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“The truth is, if you’re able to gradually reduce your sugar intake and replace it with something else—like more fiber and more protein—you can stay off of it [indefinitely],” says Dr. Smith, the author of the new detox guide Blast the Sugar Out.

Here is a short clip from Well and Good:

Sugar’s been implicated in everything from chronic, life-threatening health issues—such as diabetes and heart disease—to skin problems and weight gain.

Health experts like Frank Lipman, MD, have gone so far as to call sugar “the devil”, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently required brands to better highlight the sugar content on food labels in a bigger way.

That’s because when you eat sugar, your blood glucose levels spike, which results in a burst of energy—followed by a quick crash, Susan Blum, MD, explains. “You can run your blood sugar up and down all day,” she explains, “because when you crash, you go looking for more sugar to pull yourself back up.” Should you try and feed your fatigue with more sugar—which you may have noticed does not work—the vicious cycle makes you feel run down and cranky.

Plus, sugar is extremely inflammatory in the body, warn both physicians. “It triggers the immune system,” Dr. Blum adds. And chronic inflammation is believed to be the basis of pretty much all disease, which is why sugar’s become such a problem child of ingredients.

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