Feel Like Crap? Need a Detox?

FEBRUARY 3, 2014 | VOL 21

Feel Like Crap? Need a Detox?

Detox is big these days. Everybody’s talking about it and trying it—juicing, fasting, cleansing, odd diets, colonics, and more. There are ancient healing systems that teach about detoxification, including Ayurveda. And each approach has its pros and cons.

But I think that America needs a very different kind of detox, a medical detox from sugar and flour, a super addictive combo that has hijacked our taste buds, our brain chemistry, and our metabolism. A scientifically designed medical detox program is the only way to regain health for millions of suffering and addicted Americans.

We are a nation of food addicts, not metaphorically but literally. Americans eat 146 pounds of sugar and 152 pounds of flour every year. That’s almost a pound of sugar and flour for every man, woman, and child in America every single day! It has led to an epidemic of unprecedented obesity and disease.

Nearly 70% of adults and 40% of kids are overweight. One in two Americans has pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. And 90 percent who have this condition—what I call diabesity—have no clue. Yet, this is the single biggest cause of heart disease, many cancers, dementia, and even depression, infertility, and acne. In fact, sugar and flour (which raises blood sugar more than table sugar) are the biggest causes of liver damage in America—fatty liver disease, which affects 90 million Americans, including little kids who need liver transplants by the time they are teenagers.

And our hyper-processed, hyper-palatable, hyper-addictive factory-made industrial diet not only makes us fat, it makes us sick in hundreds of ways. And most of us need a detox.

There are three easy ways to know if you need to detox.

The first is FLC Syndrome? That is when you Feel Like Crap. The second is if you have “diabesity” and the last is if you are a food addict.

Take these three quizzes to see if you need a detox.

Do You Have FLC Syndrome?

If you have any of these symptoms, you have FLC syndrome:

  • Fatigue
  • Bloating and fluid retention
  • Constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, or reflux
  • Congestion, allergies, asthma, sinus issues
  • Brain fog
  • Depression, anxiety, trouble focusing
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain or trouble losing weight
  • Bad skin—acne, eczema, psoriasis
  • Joint or muscle pain or aching
  • Canker sores
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Any chronic disease

If you have any of these symptoms, a detox might help.

There are two other short quizzes that can help you know if it’s time to detox. First, you may have diabesity—the spectrum of blood sugar imbalances that range from mild to full-blown type 2 diabetes.

Do I Have Diabesity?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you could be at risk. Answer ‘yes’ to many and you surely have a problem and would benefit from a sugar detox like the one I created in my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.

  1. Do you have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, or obesity?
  2. Are you of nonwhite ancestry (African, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Indian, Middle Eastern)?
  3. Are you overweight (body mass index or BMI over 25)? Go to www.10daydetox.com/resources to calculate your BMI based on weight and height.
  4. Do you have extra belly fat? Is your waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men?
  5. Do you crave sugar and refined carbohydrates?
  6. Do you have trouble losing weight on a low-fat diet?
  7. Has your doctor told you that your blood sugar is a little high (greater than 100 mg/dl) or have you actually been diagnosed with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or diabetes?
  8. Do you have high levels of triglycerides (over 100 mg/dl) or low HDL (good) cholesterol (<50 mg/dl)?
  9. Do you have heart disease?
  10. Do you have high blood pressure?
  11. Are you inactive (less than 30 minutes of exercise 4 times a week)?
  12. Do you suffer from infertility, low sex drive, or sexual dysfunction?
  13. For women: Have you had gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome?

Are You Addicted to Food (Sugar and Flour)?

My friend and colleague Kelly Brownell, Ph.D., formerly from Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, has created a validated food questionnaire to help you determine if you are a food addict. Here are some clues that you may be addicted to sugar, flour, and processed food. The more intensely or more frequently you experience these feelings and behaviors, the more addicted you are:

  1. You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
  2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
  4. You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
  5. You have spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating certain foods, instead of spending time in important activities, such as time with family, friends, work, or recreation.
  6. You have had withdrawal symptoms, such as agitation and anxiety, when you cut down on certain foods (do not include caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and energy drinks in this).
  7. Your behavior with respect to food and eating causes you significant distress.
  8. Issues related to food and eating decrease your availability to function effectively (daily routine, job/school, social or family activities, health difficulties).
  9. You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or to reduce negative emotions.

If any of these statements apply to you, don’t worry—you’re far from alone. Millions of people in every corner of the world have fallen into the food addiction trap. There is a way out!

How Detox Works

The most powerful, simplest, and most delicious detox is available to anyone, anywhere, anytime by eating real, whole, fresh food. The reason I wrote The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet was to create a goof-proof, step-by-step plan to end food addiction, reverse diabesity, and heal FLC Syndrome all at once. The body has extraordinary healing and reparative systems. They just need to be activated by taking out the bad stuff and putting in the good stuff.

This detox works because it removes all Frankenfoods (food-like substances) and all addictive foods, chemicals, and drugs for just 10 days, so the body can reboot and reset. Think of it as turning your body back to its original factory settings. When people have FLC Syndrome or are addicted to processed foods, sugar, and flour, they need a medically designed detox program. This is no deprivation; it is about abundance and pleasure and recognizing that, by giving the body a break from junk, cravings, chronic symptoms, and blood sugar imbalances can be easily overcome for most.

What’s “out” is sugar (in any form), gluten, and dairy (inflammatory foods), grains, beans, processed factory-made foods, refined vegetable oils, alcohol, and caffeine.

What’s “in” is real, whole, fresh food, including food that boosts liver detox pathways, that reduces inflammation, balances blood sugar, improves gut function, and normalizes gut bacteria (bad bugs in the gut are increasingly linked to weight gain and inflammation). Also “in” are gentle exercise, hydration, journaling, detox supplements (a multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, and a special fiber called PGX), deep relaxation, adequate sleep (7-8 hours), and a balanced daily rhythm.

I led a group of 600 people through this detox. They lost over 4000 pounds in 10 days and lost an average of 2 inches from their waist and 1.4 inches from their hips. The average blood sugar dropped 18 points and blood pressure dropped 11 points. But more importantly, it fixed their FLC Syndrome!

In just 10 days, all symptoms from all diseases dropped by 62 percent. That included fatigue, migraines, irritable bowel, reflux, joint and muscle pain, rashes and hives, acne, depression, anxiety, binge eating and cravings, and more—in other words, any symptom of FLC Syndrome. There is no drug on the planet that can produce those results—except food!

Is Detox Safe and Who Should Do it?

This detox—a simple, whole food, anti-inflammatory, healing plan is good for everyone. Is it safe to eat fruit and vegetables, clean protein, nuts and seeds, and good fats? That’s like asking if it’s safe to drink water or breathe air or take a walk. It’s not calorie, fat, protein, or carb restricted. It is simply eating whole, unprocessed, real food. If it has a label, don’t eat it. If it was made in a factory, don’t eat it. It should have a very short distance from the field to your fork. The reason it is so powerful is that it uses food as medicine. In fact, what you put at the end of your fork is more powerful than anything you will find in a prescription bottle. If you eat the right foods, the body knows what to do, and you can regain your health in a just a few days. You can end FLC Syndrome, food addiction, and sugar and carb craving and be on your way to reversing diabesity in just 10 days.

To download a sneak preview go to www.10daydetox.com, or pre-order the book on Amazon and follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

And if you like this House Call, I encourage you to share it with your friends and family on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for the newsletter, and submit your questions, so that, next week, I may make a House Call to you.

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD

Download this week’s article – Feel Like Crap? Need a Detox?

19 Responses to Feel Like Crap? Need a Detox?

  1. Maria February 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Is it possible to reverse or stop vascular dementia?

  2. Beth February 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    Beans? Uh Oh. I eat a plant-based diet. Even though a Pitta-Vata and beans can blow me up like Aunt Marge in Harry Potter, beans are a big part of my protein intake, as is quinoa (a seed). I don’t eat animals or animal products, can I still participate in this detox? Thanks. Love your work.

  3. Norma February 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    I just purchased your blood sugar solution book. So do I go ahead on this plan or do I need to do the 10 day plan? I am so confused! I have been suffering with a terrible rash on my hands for the last 3 years and am trying to heal them. I recently went on the elimination diet and noticed my hands started improving after stopping gluten.

  4. Dalyn February 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Question…is this 10 day detox vegetarian or vegan friendly?

  5. Patty February 5, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    And what about type 1 diabetes? can it be reversed also?

  6. jawed khan February 5, 2014 at 3:47 am #

    HI There,
    Thanks for all information you have being sending me,it pleased me.lived in poor country,Pakistan with lots of unhygienic living condition especially environment ,food & life style is very different.fresh food is available but air & water pollution are higher then civilize countries.Need to be care full about health.
    Thanks again for helping me with proven in formations
    With all Blessing,
    jawed khan.

  7. Valerie Powell February 5, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    This detox makes perfect sense to me, with one exception. While do you remove beans from the diet during the detox? I would think the fiber and resistant starch would be helpful fir cleansing and balancing blood sugar.

  8. Alexandra February 5, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    How does your new 10-day detox book accommodates vegans?

  9. Amy February 5, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Hi Dr. Hyman,
    I am training to be a health coach and love your work. I came across your work a few years ago and it was your office that directed me towards being a health coach. I have found my passion–thank you so much!
    One main problem I have in my life is, I’m ashamed to say, convenience. I resist it, then find myself falling right into the trap, time and time again. Right now I am making sandwiches for lunch because that is what works best for my lifestyle right now and I hate myself for it. I used to cook on the weekends and make meals for the week. I used to make salads in the summer. Now, it’s winter and I have no access to a microwave during the day. It’s too convenient to have a sandwich handy that I can wolf down during breaks, or go to a fast food restaurant, or throw a frozen meal into the microwave when I come home from work.
    I feel I am my own worst enemy. I have gained 20 pounds in the last 5 years and I hate it. I would love to make healthy foods that are grab and go throughout the work week. The other big factor right now is expense–sandwich meats and bread are right in my budget. Plus, my teeth appreciate the softer foods more than the salads.
    I love the idea of being health conscious, being a smart, healthy buyer, being a smart, healthy chef and cooking up a storm in the kitchen, and serving a variety of healthful meals. In reality, I am doing the opposite and I’m so frustrated.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am so grateful for your works. Thank you.

  10. Nancy February 5, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    I have all the systems you described. I need this detox, because I have IBS real bad. I have to take miralax in the mornings so I can go to the bathroom. Stay blooded all the time. Hard to find the right food. Crave sweets all the time. Cannot exercise because have no energy. Can you help me.

  11. bonnie February 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    I was advised to give up pasteurized milk, which I did. I switched to coconut or almond milk. But now my concern is that they contain carrageenan and I don’t think I should drink this either. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  12. Dalyn February 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    Will this detox work if you don’t eat animals?

    • Mark Hyman, MD January 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi Dalyn,

      Yes! You can follow the detox and use tempeh, tofu, nuts and seeds for protein, along with eggs and fish if you eat those.

      Did you know you can work with Dr. Hyman’s nutritionists virtually? For personalized nutrition coaching where you can receive 1:1 support with registered dietitians, please see: http://store.drhyman.com/Store/List/Coaching-Programs

  13. Matt Ridder February 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Hi Dr Hyman,
    I know you’re not taking new patients but I think you might be interested in me and my auto immune. I was diagnosed with eosinophilic fascitiis. A very debilitating disease to say the least. My feet and ankles are frozen solid, knees stuck in bent position. My hands are contracted and stuck in a claw like shape, wrists are frozen. And my hands and feet are hard as wood! I’m doing your ultra simple diet as we speak, on day 10 and keeping my fingers crossed thus body will reboot! I was very active prior to this, but my diet was never very good. As with all or most auto immunes conventional medicine has no answers.

  14. Pene February 6, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    If beans and grains are out -what time of protein do you recommend?

    • Pene February 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

      Sorry,that was what ‘type’ of protein do you recommend?

  15. karri February 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Why have you added beans as no-no’s to this particular detox? They were allowed on the Ultra Simple Diet detox.

  16. Deb February 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    I don’t understand the math/units here:

    “We are a nation of food addicts, not metaphorically but literally. Americans eat 146 pounds of sugar and 152 pounds of flour every year. That’s almost a pound of sugar and flour for every man, woman, and child in America every single day! It has led to an epidemic of unprecedented obesity and disease.”

    Is that each American eats 146 pounds of sugar and 152 pounds of flour every year, on average? There are 365 days in a year, right? And how does that equate to every man, woman and child?

  17. Bonnie Pickhardt February 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    I am overjoyed to find confirmation that I don’t need to detox. 🙂
    Best wishes.

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