Best Foods That Stop Sugar Cravings
Written by: John Dicey | Last updated / reviewed: 03 Feb 2021
So, what are the foods that curb sugar cravings? The answer might surprise you.
When someone experiences a sugar craving they assume that the only thing that might satisfy the food craving? is sugar itself. Its ironic but the one thing that will never satisfy a craving for sugar is sugar.
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How To Break The Sugar Habit
Our sugar-laden diet is literally killing us. That’s the conclusion of a study reported at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in March 2013. The study authors attributed 180,000 annual deaths worldwide25,000 in the United States aloneto sugary beverages. Sodas and fruit drinks aren’t our only sources of sugar. The average American eats between 22 and 30 teaspoons of added sugar each day, according to the AHA.
“The harmful effects of sugar are primarily due to the weight gain from added sugar in the foods we eat and sugar-sweetened beverages,” says Dr. Michelle Hauser, certified chef and nutrition educator and clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Most of the deaths are related to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.”
How much sugar do we actually need? According to AHA guidelines, women shouldn’t get more than 100 of our daily calories from added sugar. In reality, “you don’t need any added sugar,” Dr. Hauser says.
Break The Sugar Addiction
If you’re “hooked” on sugar, don’t try to eliminate all sugary foods at once. If you deny yourself even a single piece of candy or sliver of cake, you’ll only crave sweets more. Instead, eat a healthy diet made up of more satisfying foodswhole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, and lean protein. “Steer yourself away from sugar and eat these foods, which are digested more slowly. They’ll help to even out your blood sugar and you won’t have spikes and crashes all the time,” Dr. Hauser says.
Here are a few suggestions to help you break the sugar habit:
Keep sugary foods away. Don’t tempt yourself by stocking candy, cookies, and other high-sugar foods in your cupboards and fridge. “As a substitute for these things, keep fruit around,” suggests Dr. Hauser.
Sweeten foods yourself. Start with unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, and unflavored oatmeal. Then add your own sweetener. No matter how much sweetener you add, you probably won’t put in as much as the manufacturer would have, according to Dr. Hauser.
Watch for hidden sugars in foods. Be wary of foods where sugar tends to hide, including reduced-fat products. “When companies take out the fat, they add back almost all the calories in sugar,” Dr. Hauser says. Read labels. Avoid products that list sugar as the first ingredient or that contain several different types of sugar it’s one way manufacturers avoid having sugar listed as the first ingredient.
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Eat When Youre Hungry
Times of intense hunger are not times to make level-headed decisions about the best foods to eat. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. In this case, that means planning or prepping healthy meals ahead of time so youll have them on hand when you get hungry. A solid meal plan for the week will make it that much easier for you to stay on track.
Like I mentioned above, eating enough nutrient-rich foods like proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables will help stop extreme hunger and blood sugar swings. This makes it easier to choose healthy options as sugar cravings hit stronger when you allow yourself to get extremely hungry. Especially when this hunger is combined with stress or lack of sleep!
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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What Natural Supplements Or Concoctions Can I Use To Curb Sugar Cravings
Common ways people reduce their sugar cravings include consuming lemon water or apple cider vinegar both of these are on the sour side and can increase protein digestion. A detoxifying tea loaded with Superfood Turmeric is perfect for beating inflammation and reducing those cravings as well. As a protein source, supplementing with Collagen Peptides and Superfood Matcha can go a long way for curbing cravings as well!
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After working in integrative and functional medicine as a chiropractor and nutritionist for over 15 years, Dr. Chris Oswald joined Further Food as Chief Science Officer in charge of new product development. On top of his list of new products to creat…
Drink A Large Glass Of Lemon Water
We so often confuse thirst with hunger. Lemon water hydrates and offers our palate a clean slate, as well as aids the body in its natural detoxification process and promotes alkalization.
This is a great tool mid-afternoon trick in between meals, if and when you start to feel the craving monsters creep in. Because water can dilute our digestive enzymes and interfere with the breakdown and digestion of our food, opt for a tip #1, 5, or peppermint essential oil if dealing with a craving post meal.
Bring lemon wedges in the ziplock bag with you to work. Try adding them to your water in the afternoon. Alternatively, pack a peppermint essential oil with you in your purse for post-meal cravings.
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Sugar Is More Addictive Than Hard Drugs
First of all, sugar is habit-forming and addictive.
This statement may sound obvious, but whats not so obvious is just how addictive sugar really is.
Recent studies have demonstrated that addiction to sugar works through endogenous opioid reward systems in your brain.
Not only that, unlike most addictive drugs that dont touch your taste buds, eating sugar also interacts with hunger hormones and disrupts your bodys ability to maintain a healthy weight.
This excerpt from a 2013 paper published in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care drives home the fascinating reasons that sugar is so addictive:
Available evidence in humans shows that sugar and sweetness can induce reward and craving that are comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugsOverall, this research has revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine, but can even be more rewarding and attractive. At the neurobiological level, the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward appear to be more robust than those of cocaine, possibly reflecting past selective evolutionary pressures for seeking and taking foods high in sugar and calories
Additionally, most artificial sweeteners do the same thing. In other words, replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners is a bad idea if you want to stop your sugar cravings!
Take the keto quiz
If You Do Go To A Restaurant Ask Questions
- Dont be afraid to ask your waiter or the vendor what is in the food you are ordering. Say something like: Can you tell me which items are gluten-free, dairy-free, have olive oil, are sugar-free? If they dont know they will usually go ask. Avoid anything fried or breaded. Sauces can contain large amounts of sugar too, so be careful with marinara, Thai sauces and Chinese foods, and even Caesar dressing.
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Dr Frank Lipman On Sugar
As a serious sugar addict still struggling with my addiction I know first hand how difficult it is to get off sugar, and to stay off it. Part of the reason its so hard to kick the habit is that over time our brains actually become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugar consumption. Much like the classic drugs of abuse such as cocaine, alcohol and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override ones self-control and lead to addiction.
Plan Times To Indulge
Completely ignoring cravings can have negative consequences, so it may be a good idea to plan times to eat otherwise restricted foods. This may look like a cheat day or an after-work treat, depending on a personâs dietary needs.
Sticking to a restrictive diet and ignoring cravings may be easier if a person has a planned indulgence to look forward to.
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Include Complex Carbs In Your Meals
Sugar is a simple, harmful carbohydrate while fiber and starch are complex beneficial carbs. Incorporate complex carbs in every meal of the day and watch the sugar cravings run away. For breakfast, add oats and cereals to the table. Replace milky bread with whole wheat bread at lunch. Eat some rice with beans or peas for dinner, and youll be good to go.
Healthy Snacks To Curb Sweet Tooth
Its not a case of replacing sweet stuff with other snacks to curb a sweet tooth, or providing you with a list of what to eat to curb sweet cravings. Such lists simply dont address the psychological aspects of what causes sweet cravings and how to be rid of them forever. Even so called natural ways to curb sugar cravings are a folly. The cravings are fake and phony and are caused by the unnatural sweetness of refined sugar which manipulates our blood sugar levels and the negative mental process that manipulation instigates.
The real trick is to get in touch with your natural, instinctive, enjoyable sense of taste for what are your REAL favourite foods.
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Distance Yourself From The Craving
When you feel a craving, try to distance yourself from it.
For example, you can take a brisk walk or a shower to shift your mind onto something else. A change in thought and environment may help stop the craving.
Some studies have also shown that chewing gum can help reduce appetite and cravings .
Try to distance yourself from the craving by chewing gum, going on a walk or taking a shower.
Sugar Hormones And Weight
When you eat your regular 3 oclock cookie, the sugar rush activates feel-good chemicals and reward centers in your brain, like serotonin, dopamine, and beta endorphins. It spikes your blood sugar and eventually leads to insulin surges that drive insulin resistance.
The sugar roller coaster causes physiologic changes in your body:
- weight gain, especially around the belly
- more cravings
- depression and anxiety
Sugars effects can seep into your whole system. Sugar and carbohydrates are mostly stored in the liver as glycogen until it gets full. Then your body has to make fat from the excess sugar and carbohydrates. That fat gets added to existing fat deposits around your body and you gain weight.
Sugar can also fuel hormonal imbalance by turning off a key gene that controls your sex hormones. Without this gene , both testosterone and estrogen can become unregulated. This imbalance causes fatigue, anxiety, irritability and other symptoms.
Sugar causes a world of trouble in your body but you can free yourself from your sugar habit. Try any one of the following to get started.
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Pack Your Plate With Protein
Curbing late-night sugar cravings may come down to getting a proper portion of protein at dinner.
Your body digests protein more slowly than fat and carbs. “This means that when you eat a higher protein meal, it will generally keep you feeling full for a longer period of time, mitigating the urge for a sugar surge post-dinner,” Moskovitz says.
In fact, protein has been proven to reduce the “hunger hormone” ghrelin and increase hormones like glucagon-like peptide-1 and cholecystokinin that contribute to satiety, Gearhart says.
“Protein also has a minimal impact on blood sugars,” Moskovitz adds. And that matters because foods that quickly raise blood sugars often lead to rapid blood sugar crashes, and, consequently, more sugar cravings.
So, make sure your supper plate gets an ample portion of protein. Fortunately, there’s a plethora of protein options perfect for the dinner table. From chicken, turkey and fish to eggs, tofu and legumes, you can find a healthy source of protein no matter what your dietary preferences.
How To Stop Sugar Cravings: 5 Tips For The Long Term
One of the best ways to manage sugar cravings is to stop them before they start. To help you do that:
- Skip artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners may sound like a great idea, but “they dont lessen cravings for sugar and havent demonstrated a positive effect on our obesity epidemic,” says Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
- Reward yourself for successfully managing sugar cravings. Your reward could be large or small. Remember why youre working on it and then reward yourself for each successful step.
- Slow down. For one week, focus on your sugar cravings and think about what youre eating, suggests Chambers. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. So slow down, plan, “and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when youre desperate,” Chambers says.
- Get support. Many people turn to sweet foods when they’re stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn’t solve emotional issues. Consider whether emotions are involved in your sugar cravings and whether you need help to find other solutions to those emotional problems.
- Mix it up. You may need more than one strategy to thwart sugar cravings. One week you may find success with one tactic, and another week calls for an alternative approach. Whats important is to have a bag of tricks to try, Gerbstadt tells WebMD. To tame sugar cravings, you really need to “figure out what works for you,” Neville says.
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Follow The 85/15 Rule
“Make sure 85% of your meals include innately healthy foods like fresh produce, lean protein, and healthy fats. The other 15% can include some treats,” Scarlata says. “If you make certain foods forbidden, then you just crave them even more. And truthfully, I don’t think there is a need to give up sugar entirely.” A little treat here and there never hurts.
How To Stop Sugar And Carb Cravings In Seconds
If you crave sugar, carbs, processed foods, or struggle with emotional eating, binge eating, or food addiction this post has all of my top tips that stop cravings quickly.
Long before I knew anything about nutrition, fitness, health, or how to help others I struggled with carbs, sugar cravings was a full blown food addict.
Literally the old me
I personally know what its like to struggle. I professionally know how to stop sugar and carb cravings.
LEFT: Me personally struggling with cravings. RIGHT: Me professionally in complete control over food, off sugar, and without any cravings.
Learn more about My Story and How you can Request custom content here
I know what really works and thats why Im sharing ALL of my top tips to help you stop struggling and start overcoming your cravings, too.
If you have random sugar cravings, if you have intense sugar or carbs cravings, or if you flat out feel addicted to processed junk foods crave food all the time, this post covers all of the above.
NOTE: If you crave something specific, like pickles for example, that can indicate a nutrient deficiency. These tips wont help resolve cravings caused by nutrient deficiencies. The tips in this post stop sugar and carb cravings, specifically and exclusively.
Everything Im about to share works, if you work it.
Im going to start with the best tips that stop cravings, first, then Im going to add on more tips, tricks, suggestions, and supplements proven to stop cravings, too.
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Opt For Healthier Sweets
When cravings hit, you may be able to satisfy your sweet tooth with healthier alternatives like fruit and sugar-free gum.
Fruits contain natural sources of sugar that can cause a similar release of dopamine but are less likely to mess with your blood sugar and energy levels due to their high fiber and nutrient content. They also contain significantly less sugar per volume compared to sweets and desserts. Try reaching for some avocado, berries, apple, banana, oranges, pear, or mango next time you need a fix.
Some studies have also linked chewing gum with better appetite control and decreased cravings for carbs later in the day .
Win The Inner Battle With Sugar
Sugar cravings, as well as cravings for reward, solace and celebration, are natural. Remember its ok to use sugar to deal with lifes problems some of the time most people do. Difficulties occur when sugar becomes the go-to way of dealing with problems it wasnt designed to fix. By figuring out what you are truly craving, and developing a range of ways of dealing with it, you will be in control, not the sugar.
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