Remove & Distract Yourself
Cravings have been said to only last a few minutes. Although during that time they can be overwhelmingly strong, our brain is much stronger. Try to distract yourself for at least 10-15 minutes. Going for a walk, getting from fresh air, refocusing on your goals, stretching, deep breathing or practicing yoga are all excellent choices to get you through to the other side.
When you feel the craving start to set in, set your timer for 15 minutes. If you can, go outside, grab some fresh air while taking 10 deep breaths while repeating the affirmation I am focused on achieving my goals and I only put goal supporting food and drinks into my body. I dont crave sweets, Im too good for that sh!t.
If youre at work, put your hands on your lap, take a few deep breaths. Walk away from your desk if you can to clear the air and energy so you return with a clear mind, focused, and ready to rock.
You have all the power within you to reach your goals and be bigger than your cravings and now you have 5 tools to help you access it!
Take A Positive Attitude
If you feel like quitting sugar is going to make you miserable, you probably wont stick with your commitment to give it up. Instead, adopt a positive attitude from the get-go.
Focus on all the upsides of quitting sugar: youll have more energy, your mind will be clearer, and you wont have to deal with sweet cravings anymore. You also wont have to worry about all the scary health problems sugar can cause.
The Pros And Cons Of Slowly Cutting Back
If cravings tend to get the better of you, you might prefer to slowly wean yourself off sugar.
The upside? This method takes longer, but it lets you avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Youll still have cravings, but theyll typically be more manageable.
The downside? If you choose this approach, its important to measure your sugar intake accurately. Figure out how much sugar youre eating every day, and cut back a little bit every day or every week. If youre not sure how to pace yourself, try cutting back by one teaspoon a day, the equivalent of one packet of sugar.
Heres how it works:
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Keep Your Brain On Its Toes Keep It Varied To Stop Sugar Cravings
Your brain craves novelty. It just does.
So you see, your brain loves the novelty of dynamic contrast, which is a combination of different sensations in the same food. Simply put, foods with dynamic contrast have a crunchy edible shell followed by soft or creamy textures and are full of taste-active compounds.
Dynamic contrast is moment-to-moment sensory contrast from ever-changing properties of foods manipulated in the mouth. Ice cream is an example: ice cream is something put in your mouth as a cold solid and then melts into a warm liquid.
Another example would be cereal. A bowl of breakfast granola cereal starts crispy, and after the first milk pour slowly starts to turn into something soft and almost creamy. Yum!
Dynamic contrast isnt only limited to foods that change texture upon eating. It can also describe foods that have multiple textures in each bite , like pizza. Pizza is deliciously crispy on the outside, while soft and warm on the inside. The dynamic contrast of crispy and soft keep you coming back for slice-after-slice!
Avoid Foods With High Sugar Content
The best way to control sugar cravings is by avoiding sugary foods such as sodas, fruit juice concentrates, and baked goods. Make your juices at home, replace sodas with lemon water, and always read the labels before buying any similar product. Opt for food items with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.
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Sugar Consumption Can Lead To Reduced Immunity
Studies have shown that sugar consumption can lower the bodys defenses. Once a persons blood sugar level reaches 120 mg/dl, the ability of their white blood cells to destroy viruses and other disease-causing microorganisms can reduce by up to 75%.
The goal of maintaining a blood sugar level of 120 mg/dl can be readily reached by eating a few cookies or sipping on a glass of bottled fruit juice. Your immune system is weakened within ten minutes of taking sugar, and your bodys ability to fight bacteria and viruses can be compromised for up to five hours after ingesting the sugar.
If you consume sugary meals numerous times a day, your defenses will be much more weakened and will likely last considerably longer.
Is It Worth It In The Long Term
Visualizing the long-term consequences of snacking or otherwise indulging can help some people to curb cravings.
These consequences may include:
- health risks
- feeling reduced levels of energy and happiness throughout the day
This exercise can also help a person to see the big picture and remember why they are dieting or trying to restrict their intake of certain foods.
Stress can play a role in hunger cravings, and long-term stressors can cause some people to crave foods that are sugary or more calorie-dense.
Finding ways to reduce stress may help to eliminate cravings.
Simple means of reducing stress, such as taking regular breaks from work, or even taking a few deep breaths, can help the body to refocus and calm the mind.
It may also help to try mindful stress-relieving practices, such as:
- breathing exercises
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Would I Eat A Piece Of Fruit
This exercise is called the fruit test. If a person cannot tell whether they are really hungry or just craving a sugary sweet, asking themselves whether they would eat a piece of whole fruit can help.
If the answer is yes, the body is likely hungry, and if the answer is no, a person may be having a craving.
Simple Ways To Reduce Stress
Make sure not to smoke or eat unhealthy foods as stress relief it will only provide temporary relief. And remember, one of our goals in easing stress is reducing cravings. In the long term, it will only damage your mind and body.
Another effective technique is being more mindful of your emotions. Instead of judging your emotions or running on autopilot, observe what youre feeling and acknowledge them. You can write it down in your private journal to relieve stress. Speaking with close friends also helps.
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When To See A Doctor
If you find yoruself feeling dizzy without sugar, or having regular cravings, it’s time to call a professional, as it could indicate a deeper problem. If you are craving sweets chronically, Goodman says this may indicate that you have hypoglycemia, for instance.
Even if it’s a sign of a nutritional deficiency, a professional can help determine what you’re lacking, how much you need, and ensure the lack of the vitamin or nutrient doesn’t lead to further problems. Magnesium deficiency, for example, has been linked to everything from osteoporosis to type 2 diabetes to heart disease. . When our body doesnt have enough magnesium, it will have trouble bringing energy into the cells and thus, feel deprived and crave sugar, Fahad explains.
How To Stop Sugar Cravings Like A Pro
Figuring out how to curb sugar cravings involves building a good set of habits and best practices around your food choices and meals, as well as taking the time to delve a little deeper into why and not necessarily what you eat. After all, experts say that food cravings or sugar cravings have more to do with your psychological need for a reward instead of your physical need for food.4
Read on for some helpful tips on how to curb sugar cravings, hopefully for good.
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Switch Up Your Morning Coffee
Speaking of coffee, there are lots of natural ways to make your morning cup of java taste great besides sugar. Herbs and spices can add a subtle flavor without overpowering the taste of your coffee itself.
Here are some ideas:
- Add some cinnamon powder to your coffee grounds or stir a quarter-teaspoon directly into your coffee for a spicy, sweet taste.
- Mix a couple of ground cardamom pods into your coffee grounds for a Middle Eastern twist.
- Stir cocoa powder into freshly brewed coffee for an extra dose of antioxidants.
- Add a few drops of pure vanilla extract for a slightly sweet, creamy fragrance.
- Spice up your coffee with your favorite chai tea blend.
Know The Difference Between A Craving And Hunger
Oftentimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just having a craving. What’s the difference? Next time you want to reach for that chocolate cake, ask yourself: if the only thing I had to eat right now was an apple, would I eat it? If the answer is “no,” then you’re probably having a craving and not actually hungry. When you’re hungry, what you’re willing to eat is flexible, when you’re having a craving, it’s not. The next time you answer “no” to that question, take 20 minutes before you act on it. Often you’ll find that the craving goes away if it doesn’t then allow yourself to mindfully indulge.
“You can also try to replace that craving with a healthy substitute,” says Kien Vuu, MD, a performance and longevity doctor and the author of Thrive State. Whenever I experience a craving, I’ll either go for a walk or sip on sparkling water. I find that if I don’t act on my initial craving and allow some time to pass, my craving will usually dissipate on its own.”
When flavored water doesn’t do the trick, Cassetty tells her clients that one of the easiest ways to lower your added sugar intake is to swap out your usual dessert for something like Lily’s Sweets. “They’re botanically sweetened chocolate treats with no added sugar. A sweet like this doesn’t count toward your daily added sugar intake.” Note, however, even botanically sweetened treatsaka stevia-sweetened onesshould be consumed in moderation, as previously mentioned.
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Good Stress Is Acute Good Stress Will Boost You Into Action And Increase Efficiency
For example, exercise is a wonderful positive stress. It is acute and acts as a stressor, but the long term effect helps manage chronic stress , boosts our mood, and also improves our ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Nothing makes you grumpier than a bad nights sleep, am I right?!
Now, chronic stress is a good example of bad-for-you stress. It has a very negative impact on the brain and whole body. Ive had it, and its not fun. Chronic stress is a response to emotional stress suffered over a long period of time. Its something that a person perceives they have little or no control over.
Examples related to chronic stress include serious life events like the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, loneliness, overworking, or ongoing marital problems.
Did you know even external factors like air pollution, noise pollution, processed foods can act as stressors for our body too?
On top of the increased food cravings, prolonged chronic mental stress can also lead to increased blood pressure, which predisposes a person to getting a stroke.
Make Sure Youre Getting Enough Calories
Sounds like a joke, right? But often when were dieting, we restrict too much and end up with cravings. When you dont eat enough, or you eat the wrong things, your body starts looking for fuel fast, as a way to catch up. So what does it do? Crave sugar! Sugar gives you quick energy, even though its not quality energy.
The only way to get around this is to eat whole foods, and break the sugar cravings cycle once and for all.
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Why Is Sugar Addicting
What’s wrong with sugar, you ask? Everything. Outside of making things taste better, sugar has no nutritional value and is full of empty calories. These calories can create weight problems and, in turn, heighten your risk of heart disease and stroke.
That’s only the physical downside. The psychological component is real, too. Sugar releases dopamine and can increase serotonin production, a hormone that can boost your mood.
In reality, sugar isn’t any different than comfort food or a satisfying fast food meal loaded with simple carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are high on the glycemic index, meaning it takes less time to turn them into glucose. During this quicker digestion process, you may feel good in the short term, but hunger will quickly set in since sugary foods lack nutrients and leave you unsatisfied.
It can turn into a vicious cycle. At first, the sugar you eat tastes good, bringing on a “high” when your brain initiates the dopamine release. Then, the sugar causes your insulin levels to increase, leading to a drop in blood sugar levels. As your blood sugar falls, your appetite and hunger levels increase. Your body then craves sugar again to fix any hunger deficiencies or feelings of unease, even if the fix is only temporary.
To Get To Your Own Base Sugar Craving Causes Youll Need To Sit Down And Work On Some Introspection
If you want to start taking action on how to stop sugar cravings, write down notes on your emotional triggers. Write down how you feel when a craving hits and what situation causes you to want to eat. Then record what you experience when you eat your favourite junk food , and how you feel afterwards.
You can find dozens of worksheets to help you with this in Cut the Sugar, but these introspective triggers are a great way to start working on your sugar cravings causes. These internal factors can really impact your food habits.
However, on the external factor front, the good news is that there are many general hacks and habits you can implement today that can help you cut down on junk food cravings that are one-size fits all. Yep, they work for everyone, including me!
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How Can I Stop Sugar Cravings Naturally
As you might already know, sugar can tantalize the taste buds, but if you overindulge in it, you will have to deal with other complications.
Therefore, if you are thinking of breaking the vice-like grip that sugar has on your body, look at some of the natural ways of curbing sugar cravings:
- Eat Food Regularly Throughout the Day
If you skip meals, you will have low blood sugar, increasing your sugar cravings therefore, if you can eat within one hour after you have woken up and after every three hours, your blood sugar levels will be steady.
Eating the right meals also matters, such as proteins and fiber-rich foods. These foods are filling and healthy.
- Steer Clear of Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates such as white pasta and white bread can dramatically cause spikes and drops in your blood sugar levels. This can lead to sugar cravings and hunger. So, replace the refined carbs with complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, etc.
- Take Natural Sugars Instead of Refined Sugars
When you are tempted to go for refined sugars, opt for fruit. When you sink your teeth in an apple or any other fruit, the sugar craving will dissipate, and the fiber in the fruits will stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Take a Walk
When you eat sugar, your brain releases serotonin, which is the hormone that stabilizes your mood. Thats why you will feel good when eating sugary stuff. However, exercise also causes the brain to release serotonin, thus making you feel good.
Sugar Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
Numerous studies have found that added sugars can produce changes in neurochemistry and behavior similar to those of other addictive drugs. When initially cutting out sugar after long-term use, one may experience withdrawal symptoms. Sugar detox symptoms should resolve within a few days, but may include:
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Stick To Healthy Balanced And Well
It isnt always easy distinguishing between actual hunger and just feeling a little peckish. But as you try to figure it out, a good strategy is to fill up on a well-balanced, nutritious meal when you start craving something sweet. It may not be what your brain is asking for, but your body will thank you in the long run. Choose protein-rich foods or those with fiber. These keep you satiated longer.5
If Youve Got It Really Bad Here Is Supplemental Support
- 500 mg 1000mg of glutamine really helps some people. Break open the capsules and empty under your tongue, then swallow with water. This does not work for everyone.
- certain minerals like chromium help arrest sugar cravingsyou can often find them in blood sugar balance blends with other herbs or nutrients to help stop sugar cravings. Examples are gymnema, alpha lipoic acid, and even cinnamon. Body Ecology Ancient Minerals is awesome.
- Try this crave arrest to help balance brain chemicals that can cause cravings.
- Have a cup of green tea. It may sound preposterous, but we sometimes mistake hunger or craving cues for thirst, and the minerals in green tea give you a boost. Minerals in general also help stop sugar cravings. Drink lots of green juicesvery high in minerals!
- Have a protein snack using suggestions above. As I mentioned, when blood sugar is low, you actually need protein, not sugar.
Stick to dark chocolate it has health benefitsor truffles over hard candy, and bring treats that dont contain refined sugars to parties. Its ok to treat yourself every once in a while, and I often recommend sugar busting snacks in the afternoon, like coconut butter or coconut oil melted with almond butter and a bit of honey that can satisfy a craving. Remember that indulging in too much sugar every day will only make sugar cravings worse, so save the treats for parties and special occasions.
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