Ways To Stop Sugar Cravings
If you get sugar cravings, weve got some good news thats totally normal. Sugar is delicious and a quick fuel for our body. Although simple sugars can give you a rapid burst of energy, they also make your blood sugar drop back down just as quickly.
If you can develop eating habits focused on complex carbs and other macronutrients, youre more likely to find sustainable energy that can help limit those sugar cravings. This article breaks down fifteen ways to reduce that sweet-tooth.
Eat More Protein And Good Fats
Sometimes, the cause of food cravings might be as simple as snacking on too many processed carbohydrates on a regular basis and not getting enough protein and fats.
Carbs like sweet potatoes provide a quick and easy source of energy for the body, and they certainly have their place. When you get into a habit of eating too many carbs, however, the result can be blood sugar fluctuations that lead to cravings.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are vital for balancing hormones and avoiding sugar cravings. Healthy fats from whole foods like avocado help fuel the body, while increasing satiety to ward off immature feelings of hunger.
Over the long-term, eating healthy fats and proteins can help with sugar cravings. They provide your body with essential fatty acids, amino acids, and micronutrients it needs to remain in balance and not crave foods unnecessarily.
How To Detox From Added Sugar
In as little as 1 week, you can begin to train your taste buds to stop craving foods loaded with added sugarwhile still eating carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to stay satisfied. The key is to prepare food at home when you can double-check the labels of foods you buy and use fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, rather than sweeteners, for flavor. “When your diet is bland and boring, you’re more likely to seek out sugar,” says Wendy Bazilian, a registered dietitian and a Prevention advisory board member. Here’s what to do.
STEP 1: GET IN THE RIGHT MIND-SET.
It’s important to avoid labeling yourself. Saying things like “I’m powerless around sugar” or calling yourself a sugar addict can hurt your chances of success. “These phrases can be a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Blatner says. It’s also best to avoid the word can’t during this detox: Instead of telling yourself I can’t have that when you’re faced with temptation, think I don’t eat that. The former feels like you’re punishing yourself, while the latter is empowering.
STEP 2: CUT SUGAR FOR 1 WEEK.
Turn the page for our sugar detox meal plan created by Bazilian. It guides you through your first week as you eliminate added sugar to recalibrate your taste buds. Note that fruit is included in many of your meals and snacks.
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Make A List Of Alternative Activities
Are there simple tasks youve been avoiding or need to accomplish? If you need to call to make an appointment or clean out a messy drawer, have a hard copy list of these tasks that you can do to keep yourself busy and avoid the sugar craving.
This will also help you accomplish more of these annoying little tasks that we so often put off!
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.
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Know How To Tough Out Cravings And Withdrawal Symptoms
For me, gentle exercise and getting lots of sleep also helped immensely. Getting my fill of adaptogenic herbs also helped balance my mood swings and appetite, since they help regulate our cortisol .
Maguire adds that in cases of extreme cravings, your best strategy is to allow your body to indulgethe healthy way. “The body is looking to satisfy the reward center in the brain,” she explains. “If you find that any craving hits, then reaching for good low-sugar snacks such as dark chocolate , nut butter, nuts and seeds, or berries with Greek yogurt can kill the cravings.”
Incorporate foods and beverages that are bitter into your diet to help reset your taste buds and fight cravings.
What Foods Reduce Sugar Cravings
Whole-grains and complex carbohydrates, which are higher in fiber, release glucose more slowly, so you get more stable glucose levels instead of having sugar spikes. Also, fiber takes longer to digest in the body, which leads to a higher feeling of fullness, she explains. Proteins and fats have the same effect. They take longer to digest, so they increase your fullness levels, reducing your cravings.
In other words, sugar fans the flame of sugar cravings. The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you will crave. Focusing on whole, natural, unprocessed foods such as lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, seeds, nuts, and low-fat dairy will reduce sugar cravings.
Fruit is high in natural sugar, so depending on how sensitive you are to sugar cravings, you might be able to use fruit to help satisfy your cravings, but you may find that you do best avoiding most fruits.
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Ditch The Salt Shaker
When you dine out or eat packaged, processed foods, you’re probably consuming too much sodium. This is often true even when youre eating something clean like grilled salmon and sautéed spinach from your favorite healthy restaurant.
Toss the shaker. When you satisfy your salty cravings with more naturally salty foods such as olives, your sweet cravings will lessen, and youll tend to go for naturally sweet snacks like herbal tea or fruit when that craving comes on. Choosing clean foods leads to choosing more clean foods, no matter what the craving.
Use Fruit To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
We know that fruit is a natural source of sugar, but it also contains fibre and water that make the sugar digest more slowly and not cause the dramatic ups and downs like refined sugars.
Having fruit planned into your meals and easily available makes it an easy choice instead of digging through the cabinets for any biscuits that might be lying around.
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Cover The Essential Nutrients
Protein and fat are crucial to kicking a sugar habit. Unlike sugar, healthy fats and protein provide slow and steady forms of energy, more like a flat, newly paved road rather than that glucose-flavored roller coaster. When your body doesn’t find sugar for fuel, it turns to fats, so eating plenty of healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil can help your body adjust to getting its energy elsewhere. Protein helps you feel satiated, which can reduce hunger and cravings, and many of the amino acids in protein help build the brain chemicals such as dopamine that make us feel good. When we feel balanced and energized, we are less likely to seek a sugar high.
Other important nutrients while trying to wean yourself from sugar include fiber, which slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar iron, which when depleted can cause low energy and cravings and the energizing B vitamins, which are often depleted by sugar consumption and stress.
If You Are Hungry Eat A Healthy And Filling Meal
Its important to realize that a craving is not the same as hunger.
Its not your body calling for energy, its your brain calling for something that releases a lot of dopamine in the reward system.
When you get a craving when youre hungry, the feeling is difficult to resist.
In fact, a craving combined with hunger is a powerful drive that most people have a hard time overcoming.
If you get a craving while hungry, one of the best tricks is to eat a healthy meal immediately. Stock your kitchen with healthy snack foods or pre-made meals.
Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish and eggs are especially good for curbing hunger .
Eating real food may not feel very appetizing when you have a craving for sugary junk food. But if you truly need to lose weight, resilience is worth it in the long run.
When you experience a craving and hunger at the same time, force yourself to have a healthy meal rather than junk food.
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Sugar Detox Plan: What To Eat During A Sugar Detox
Certain phenomena happen so predictably that they have become ordained laws of nature. For example, we know gravity will always bring things back down to Earth, and the Sun will rise each and every morning. Similarly, eating a lot of sugar will make us crave even more sugaror that’s at least how it seems.
Science backs up this seemingly inevitable sugar-craving cycle. Studies show that we can become biologically addicted to sugar, just as we would other substances like drugs or alcohol, which might explain why statistics on sugar consumption are so staggering. A report from the University of California San Francisco explains that the recommended daily added sugar consumption is no more than six teaspoons, or 25 grams. However, the average American consumes 17 teaspoons or around 71 grams, per day. It’s scary stuff.
Ready for a meal plan that will help you ditch sugar from your diet? Read on to learn what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during a sugar detox.
Meet the Expert
- Lauren O’Connor is a Registered Dietitian, the author of Healthy Cooking for One Cookbook, and the owner of Nutri-Savvy.
- Darby Jackson is a certified holistic health coach, personal trainer, and the founder of Darby Jackson Well-Being.
What Happens If You Eat Too Much Sugar
Sugar is a primary life source, and our bodies require it for energy. The body responds quickly to sugar as a fast-acting fuel. Complex sugars in whole foods offer a balanced response to sustaining our blood sugar as they are most often nutrient-rich, and the energy is obtained by breaking down these foods in our digestive process. Refined sugar is unnatural, and gets used quickly in the body as an efficient boost when we need it most, so sometimes it comes in handy. However, the more we count on it, the more our body craves and depends on it. Sugar also triggers the pleasure hormone, dopamine, which leaves us reaching for more as part of our reward and pleasure system. While cravings can mean many thingsincluding the need to strengthen the adrenal system, monthly hormonal changes, food sensitivities, etc.cravings are also directly affected by our diet and lifestyle habits. When our blood sugar is low from lack of carbohydrates, protein or fat sugar cravings are seen as a a sign of an underlying deficiency.
Essentially, we are craving nourishment.
Traditionally nourishing and building foods like rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, dates, etc. are all sweet in flavor, but also healing and full of substantial nutritional value.
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Your Brains Response To Sugar Doesnt Help
Another reason why sugars draw is so strong: You have to contend with your brains reward system, which produces the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine when exposed to sugar.
Sugar cravings are mediated by the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is triggered by cues including smells, sights, and vivid imagery, says Kent Berridge, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan. This system is a neural network that connects the brains main dopamine-producing area with a structure called the nucleus accumbens, which is all aboutreward and pleasure.
According to Berridge, when you eat sugar, dopamine neurons in the VTA are activated and head toward the nucleus accumbens. Dopamine in that area then increases, strengthening brain pathways that will make you want to do it all over again.
Research suggests that consuming sugar also stimulates the release of hormones, including ghrelin, which is closely linkedto increased cravings. That may be why, once you have that first sip of cola, cravings often intensify.Emerging animal research suggests that these cravings are mediated by a distinct neural circuit that starts in the gut and alerts the brain to the presence of sugar.
Dont Mistake Tiredness Boredom Or Anxiety For Hunger
People eat for a variety of reasons, but its not always hunger that drives their decisions.
If youre tired, you should rest. If youre bored, you should find something to do with your hands other than snack on sugar, like knit, read a book, or go on a bike ride.
If youre struggling with anxiety, try some deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to calm your nerves instead of a candy bar laden with sugar.
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Natural Supplements To Stop Sugar Cravings
Posted by Dr. Ian Stern Admin on July 18, 2019
Do you remember slipping off a diet plan because you just couldnt resist the cravings for sweets? This happens more often than you think. And its no surprise because studies show that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine!
Sugary drinks alone kill 184,000 people every year through cancer, heart disease, and diabetes . High sugar intake raises levels of bad cholesterol and blood fats. Sugar is often linked to the development of numerous lung conditions.
Studies have shown that sugar hinders such activities as learning and memorizing things. Sugar also affects the health of your eyes, seriously hinders your immune system, gives you acne, and causes you to overeat.
On the flip side, people who consume little or no sugar in their diets rarely experience depression. They are more active during the day and sleep better at night. And they are more protected from a broad range of diseases. So how do you curb those sugar cravings that are detrimental to your health?
How To Stop Sugar Cravings: Everything You Need To Know
Youve probably been told to avoid sugar by your parents, your dentist, and your coworkers. Though it seems like overkill, the truth is that too much sugar can affect your health. There’s a reason why everyone and their brother is talking your ear off about how they gave up sugar for New Years!
But it’s easier said than done. Sugar is in everything. So how do you kick the silent killer without rigorously scanning the back of every cereal box for its sugar count?
It won’t be easy, but following some of these tips might make avoiding sweeter treats come more naturally. Whether you want to curb sugar cravings for your health, weight, teeth, or something else, we have the best tips on cutting cravings and feeling better.
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Get Ready To See Results
The best news is that after you get over the hump of those first tough couple of days, you’ll be amazed by how energized and how great you feelyour mood will start to regulate, you’ll sleep better, and you might even see some improvements in your skin and body. Be mindful and observant of the good, because it will power you right through the end .
Why Is Excess Sugar Bad For You
So what if we want sugar every meal? Why does it have to be a bad thing? When you cave into those sugar cravings, your body responds right away and its not good.
- Promote weight gain and disrupt leptin and insulin signaling
- Accumulate and cause damage to your liver
- Raise uric acid levels
- Increase bad cholesterol and triglycerides
- Raise anxiety, hyperactivity, depression, and adrenaline
- Disrupt your ability to learn, focus, concentrate and be productive
- Increase antisocial behavior
- Cause crankiness and drowsiness in kids
- Up your chances of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and dementia
- Affect your hormones and lead you to polycystic ovary syndrome
You get the picture its bad.
So you know logically that you need to cut down on the sugar, but try explaining that to your brain during a sugar craving. It doesnt care about the logic at that point it wants that sugary latte pronto.
That is why you need to set yourself up for success with these 7 tips below. If you want to know how to curb sugar cravings, read on!
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Avoid All Artificial Sweeteners Too
Curbing sugar cravings involves more than just cutting out added sugars. Dr. Thompson says that you also need to cut out sugar replacements, like artificial sweeteners.
“Our taste buds have direct connections to the addictive centers in the brain, so triggering them with artificial sweeteners just keeps the cravings alive. Plus, artificial sweeteners dysregulate our gut microbiome, leading to poor glucose and insulin regulation,” says Dr. Thompson.
Why Do We Crave Sugar So Much And What Can We Do To Stop Those Cravings In Their Tracks
We all know that sugar is unhealthy, and diets high in simple sugars are associated with an increased risk of certain lifestyle diseases such as obesity, insulin resistance, and type two diabetes. Sugar is pervasive in most processed foods, so unless youre only eating natural foods, youre probably consuming quite a bit of sugar in all of its various forms.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention , the average person in the United States consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day, yet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 20202025recommends limiting the intake of added sugars to less than 10% of your total daily calories. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this would entail eating no more than 200 calories from added sugars, which is equal to about 12 teaspoons.
Many people struggle to reduce their sugar intake because they experience intense sugar cravings and turn to sweet foods to give them an energy boost or emotional pick-me-up. Fighting your sugar cravings can be difficult, particularly when youre stressed, tired, overworked, or feeling down. To learn more about how sugar cravings work and to get tips on how to reduce sugar cravings, we spoke with Brenda Peralta, RD, a registered dietitian, health coach, and sports nutritionist.
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