What is The 21-Day Sugar Detox? | The 21DSD Blog

What is The 21-Day Sugar Detox®?

The 21-Day Sugar Detox® (21DSD) is a real food reset, to help you drop processed foods, reset your taste buds, enjoy the food you eat, and improve your health.

It helps you break the chains of processed foods and added sugars so that you can get off the blood sugar roller coaster and say good-bye to that afternoon slump.

You’ll discover places that sugar hides in your diet and find great-tasting and nutritious alternatives.

You’ll understand the effect of sugar and processed foods on your body and see just how great you can feel without them.

The foundation of The 21-Day Sugar Detox is simple – eliminate foods that cause sugar cravings, balance your blood sugar, and choose more healthy, nutrient-dense foods.

There are no pills, powders or shakes – just real, nourishing (not diet!) food.

The program has three levels, so if you’re currently eating everything under the sun or if you’re a hardcore Paleo enthusiast, there’s a plan just for you. There are even considerations for athletes, pregnant & nursing moms, pescetarians, and those with autoimmune conditions.

The basics – what you will eat on the 21DSD.

All levels of the program include meat, seafoods, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and limited fruits as well as a limited portion of starch flours per day.
Level 3 includes the above and no additional food groups.
Level 2 includes the above as well as full-fat dairy.
Level 1 includes the above as well as a limited amount of gluten-free grains and legumes per day.

All levels of the program are completely free of gluten, grain flours, sweeteners, alcohol, and artificial flavors.

Wondering if you can have a specific food on the 21DSD that isn't listed on the main Yes/No list?
Read: Can I have ______ on the 21DSD?

Wondering which brands and products we recommend on the 21DSD?
Read: 21DSD Approved Products and Brands

Which level is right for you?

In each book, there's a short quiz to help you determine that, but you can also choose for yourself.

Level 1 is perfect for you if you're looking to clean up your diet, get the sugar and refined foods out and reset your palate!
Level 2 is great for you if you're already living a gluten-free lifestyle, but are still dealing with cravings or are ready for a reset.
Level 3 is for you if you currently eat a Paleo or Primal type of diet who are still finding it difficult to avoid sweets, you're struggling to lose body fat, or your energy levels could be better.

Download the basic 21DSD program rules PDF for free!

The 21-Day Sugar Detox is a simple, realistic program that can help you break lifelong eating habits – that daily chocolate fix, grabbing donuts at the office, even adding sugar to your morning coffee. You’ll become conscious of the amount of sugar in the foods you eat, and discover how great you feel without it.

The 21DSD provides real-life solutions, amazing recipes, and easy food swaps to help you make better choices, long after the detox ends.


What is The 21-Day Sugar Detox? | The 21DSD BlogHow can I start the 21DSD?

Here are some quick steps to getting started!

Step 1: Download the basic rules of The 21-Day Sugar Detox Program.

You can download the basic rules for free by clicking the orange button above to get the general idea of what you'll be eating and avoiding on the 21DSD.

If you don't want or need additional recipes, resources, or support, you can simply follow that information for 21 days and off you go!

Step 2: Grab one or more of the printed books (and the online program if you like!)

If you do want more, then, I recommend that you grab a copy of The 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guideat a minimum and review the Official Program Guidelines starting on page 17. Then take the quiz on page 18 to determine your level, and review the portion size options on pages 22 to 23 to determine what is appropriate for you while on your 21DSD.

Read the pre-detox days (pages 32 to 40 in The 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide) the week before you begin.

While you can dive into the full 21DSD right away, I don’t recommend that. Lack of preparation is the number one reason why folks don’t finish the program. Yes, it’s a tough program, but it’s far, far easier when you prepare for it.

That means following the pre-detox daily pages in The 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide for seven days before you start your 21DSD.

These days will walk you through familiarizing yourself with the program, cleaning out your pantry and refilling it with detox-friendly ingredients, logging what you eat so you can anticipate what you’ll need to change on the program, and more. These prep days will make everything much easier and smoother once you start your detox.

Step 3: Enlist support and consider a coach!

A friend. A coworker. A family member. A Certified 21DSD Coach.

This is the perfect time to enlist a friend, coworker, or family member to join you on this journey. While we’ve got an amazing social network, including Team 21DSD, Certified 21DSD Coaches, and other detoxers, it’s always easier when people around you are going through the program, too.

And if, upon reading what this program entails, you’re feeling overwhelmed and think that you really want one-on-one support from a real person, we’ve got your back!

There are Certified 21DSD Coaches around the world who can help, whether in person or online—or both!

Our Certified Coaches all go through a training program specifically for the 21DSD so they can guide you through this program with the best possible support and a personal touch. There are coaches who specialize in working with people with particular concerns, from athletes to pregnant or breastfeeding moms to people with food allergies and autoimmunity. Our coaches have all completed the program themselves, so they know exactly what it’s like to be in your shoes and can give you that helping hand when you need it.

Find a Certified 21DSD Coach.

While many successfully complete this program without the additional help that a coach can provide, you know yourself better than we do, and if having the support of someone you can check in with regularly will help you succeed, then by all means, sign up with a coach. Our coaches are truly a phenomenal group of practitioners who are there to support you.

Step 4: Commit— join our online community, and let the world know!

Hop into the 21DSD Community to let us know that you’re in!

And, if you think daily videos and emails would help you stay on track, this is the time to sign up for those as well through the 21DSD online program.

If you enjoy using social media, share one of our fun “shareable” graphics to your accounts using #21DSD so we can follow along on your journey.

Step 5: Start your 21DSD!

That’s it! Once you’ve finished the pre-detox week, you’re ready to begin with day 1 of the 21DSD. Start with the guide for that day on page 44.

Boom, that's it!

I'm doing the #21DSD | The 21-Day Sugar Detox


Frequently Asked Questions about The 21-Day Sugar Detox

What kinds of foods will I be eating on The 21-Day Sugar Detox?

You will be eating real, whole, nutrient-dense foods. You will not be eating refined and highly processed foods. This program will require that you get your hands dirty in the kitchen, but there are loads of tips and tricks for how to manage the program while dining out, traveling, and overall living a busy modern life.

Will I need to purchase special foods or supplements to complete the program?

There are no special foods or supplements required to complete the 21DSD program. If you would like to make the recipes in the books (The 21-Day Sugar Detox, The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook, or The 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide), you may find some new ingredients within the recipes. There are resources within the books that explain where to find special ingredients.

I’m a vegetarian. Can I do The 21-Day Sugar Detox?

The 21-Day Sugar Detox is not a good fit for vegetarians or vegans.  We do offer a modification for pescetarians who include fish in their plant-based diet; this modification is detailed in both the The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox the same as a Paleo diet?

No. While The 21-Day Sugar Detox may eliminate added sweeteners, gluten, and soy and all processed foods, Levels 1 and 2 of the program include whole gluten-free grains and full-fat dairy and are not considered Paleo. Level 3 of the program, however, does align with Paleo eating.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox the same as a low carb diet?

No. While The 21-Day Sugar Detox may be lower in refined carbohydrates than a standard American diet, it includes carbohydrates from select grain, fruit and vegetable sources depending on your plan and modifications.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox the same as a keto diet?

No.  The 21-Day Sugar Detox is not a ketogenic program specifically. You are more than welcome to follow a very low-carb/ketogenic approach to the 21DSD but the program as-written isn't specifically keto.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox appropriate if I follow a strictly gluten-free diet?

Yes! This program is 100% gluten-free. It’s also soy-free, corn-free, and very allergen-free friendly. Level 3 of the program is also dairy-free.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox appropriate if I follow a Paleo or Primal diet?

Yes! You will follow either Level 2 or 3 of the program.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox safe if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Yes! Pregnant and breastfeeding moms can follow the notes on how to add more 21DSD friendly carbs to their plates within the program.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox safe if I am an athlete?

Yes! Athletes can follow the notes on how to add more 21DSD friendly carbs to their plates within the program.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox family-friendly/safe for children and teens?

Yes! With some small adjustments for young family members, the 21DSD is absolutely family-friendly. We don't recommend suggesting dietary limits for children that are beyond simply eating real, whole foods. So, for kids, we typically recommend they enjoy any food you're making on the program, in whatever portions they need, and that they do not limit their whole fruit intake.

Is The 21-Day Sugar Detox safe for diabetics?

First, The 21-Day Sugar Detox should not be seen as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
The 21DSD is a whole-foods based program, and is safe for anyone. That said, if you are under the care of a medical professional, are insulin dependent, or are taking blood sugar regulating medications, we recommend that you consult with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional program. You may find that your medications need to be adjusted with your new way of eating, and enlisting the support of your doctor will be important.

Have more questions? Drop us a line at