Most people are struggling with how to beat sugar cravings. Craving sugar is one of the most common food cravings in the United States, and many people want to find a way to stop it.
This is equivalent to about The average American consumes the equivalent of about 152 pounds of sugar a year. That’s roughly 22 teaspoons every single day. 34 teaspoons of sugar every day is equivalent to 1 in 4 teenagers being prediabetic or type 2 diabetic. This is why a majority of Americans and a significant portion of kids are overweight.
Based on research, almost all women and most men have experienced sugar cravings. The more sugar you consume, the more likely you are to develop a taste for it because sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.
When you are stressed, tired, or not feeling your best it is easy to crave sugar because it can make you feel better in the moment. Excessive sugar consumption can lead to weight gain and health problems such as diabetes and heart disease in the long term. If you are longing for sugar, the best thing to do is to try to control those cravings before they become hard to resist.
What Causes Sugar Cravings?
Humans have a natural craving for sugar from birth, and for good reason. The carbohydrates in breast milk not only provide nutrition for the baby, but also contribute to the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
The carbohydrates in breast milk can help promote relaxation by stimulating the release of serotonin and endorphins. This helps create a strong emotional bond between mother and child.
This natural desire for sweet foods persists later in life. The body reacts positively to sugar, as it did when food was scarce and these cravings were a matter of life and death. Our cravings these days generally do more harm than good.
Many of us crave sugar and carbs because we overdo them. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day, according to the American Heart Association. These added sugars come from foods, drinks, and sweets.
It’s okay to have the occasional treat as it is high-quality and nutrient-dense, like homemade chocolate or coconut milk panna cotta. Most people have a problem with consuming too much sugar on a daily basis.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings
Ready to go sugar-free? If you want to get rid of your sugar addiction, I recommend starting with a sugar detox. This will help break the habit and allow your body to heal. Although it may be challenging, quitting entirely may not be as daunting as you believe. If you have sugar cravings, put some berries in your fridge to help satisfy them.
If you want to reduce your sugar intake, you can do it gradually over time. Replace refined sugar with natural sources like coconut sugar or maple syrup before completely transitioning away from sweet foods. Here’s how to tackle either kind of sugar detox.
There are a few things you can do to help you stop wanting sugar.
1. Briefly Supplement With L-Glutamine
I first read about this tip in Dr. Julia Ross’ book The Mood Cure. I found the tips in this book for battling a sweet tooth to be especially interesting.
She thinks that stress, bad eating habits, or aspects of someone’s environment make some people lack certain amino acids, which then leads to them wanting sweets more. A healthy diet may not be enough to fix the problems in this case. Amino acid deficiencies and neurotransmitter imbalances can make it difficult to overcome a sugar addiction with willpower alone.
Luckily, Dr. Ross has a solution that involves taking the amino acid L-glutamine for a short period of time. When someone experiences a sugar craving, L-glutamine can help fix the problem in a month or two if 500mg doses are taken a few times a day.
I realized that L-glutamine had the unexpected benefit of reducing my sugar cravings when I looked back at how it had helped improve my gut health and manage my autoimmune thyroid disease. I hadn’t connected the two at the time. This is amazing to me because I have not had a crave for sweet food since then.
2. Eat More Protein and Good Fats
The reason for some food cravings may be from eating too many processed carbs regularly and not having enough protein and fats.
Sweet potatoes are a type of carbohydrate that provides a quick and easy source of energy for the body. They can be beneficial in some situations. If you eat too many carbs on a regular basis, your blood sugar will start to fluctuate, which can cause you to crave more carbohydrates.
Proteins are made of amino acids, which are necessary for maintaining hormone balance and preventing sugar cravings. Healthy fats in whole foods like avocado help to power the body and stop feelings of hunger.
A diet rich in healthy fats and proteins, as well as plenty of vegetables, can help to curb sugar cravings over the long term. They provide your body with the essential fatty acids, amino acids, and micronutrients it needs to remain in balance and not crave foods unnecessarily.
3. Eat When You’re Hungry (and Plan Ahead)
When you’re extremely hungry, you’re not thinking clearly about what the best foods to eat are. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. This means that you should plan or prepare healthy meals in advance so that you will have them available when you feel hungry. If you have a plan for what you will eat each day, it will be easier to stay healthy.
As stated previously, consuming foods that are high in nutrients like proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables will help to alleviate extreme hunger and stabilize blood sugar levels. If you allow yourself to get very hungry, it will be easier to make healthy choices when your sugar cravings become stronger. This hunger, combined with stress or lack of sleep, can be especially troublesome.
4. Get Moving
Regular exercise can have similar effects to sugary foods on the brain, releasing feel-good endorphins.
You don’t have to do anything intense to get the benefits of running. A short walk, jump rope, or bodyweight exercises can help improve your mood and control sugar cravings.
I enjoy walking or jogging with my dog, or playing kickball with the kids outside. Planning ahead can also help you break the sugar addiction in the long term. After some time, you can teach your body to like the endorphins that come from exercising as much as the endorphins that come from sugar.
5. Incorporate Sweet Spices As Sugar Alternatives
If you want to avoid sugar, you should try an alternative that will make your mind think you have sugar.
Try making yourself a warm drink with sweet spices instead of sugar, syrup, and other sweeteners. Spices like cardamom, coriander, pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger), and Ceylon cinnamon can give your drink a delicious sweetness without all the sugar.
If you’re a fan of hot chocolate, you can use a small amount of cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa mix in place of sugar. You can add a bit of flavor to your baked goods by adding a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger per cup of flour.
Although these spices taste sweet, they don’t contain any sugar. When you add sweeteners to foods, you will get a sweet taste without the sugar. Your mind will think you are having something sugary, even though you are not.
6. Swap Carbonated Drinks For Carbonated Water
There is nothing that can be as Carbonated water when it comes to satisfying your thirst and reducing sugar cravings. Carbonated drinks like soda, sweet tea, and Energy Drinks contain high levels of sugar and are generally not considered healthy. However, it can be difficult to let go of your tank top, especially if you are attending parties or in the summer when you want something to calm the heat.
If you’re trying to restrict your sugar intake, you might want to drink seltzer water instead of carbonated beverages (check the label to make sure there’s no added sugar). Seltzer water can cause gastrointestinal issues like bloating and gas, so it might be best to avoid it. Instead stick to water, herbal tea, and lemon water.
You can add freshly squeezed fruit juices or natural herbs to your water to give it a different flavor. Add any sweet spice you like and a splash of natural juice to give it color. I suggest cranberry or cherry juice.
7. Eat Whole Foods
Still, wondering how to beat sugar cravings? Quit processed foods! Many processed foods contain hidden table sugar, from sauces and salad dressings to snacks that might not seem sweet. When trying to avoid sugar, it is necessary to stay clear of sugary foods or foods with additional sugar. If you’re always craving sugar, try eating more whole foods. The nutrients in these healthy options will satisfy your sugar cravings.
Eating whole foods instead of sugary foods can help reduce sugar cravings in a number of ways. When you eat fresh foods, your body gets a variety of nutrients that it can use for energy and to promote healthy cell growth. Whole foods are more satisfying, so you’ll eat less and won’t have sugar cravings. Some researchers have found that people who mostly eat fresh fruits and vegetables don’t have much hunger for processed, sugary snacks. The best way to reduce sugar cravings is to eat healthy, whole foods.
When shopping for food products, many assume that fat-free processed foods are the healthier option. Consuming foods that are whole and contain their natural fat, fiber, and other nutrients will help to stave off cravings until your next meal.
8. Avoid Simple Carbohydrates
Are you still wondering how to beat sugar cravings? Quit processed foods!
Many processed foods contain hidden table sugar, including sauces, salad dressings, and seemingly innocent snacks. When you’re trying to stop a sugar craving, it’s important that you stay away from sugary foods or foods with added sugars. A diet focused on whole foods can help to reduce sugar cravings. Healthy food options contain natural nutrients that will stop you from wanting sugar.
Eating whole foods is a better way to deal with sugar cravings than eating sugary foods. This is because whole foods contain essential nutrients and fiber that help regulate blood sugar levels and satisfy hunger, while sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar levels and can lead to rebound hunger and cravings. When you eat fresh foods, your body gets a variety of nutrients that it can use for energy and healing instead of just empty calories. Additionally, whole foods are more filling, causing you to eat less without being aware of it–which is often the root cause of sugar cravings. Some research has also found that people who eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables have less of a desire for processed, sugary junk food. If you want to stop craving sugar, eat more real food!
When simple carbohydrates such as white flour, white pasta, bread, and white potatoes are digested, they release high amounts of sugar. This allows for a quick increase in blood sugar, resulting in a quick burst of energy. However, you may develop a sugar addiction because these foods do not contain enough fiber to stabilize their sugar release. If you give in to your craving, you will only make it worse. You will crave more of the energy you experienced from the food, rather than the food itself.
9. Go Cold-Turkey
Although it may be challenging at first, avoiding any form of simple sugars, including artificial sweeteners, is the best way to deal with cravings.
The most successful way to stick to a new routine is to have someone hold you accountable, especially when you first start out. Find a friend or spouse who is interested in doing a ten-day sugar-free challenge and use it as a form of competition.
You would not want to go back to eating sugary foods after 10 days of not eating them because your taste buds would have adjusted.
10. Cut Off Energy Drinks And Fruit Juices Except For Green Vegetable Juice.
Without fiber, juicing leads to a quick spike in sugar levels. In addition to the benefits mentioned previously, you will also experience the rest of the benefits that the fruit has to offer.
Drinking fruit juice or energy drinks will cause a quick increase in blood sugar, followed by a big decrease. Sugar is quickly released into the bloodstream when there is no fiber present. This will cause the pancreas to release insulin, which will cause the body to metabolize glucose, leading to a drop in blood sugar levels and a subsequent craving for more sugar.
11. Get Your B-Vitamins
B vitamins are important for many reactions in the body, including the metabolism of carbohydrates.
You will use up important nutrients when you are stressed or eat too many carbohydrates. I have more energy when I take a complex of vitamin B fermented from a live source.
12. Get Enough Sleep
If you sleep less than eight hours a day, your hunger hormones will increase and you will be more likely to overeat. Additionally, consuming excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol can result in sleep deprivation.
Some plant-based sleep-enhancing foods include chamomile tea, tart cherries, tart cherry juice, seeds, and kiwi.
Craving is a good indication that something is missing. The craving for sugar may be due to different factors, including brain conditioning, mineral deficiency, blood glucose imbalance, inadequate sleep, or high-stress levels. So take a look at yourself and figure out what the main causes of your cravings are, and then take action to address those issues. With time the cravings will fade off.
Sleeping should be a top priority for everyone. there are countless reasons why sleep is important, and not getting enough of it can have serious consequences.