5 Tips to Beat Sugar Cravings

With the “I Quit Sugar” Challenge under way, those of you joining in may already be struggling with a bit of sugar withdrawal or cravings. In my experience, the first couple of weeks are usually the most difficult when embarking on a new lifestyle change. But don’t worry, it will get easier!

If you find yourself with a sudden sugar craving, the following strategies may help you overcome it. Remember, every time you flex your “discipline muscle,” the stronger it gets!

1. Eat something nourishing.

Sometimes our cravings are simply a sign that we’re lacking nutrients. When you’re taking something out of your diet, be sure to compensate by eating plenty of nourishing foods, including a variety of sweet and non-sweet vegetables, high-quality protein and healthy fats. The latter two are especially important for making us feel satiated!

One of my favorite snacks?

Raw almond butter freezer fudge, made without the honey. As your taste buds adapt to less sugar, almond butter tastes surprisingly sweet on its own! Mix up a small portion of this fudge, made with just almond butter, coconut oil and salt, and watch your cravings melt away!

Other quick snacks include:

  • A handful of raw nuts or seeds
  • Guacamole, with veggies for dipping
  • A hard boiled egg
  • Sliced raw goat cheese, served on cucumber slices, if desired
  • Raw zucchini hummus, served with crunchy veggies for dipping
  • A cup of plain goat yogurt, sprinkled with cinnamon (and stevia, if desired)

2. Sip on some tea.

There is something so comforting about sipping on a warm cup of tea. If you’d rather avoid caffeine, there are plenty of herbal varieties available that are delicious!

Throat Coat and Bengal Spice are two herbal blends that taste surprisingly sweet, with no added sugars.

Sometimes, I’ll also mix up a teaspoon of Slippery Elm powder with boiling water, for a maple-scented warm drink with a boost of fiber!

3. Create new habits.

Often times, we’ll eat something sweet simply because we’ve become accustomed to having a “treat” at certain times of the day. We need to re-train our brains to crave something else! Hitting a 3pm slump? Perhaps a walk around the office, a warm cup of tea, or a handful of nuts will suffice.

Craving something sweet after dinner? Try having a cup of homemade almond milk, a few slices of your favorite cheese, or go for an after-dinner stroll.

A warm bath or a good book can be just as comforting after dinner, too!

4. Remind yourself why you’re giving up sugar.

If you find your motivation waning, remind yourself why you started this challenge in the first place. Start a journal to record your thoughts– be sure to mention why you’re quitting, moments when you’re feeling great, and moments when you’re feeling bad– and re-visit this journal often to keep yourself motivated!

You may also find re-reading the “I Quit Sugar” book to be helpful, along with reading over these 144 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health.

In case you’re curious, a few of them include:

  • Sugar can suppress your immune system.
  • Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides. (Hello, high cholesterol!)
  • Sugar reduces the body’s ability to defend against bacterial infection.
  • Sugar interferes with the body’s absorption of calcium and magnesium.
  • Sugar can cause two blood proteins – albumin and lipoproteins – to function less effectively, which may reduce the body’s ability to handle fat and cholesterol.
  • Sugar is the number one enemy of the bowel movement.
  • Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance – some hormones become underactive and others become overactive.
  • Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.

Motivated yet?!

5. Indulge in natural sweetness.

If all else fails, there are always “safe” options that you can indulge in to satisfy that sweet tooth. If you’re including fruits in your plan, this should be no problem. They’ll naturally squash those sweet cravings!

A few recipes that are naturally sweetened with only fruit include:

If you’re omitting fruit, but would like to include stevia-sweetened desserts, there are options for you, too:

Don’t worry if you need to indulge in a bite of dark chocolate, either. Sometimes just a taste is enough to remind you that you really don’t “need” sweets as much as you might think!

I hope these tips will prove useful over the next few weeks!

Reader Feedback: For those of you participating, how is the challenge going so far? Any additional tips to share?

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Comments

Lisa

Hi! I finally began my challenge and have been sugar free for a little over two weeks. I’ve been doing really well with trading sweets for fats and protein, but I am super fatigued. I am wondering if you experienced this and if so, for how long? Thanks!

Enrique

Hi
I loved all the recommendations, I’m on the diabetes borderline and I want to shred some pounds. I can’t sleep well due to GERD. I need to get better sleep.

Thanks nice site and you have a new follower here in Puerto Rico.

Finding Arcadia

What about “complex carbs” or foods that “turn into sugar” such as white starches (pasta, bread, crackers, rice, pretzels, etc). Do I include them on the Do Not Eat List? I feel overwhelmed by how much I cannot eat. I mean, I eat like probably around 10 whole fruits a day to try and avoid sugary replacements. I also emotionally eat which is probably the hardest part for me…

Bella

I know this is kind of late, but I’m doing my own sugar cleanse right now. It is probably the worst time to do it, too: with the holidays approaching, I am tempted by saccharine treats everywhere I turn.

I usually am fine until after lunch. From the stretch between 4 pm and 8 pm, when I commonly have dinner, I am hit by intense cravings for sugar/chocolate/similar junk, most of which I give in to and later cause me deep regret.

Do you have any tips on how to overcome this late afternoon hump?

Leandro Russo

Very good article with simple and very practical tips to fight our desire and temptation for sugary foods. Sugar cravings is an issue that is increasingly becoming a very worrying and disturbing subject these days because of our hectic lifestyle, job-related stress and anxiety, money problems and personal or family issues. As a result, we do have neither the time nor the peace of mind to eat frequently and properly good-quality, home-made food during the day or night. Sooner or later, we end up craving for and bingeing on sugary and fatty foods (pastries, cookies, candies, etc) not only throughout the day but also during the night, even late at night. This article very effectively analyses 5 ways that can guide us to fight and overcome our addiction and temptation for sugary foods. Personally, I immensely enjoyed the healthy, naturally-sweet and with high-protein foods and snacks I read in this article and I will definitely apply them on my daily nutritional plan. http://www.lifetoliveit.com

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