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Physical Wellness

How to Stop Sugar Cravings in 5 Simple Steps

Excess of anything is typically unhealthy and that’s particularly true for sugar addiction. A sweet tooth is harmless until you begin to overindulge. Intake of more than the standard amount of sugar every day causes many negative effects and diabetes is the most common one. Besides heart diseases, dental issues, and cancer, sugar addiction can also damage your brain. If you have irresistible urges to consume sugary foods, that’s a sure sign you need to learn how to stop sugar cravings. The more sugar you eat, the stronger your cravings will get. So here are a few tips to counter the sugar addiction cycle.

What Are Sugar Cravings?

A craving is not driven by hunger but by your desire for pleasure. Everyone has sugar cravings every now and then, which is what makes a healthy diet difficult to follow. The urge can be extremely powerful, and many fail to overcome it. This leads to a vicious overeating cycle of sugar addiction where your cravings never end. If you give in and eat something sweet, you end up wanting more, and no matter how many chocolates you eat, the satisfaction never comes.

The Urge Can Be Extremely Powerful And Many Fail To Overcome It (Image Source: Shutterstock)

In order to reduce your sugar intake, you have to first learn what causes sugar cravings, so you can make smart choices and avoid potential triggers. An imbalance of blood sugar is a well-known culprit of a sweet tooth. Once you ingest something sweet, your body digests it and in the process, the sugar gets absorbed into your blood. In this way, your blood sugar level increases. To counter this rise, your body releases a hormone called insulin. Sometimes, your body might release too much insulin which will further decrease your sugar levels below the normal range. This sharp reduction in blood sugar makes your body crave for more to bring it back to the standard level. And so the cycle begins.

Besides hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiencies can also cause sugar cravings. A diet that lacks adequate quantities of protein and healthy fats is a sure ride to a sugary rollercoaster. Unlike sugar which spikes your energy levels instantly, proteins and fats are absorbed rather slowly. So instead of an abrupt surge of energy, you get steady doses that keep you active and satiated for longer. This reduces hunger and helps prevent untimely cravings. Your body begins to use healthy fats as fuel instead of sugar, which decreases its demand, and the protein acts as a building block of your brain’s chemicals. 

How To Stop Sugar Cravings: 5 Easy Steps

A bite or two never harmed anybody, but if you’re prone to overeating, it’s time to discipline yourself. Here are 5 steps that will teach you how to stop sugar cravings for good.

Step 1: 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 you’ll be good to go.

Woman eating healthy whole grain cereals smiling.
Incorporate Complex Carbs In Every Meal Like Adding Oats And Cereals (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: Eat a substantial amount of protein every day

Women need around 46 grams of protein every day, while men need 56 grams of protein depending on their weight and age. This means you should eat a meal with at least 20 grams of protein, 3 times a day. Proteins are essential for satisfying hunger for longer periods of time and help your body repair muscles for proper functioning.

Man cooks healthy meal, squeezes lemon on two raw pieces of salmon decorated with mint leaf.
Proteins Are Essential For Satisfying Hunger For Longer Periods Of Time (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Step 4: Find alternatives for desserts

Try healthy dessert ingredients instead of the traditional creamy cakes and sugar-loaded donuts such as fruits dipped in dark chocolate or peanut butter.

Step 5: Let yourself enjoy a bite every now and then

After you’ve tried your best, you might still have some irresistible sugar cravings and that’s totally normal. It’s okay to let yourself indulge in a sugary treat as long as you don’t do it too frequently. Control the quantity and enjoy it guilt-free.

Woman on a cheat meal excited to take a bite at a donut.
It’s Okay To Let Yourself Indulge In Sweets As Long As You Don’t Do It Too Frequently (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Sugar Substitutes You Need To Try

For a sugar detox, you need to find some alternatives to satisfy your sugar cravings. This can be a fruit smoothie or a frozen yogurt bark recipe. Whatever you try, stay away from refined sugar. Refined sugar is far more harmful than natural sugars found in raw honey and fruits, and it can be as addicting as drugs.

Smiling man pouring milkshake in a glass for drinking.
A Fruit Smoothie As An Alternative To Satisfy Your Sugar Cravings (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Honey has a plethora of benefits including being antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It also reduces the risk of cancer and helps fight infections. Whether you have a sore throat or digestive problems, honey can fix seemingly everything. Replace refined sugar with honey in your recipes and feel the difference. Not only will it satisfy your sugar craving but also improve your immune system in the process.

When you feel the sugar rush coming, don’t reach for chocolates or brownies. Fruits like berries, mangoes, bananas, and apples have plenty of natural sugar in them and will satisfy your sweet tooth easily without causing any damage to your body. Snack bars made from oats, dates, peanut butter, dark chocolate, and honey are also a good option for a quick dose of sugar.

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin C. They taste sweet and are pretty filling too. Besides containing a variety of minerals, they’re also high in fiber which promotes gut health and digestion. People trying to lose weight often eat sweet potatoes to control their hunger.

Sugar-free chewing gums can be a good option for between meals and will help you control your blood sugar levels. If you’re trying to lose weight, chewing gums should be on your list of snacks, because they will prevent you from getting hungry quickly. Chewing gum exercises your teeth which in turn improves their strength. So you can satisfy your sugar cravings and keep your teeth healthy at the same time.

Here is a short ten-minute YouTube video with more sugar alternatives that you can incorporate into your diet.

Five Best Sugar Substitutes – Dr. Josh Axe

Conclusion

Sugar addiction is hard to get rid of. While you might not need to completely eliminate sugar from your diet, it is best to avoid sugar as much as you can due to its potential to put you on a never-ending sugary rollercoaster. Eating a balanced diet rich in complex carbs and replacing sugary ingredients with natural alternatives are two important ways to get rid of your sugar cravings. And on days the sweet tooth gets unbearable, it’s alright to eat something sweet given you remain mindful of the quantity.

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