for food addiction and compulsive eating, and I’m ready to move beyond being a sugar junkie.
Enter the 21 Day Sugar Detox program. It promises to help you “bust sugar and carb cravings naturally” through 3 weeks of clean eating. I decided to give it a try, so I ordered the full package from the 21 Day Sugar Detox website and started gearing up for 21 days of
misery sugar-free living.
What I liked about the program:
- Most of the recipes are relatively simple and easy to follow. This matters when you’re limited on time, just learning to cook, or if you’ve got small children underfoot while you’re making dinner.
- Both the book and cookbook can be used as part of your everyday cooking, not just when you’re on a sugar detox. There are so many great recipes that I will continue to incorporate into our weekly meal planning! We particularly liked the “perfect grilled chicken” recipe found in the original book.
- It isn’t a one-size-fits-all program. You can choose from one of three levels, depending on how restricted you want to be. This is good news for those who, like me, have a REALLY hard time saying no to sweets.
- It includes meal plans. For those who dread meal planning or don’t event want to think about figuring out what to eat on your own, you will LOVE this part. The meal plans rely on leftovers a good bit, too, so it minimizes your cook/prep time. I did not use the meal plans because I prefer to build my meal plans around what’s on sale each week.
- It forces you to try new things and get creative. When faced with three weeks without diet sodas, I ventured into the world of cold brew coffee. Oh. My. Stars. Mixed with whole milk or unsweetened almond milk? Bliss.
What I didn’t like about the program:
- You can’t have ANY kind of sweetener, not even stevia. Although I totally, 100% get why this is not allowed, I still found this to be the most difficult restriction. (Strange, but true.) I cheated once and drank a diet soda. It tasted really fake sweet to me (I wonder why?!?), and I realized that what I liked about it was the fizzy factor. I switched to seltzer.
- It calls for weird and/or expensive ingredients. If you’re familiar with the Paleo lifestyle, this will not surprise you. You’re probably well versed in specialty flour substitutes like almond meal and the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter. (Turns out it’s like peanut OIL vs. peanut BUTTER.) That might explain a thing or two about my not-so-awesome almond butter cups.
- There are a lot of coconut-based ingredients. If you do not like the flavor of coconut, then you’re going to need to get creative because you’ll find coconut products in a LOT of recipes. I made a smoothie with coconut milk and literally gagged when I tried to drink it. It felt like I was slurping a bottle of canola oil. I also tried to make coconut flour biscuits one night. My family could not get past the coconut flavor so we ended up tossing them into the trash. It is a rare thing thing for a southerner to throw away a biscuit.
- There are no portion restrictions or limits on fat consumption. If portion control is NOT a problem for you, this is fine. For those of us who struggle with compulsive overeating, this may not be the best thing since we have a hard time stopping EVEN if we feel full. I chose not to track with Weight Watchers while I was on the program, and found myself eating a lot more fat than normal. I lived by the mantra “Bring on the bacon and blue cheese!” This might explain why I didn’t gain weight during those three weeks, but I didn’t lose any either. (Disclaimer: I DO think healthy fats play an important role in a healthy diet, but I personally still need to monitor how much I eat of them.)
What I wish I had known before I started the program:
- Unless you just REALLY love podcasts/videos or have special dietary concerns, you can probably live without the online components. If I had a do-over, I would just order the book and cookbook from Amazon. I spent $70 on the two books plus the online program, thinking that there would be a lot more “program” to the online portion. There is not much there aside from the startup guide and the modification guides for special diets. You do get access to podcasts, videos and daily emails during the 21 Day group challenge, but honestly, I didn’t have a lot of time to delve into all of that. I am sure that it’s great for some people, but I don’t think it’s essential.
- Everyone warns you about detox symptoms, and they are NOT exaggerating. I haven’t been this tired since my infant had colic and I was breastfeeding every two hours during the night. I actually went to bed at the same time as my toddler. By the end of week 2, I felt like a million bucks, but the first week was brutal. On the plus side, I did NOT need melatonin to go to sleep and once the fatigue went away, I had amazing mental clarity.
- Extreme dietary restrictions CAN trigger a negative reaction in people with food addiction or eating disorders. I’ve cut sugar before and lived without it for years when I was younger, so why should this be a big deal? I don’t know, but it was. I stayed mostly on plan, but enjoyed a glass of Prosecco and a few bites of dessert with the Hubs while we were out of town. No guilt. No problem. Fast forward to week 3? I was sick of all the rules! I drove to the store and bought a freakin’ candy bar. It wasn’t even about the candy. It was more about the fact that I had no idea how to cope with the stress of life without sugar. Obviously, it’s going to take more than 21 days to fix this.
Would I recommend this program?
Short answer? Yes. Although I did slip up a few times, this program really helped to retrain my taste buds. It taught me to be more aware of what I eat and to stop and savor the natural flavors of my food. I won’t be making my own mayo or drinking any more full-fat coconut milk anytime soon, but I now have the courage (and the confidence) to try new things like making my own almond milk.
Most people who are looking to do a sugar detox will be quite happy with the program, the recipes and the overall experience. If you’re looking to go Paleo, this is definitely a great resource for you.
If you’re someone who struggles with emotional eating, food addiction or compulsive eating? Make sure you’ve got lots of support lined up in the days leading up the detox. Identify a plan of action to cope with stress or negative emotions BEFORE you begin and you’ll fare better than I did.
What do you think about 21 Day Sugar Detox?
I hope my honest review of the 21 Day Sugar Detox program has been helpful for you! I’d love to hear about your experience. What do you think of the program? What do you like/dislike? Any tips for newbies? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
*Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through Amazon, I will make a small commission that helps keeps the lights on here at the blog. Full policy here.