Sugar is something that everyone enjoys. Whether it is in a cup of tea with sugar, a tasty piece of cake or some ice cream, we all enjoy sugar in one form or the other. However, some of us are more attracted to sugar and have developed somewhat of an addiction when it comes to the treat. Some of us simply cannot go a day without eating some form of sugar. We find ourselves having a craving for the treat and simply cannot say no to our desires. This in simplest terms is a sugar craving. Sugar cravings can be unhealthy and can lead to a host of diseases including obesity, so how do you stop sugar cravings?
You have come to the right place. Here in this article, we will discuss the various means you should consider when trying to stop craving sugar and we will highlight 25 foods that are proven to be effective in managing sugar cravings.
Before we go about the task of figuring out how to combat a sugar craving, let’s take a deeper look into the phenomenon and try to understand sugar cravings a little better.
What Do Sugar Cravings Mean?
Sugar cravings are caused by blood sugar imbalance in the body. When you eat some form of sugar, your blood sugar spikes and the body releases insulin, as a result, to help lower the blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar levels go a little too low, which usually happens, your body starts to crave sugar in hopes of raising the blood sugar levels back and increase energy. This happens every time your blood sugar level drops below normal.
First of all, spikes in blood sugar aren’t considered healthy, for they can lead to insulin sensitivity over time. You could develop high blood sugar in the long run, hence blood sugar spikes should be controlled by controlling the amount of sugar that you intake and how often you intake it.
What is worth noting is the addictive phenomenon of sugar cravings. It is also considered a sweet tooth by many people. Not only can you not resist sugary food, but you also have the tendency to reach for sugary snacks throughout the day, every time your blood sugar does a little low. This can have disastrous effects on your health. Too much sugar is not considered healthy and eating large quantities of sugar can lead you to developing diabetes and can lead to obesity.
Magnesium is what regulates glucose and insulin levels in our bodies and is also responsible for the neurotransmitter dopamine. When there is a deficiency of magnesium in your body, you could experience intense sugar cravings, especially to nibble on some chocolate.
Sugar cravings can have a serious impact on your health and should not be something that you dismiss. If you find yourself craving sugar, try everything you can at home to mitigate the issue and if nothing works, consult your healthcare professional to monitor your blood glucose levels for chances of diabetes.
How Do I Stop Sugar Cravings? 10 Tips to Help You Stop Sugar Cravings
There are various things that you can try at home to help stop your sugar cravings. These would require some willpower and the element of change, however, they are effective in controlling sugar cravings to help you lead a healthier life.
Here is our list of 10 tips that can help you stop craving sugar.
Tip 1: Treat Yourself to a Little
When you find yourself craving something sweet, the easiest thing that you can do is to give in to the craving but in a moderated manner. Don’t eat the entire chocolate bar, instead break a tiny piece off and really enjoy it. Try to savour the flavours and enjoy the little that you award yourself.
This way, you aren’t really denying yourself the treat, but controlling how much of the treat you consume. You could enjoy a small cookie or even half of a cookie. Remember, that you don’t have to gorge on a large amount of sugar to soothe the craving; a little goes a long way.
When you train your body to enjoy the small quantity of sugar that you intake, over time, it will become easier for you to enjoy the sugar that you love so much and not have a dampening effect on your health. You should try to stick to the 150-calorie rule. Allow yourself a sugary treat of about 150 calories to satisfy that sugar craving.
Tip 2: Eat More Often
When you starve yourself, your blood sugar levels drop. This may cause you to crave sugar. Hence, one of the best things that you can do is eat more often on a regular basis. Waiting too long between meals can cause you to choose a sugary snack. Hence get into the habit of eating more often; every 3 to 5 hours. This might mean anything between 3 to 5 meals a day.
If you are having 5 meals, you don’t have to eat 5 large meals. You can eat 3 large meals and plan for two healthier snacks in between the meals. When you plan out your meals, you are more aware of what you are eating. You are aware of the sugar intake and are thus able to control it better.
Eating 3 to 5 times a day can help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, which will prevent you from craving sugar. This is the best way to go about avoiding irrational eating. When you do make plans for your meals, look to add a lot of protein, fibre-rich food and some produce.
Tip 3: Choose Quality, Avoid Quantity
When you are craving sugar and find yourself giving in as we mentioned in tip 1, choose quality over quantity. You don’t want to eat the entire pint of ice cream, instead, make yourself a small sundae which is a moderate portion treat. The smaller the treat the better. However, what you need to ensure is the quality of the sugary food that you intake.
Spend time preparing your sugar treat. Make yourself that perfect dark chocolate truffle and savour it as opposed to eating that huge candy bar. Learn to eat a smaller portion that is high in quality and enjoy the treat slowly.
Don’t simply dismiss your favourite treats and look to steer clear of them. Instead, remember to choose quality over quantity. If you try to stay away from your favourite treats, chances are you would wind back having a larger quantity than you would you in a few days time. When you hit the breaking point after giving up on ice cream, one fine day you would find yourself breaking, thereby eating the entire pint.
So make sure to enjoy the quality treats in your life and watch out for the quantity of the treat that you consume. Though this isn’t stopping your sugar intake completely, it is proven to be an effective means of combating sugar cravings and controlling the negative effects of sugar.
Tip 4: Just Walk Away
When you find that you are hit with a sugar craving, the best thing that you can do is simply walk away. Go for a walk, get some exercise, think about something else. Do what you can to get your mind off it. Don’t just sit there and stare at the candy floss stand. Just walk away.
This can be one of the best ways to combat sugar cravings. A change of scenery can take your mind off what you were craving. It will help you get your mind off it. Hence go for a walk or a jog around the block. Not only would you get some exercise in the process, but you would also avoid the craving and come out stronger. The feeling that get when you didn’t give in to your sugar craving can be very empowering.
Hence the next time you crave something sweet, try doing this. Simply walk away. Walk out the door and do a few rounds around the block. Get some fresh air and work out those muscles. Do some light stretching and maybe even plan out the rest of your day. Think about something that you have to get done or a hobby that you can jump into when you get back. Do what you can to avoid thinking about the sugary treat. Trust us, over time, you would simply break the craving and find yourself in greater control of your desires.
Tip 5: Choose Fruit and Nuts
When you are trying to stop sugar cravings, you should make it a point to keep plenty of fruit around the house. This way, when you find a sugar craving hitting, you can reach for the fruit instead which provides some sweetness along with plenty of fibre and nutrients.
Keeps nuts and seeds in stock and enjoy some of them when you find yourself craving something sweet. Though you aren’t really denying yourself sugar, what you are doing is supplementing unhealthy processed sugar with healthy natural sugars.
Have them close by, in reach, so can you always choose to eat some fruit or nuts every time you start craving something sweet. When you realise that you are craving something, don’t wait and ponder and allow yourself to fixate on exactly what you are craving. Don’t allow yourself time to fixate on whether you want candy, ice cream, chocolate or pie. Instead, as soon as you feel a craving coming on, grab some fruit or enjoy a bowl of nuts. This way, you treat yourself to the healthy sugars that your body requires and prevents yourself from fixating on the unhealthy snacks that can cause so much havoc on your health.
Tip 6: Try Chewing Gum
Chewing gum can be an effective means to combat sugar cravings. The fact that you are in constant motion of chewing prevents you from craving anything to snack on. This can help you avoid giving in to a sugar craving completely.
Though simple, this has been observed to be one of the most effective means in combating sugar cravings.
Chewing gum can help reduce food cravings in general and this includes sugar cravings. Hence opt to chew some gum during the day. You can also chew some gum every time you start craving something sweet. Once again, you aren’t necessarily denying yourself the sugar completely, but rather fooling your brain into thinking that you don’t really need the sugar, or that you are busy.
Tip 7: Just Quit Sugar
You can try cutting sugar out altogether. This is considered the more drastic means of stoping sugar cravings and would require an element of willpower. Quitting sugar or going cold turkey can make for a rough ride for the first 48 to 72 hours. However, after a few days, you would notice that the cravings have disappeared.
This can be an effective means of cutting back on your sugar intake and taking control of your health. Not only are you cutting out sugar cravings, but you are making a practice of avoiding sugar altogether. This trains your body and brain to work without processed sugar and rely more on natural sugars that you get through your meals.
Over time, your blood glucose levels will become stable, thereby preventing any sugar craving from lurking in on you. Though the first few days can be very difficult, it is worth the pain that you would have to endure.
Some people notice results within a few days, while some take a little longer to combat the sugar cravings. However, almost all people who try quitting sugar are able to stop their sugar cravings effectively; it just takes longer for some people than others. You are in essence training your taste buds to be satisfied with less; it works!
Tip 8: Mix the Unhealthy with the Healthy
When you find yourself craving sugar, you can combine the treat that you would intake with a healthy component to make the whole experience healthier. Once again, you aren’t denying yourself the treat, but simply combining the unhealthy element with the healthy element.
For instance, if you find yourself craving chocolate, try to dip a banana in chocolate. This way, you are combining chocolate and a banana and are more likely to find yourself satisfied with a smaller amount of chocolate. You can crumble a cookie on some crushed avocado or mix ice cream with fruit salad. These are all great ways to enjoying the processed sugars in moderation.
The key behind combining foods as such is, you are able to control the amount of sugar that you intake. You aren’t eating too much sugar in large amounts, but rather eating smaller potions that you can enjoy while staying healthy.
Not only do you satisfy your craving, but you also end up getting some useful nutrients in the process.
Tip 9: Be Adventurous With Your Food
Don’t simply eat the staple food that you eat every day. Expand your horizon and get curious in the kitchen. Mix in spices and herbs and make something truly exotic. Have fun with preparing your food and be adventurous with the meals that you prepare. This will enable you to instil healthier eating habits.
Try a recipe or two that you have never tried before. Get into the habit of preparing healthy meals. Simply changing your mindset to a healthier one will help you combat sugar cravings. You are more likely to say no and are more likely to think about your health before you give in to your sugar cravings.
Try eating some new vegetables and fruits; ones that you have never tried before. By changing what you eat on a day to day basis, you would find yourself getting excited about your meals and slowly the excitement over sugar will start to disappear.
Tip 10: Get Some Help
Doing anything alone isn’t as fun as doing it with more people. When you find yourself trying to stop sugar cravings, you would benefit by doing this with a friend. Maybe a friend experiences the same thing and you both can try to stop your sugar cravings together.
Join a community or make active changes to your lifestyle like joining a yoga class. Every little thing that you do to become a healthier self will help you fight off the urge to binge on sweets.
Get your family involved. Don’t simply tell them what you are trying to achieve, get them to actively encourage you on your journey. Their help and support will greatly help you along the way. That way, the next time to don’t give in to a craving, you can share that with your mother or your better half and they can encourage you by telling you how well you are doing.
Though this may seem petite, it is actually important that you have the support of people around you to help you achieve your goals. Hence, get people involved. The more the merrier.
Foods to Stop Sugar Cravings: 25 Foods That Curb Sugar Cravings
When you are trying to stop your sugar cravings from taking over your life, there are certain foods that can help you achieve this. By indulging these foods in your diet, you are less likely to give in to your sugar cravings and are more like to stay on the healthier side of life.
Here is our list of 25 foods to help you stop sugar cravings.
Though vegetables don’t directly help you curb a sugar craving, including them in your diet helps you indirectly curb sugar cravings.
Vegetables are loaded with fibre and have low-calorie content. They also contain various nutrients and many plant compounds that are integral for your health.
Eating more vegetables is a great thing that you can do for your health. It can help you stay healthy and can help lower the risk of various diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Adding vegetables into your meals, you are more likely to bulk up your meals, which means you are more likely to stay full after a meal. This will prevent you from craving sugary snacks and can really help you stop your sugar cravings.
2. Whole Grains
Loaded with fibre and nutrients such as B vitamins, magnesium, iron and selenium, whole grains are a great addition to your meals to help you combat sugar cravings.
The magnesium content in whole grains prevents you from developing a magnesium deficiency. As mentioned prior, a magnesium deficiency can be directly responsible for your sugar cravings.
Whole grains much like vegetables are rather filling, which means you are more likely to stay full after a meal of whole grains. They also work to regulate your blood sugar better, which in essence prevents you from developing sugar cravings.
3. Fermented Foods
Things like yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut are known to be sources of beneficial bacteria. This good bacteria that is found in these foods help reduce the number of disease-causing bacteria in your body.
These good bacteria influence your appetite and food craving by mimicking hunger and fullness hormones in your body. Thus, you are less likely to develop cravings.
Not only does including fermented foods helps prevent food cravings, they also keep your gut healthy.
4. Trail Mix
Dried fruit and nuts can be a great snack to have in between meals. It is healthy and loaded with nutrients. The sweetness of the dried fruit can help you quench your sugar cravings in a healthy manner.
Nuts contain healthy fats, protein, fibre and plant compounds that all work to better your health. They bring with them plenty of health benefits that will help improve your risk factors for various diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Hence choosing dried fruits and nuts enables you to choose a sweet treat that can help you treat your sweet tooth while ensuring that you get heaps of nutritious benefits from the snack.
Dried fruit and nuts can be high in calories, hence be sure to consume in moderate potions (one handful).
Eggs help you keep your cravings in check. They are high in protein and can help you better control your appetite.
Having a high-protein breakfast such as eggs in the morning, you are less likely to experience hunger, which will prevent you from eating too much throughout the rest of the day.
High protein breakfasts help suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin and increase the hormones that make you feel full. Hence, eggs can be a great way to stay full throughout the day, which can help prevent sugar cravings from arising.
Dried plums are full of fibre and nutrients and can be very tasty and sweet. Hence when you are craving sugar, prunes can be a great healthy alternative that can help you take a healthier turn to your sugar craving.
It contains sorbitol which is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is slowly absorbed by the gut. This helps prevent constipation.
If you are experiencing sugar cravings, you should keep prunes at home for you to treat yourself to a healthy snack, which is both nutritious and sweet.
7. Sugar-Free Soda
Soda is a beverage that you probably do crave. Regular soda however is loaded with processed sugar, making them one of the unhealthiest drinks on the planet.
That being the case, sugar-free soda is equally sweet and tasty and doesn’t contain the unhealthy amounts of sugar in the drink. When you are trying to fight sugar cravings, having sugar-free soda would help you treat yourself while ensuring that you don’t consume unhealthy amounts of sugar.
Stopping anything cold turkey can be difficult, which is why sugar-free soda is a great alternative to regular soda when you are trying to control your sugar cravings. It is a great way to get your sweet fix without consuming added sugar and calories.
If you find yourself craving something sweet and are looking to snack, smoothies can be a great option for you to entertain. Smoothies are healthy and can be very tasty based on what you make the smoothie with.
Fruit smoothies have the sweetness of fruits combined with the filling effects of milk and yoghurt. Not only will it help you satisfy your sweet tooth, but it will also provide you with a wholesome amount of helpful nutrients to keep you healthy.
When making smoothies, opt to use the whole fruit as opposed to the juice or parts of the fruit. This way, you get the most nutritional value. Just make sure to keep your added sugars in check and not add too much honey or chocolate into the smoothie.
9. Meat, Poultry and Fish
A good source of protein can help you keep your sugar cravings at bay. If you are trying to lose weight, it is very important to ensure an adequate quantity of protein in your diet to prevent cravings and weight gain.
When you consume a protein-based meal, you are more likely to stay full and satisfied and are less likely to snack after the meal. This can help you control your cravings, especially if you find yourself craving sugar.
If you are craving sugars, proteins would definitely help you soften the craving and keep them in control. Don’t worry if you are vegetarian, you can rely on plant-based protein sources to achieve the same results.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are extremely nutritious and can be very filling. Not to mention the fact that they are sweet. Consisting of mostly carbohydrates, they also contain a good amount of fibre and a number of vitamins and minerals.
Many people get sugar cravings because they aren’t eating enough throughout the day and find themselves hungry between meals. When you include a good carbohydrate source such as sweet potatoes in your meals, you ensure that you add healthy calories to your meal, which means they are more balanced.
With sweet potatoes, it is the added advantage of providing your body with what you need and what you crave. You need those nutrients which sweet potatoes contain, while at the same time you crave the sweetness which sweet potatoes provide. It is a win-win situation.
Dates are highly nutritious and are very sweet. If you are craving sugars, dates can be an excellent sweet and nutritious alternative to steer your sugar craving in the right direction.
They are a great source of fibre, potassium, iron and various other beneficial plant compounds. Having a few dates instead of ice cream or candy can give you the sweet fix that you are craving while ensuring that you are not hampering your body.
The natural sugars in dates are considered really healthy and you can pair them with nuts like almonds for a sweet and crunchy treat.
High in protein and calcium, yoghurt is a healthy snack that is good for you. It helps to regulate appetite and control your cravings.
You are less likely to find yourself hungry, thereby would find yourself craving less and eating less. This high-protein snack works really well to keep your sugar cravings in check, thereby ensuring that you don’t hamper your health.
Yoghurt contains live cultures which are great for your gut health and is free from added sugar, which is why it is great when you are trying to stop sugar cravings.
Legumes like lentils, beans and chickpeas are excellent sources of plant-based protein and fibre.
1 cup of lentils (198 grams) contains about 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fibre. Both protein and fibre help increase the feeling of fullness, which helps reduce hunger. This helps fight away hunger driven sugar cravings.
Eating legumes can actually help you lose weight. They can be great additions to the diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They have the ability to control appetite, thereby ensuring that you don’t snack on sugary treats in between meals.
14. Sugar-Free Chewing Gum and Mints
As mentioned prior, chewing gum can be a great way to keep your food cravings in check. When you consume sugar-free chewing gum, you are more likely to keep your mouth busy, thereby preventing you from craving.
Sugar-free chewing gum and mints are made with artificial sweeteners which taste sweet but have minimal calories and no sugar. This enables you to give yourself a sweet treat while ensuring that you aren’t actually eating any added sugar.
Chewing gum can help you control hunger and cravings and intake of heavy carbohydrates.
Further to the fact that chewing gum helps you control your appetite, it has also been found that chewing gum can be good for your teeth.
15. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a source of some important nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and fibre. It also contains heaps of helpful plant compounds.
The type of fibre that is found in chia seeds readily absorbs water and swells in the gut to form a jelly-like substance. This substance helps you feel full for a longer period of time, which in essence prevent sugar cravings.
Chia seeds can be a very versatile food. You can even make chia pudding to satisfy your sweet tooth.
16. Snack Bars
You have to be careful when you choose snack bars. Some are high in fat and sugar and you should work to avoid these snack bars.
However, they can be a healthier option when you are craving something sweet. You can find snack bars that are made with oats and sweetened with fresh or dried fruit rather than processed sugar.
You should however be careful of ‘healthy sugars’ which include honey, agave syrup and coconut sugar which is also considered added sugars that are not considered good for you.
If you find it difficult to source a healthy snack bar, you can make your own snack bar using recipes such as this one.
17. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate has to be the most popular sweet food that people eat when they crave sweets. If you find yourself craving chocolate, you could make the healthier choice by eating dark chocolate as opposed to regular chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains more than 70% cocoa and healthy plant compounds called polyphenols. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help improve the health of your heart.
However, dark chocolate like regular chocolate contains sugar and fat. Hence, you should really keep a check on the quantity that you consume and limit yourself to a small amount to satisfy your craving.
Berries are probably the most popular choice when you are trying to stop sugar cravings. They are exceptionally nutritious and are sweet. Though they are sweet, they actually contain only a small amount of sugar.
If you find yourself habitually craving sweets, berries can be a great alternative to processed sugar treats. For instance, if you crave some sweets while watching TV, you could opt for a bowl of berries, which is more nutritious and healthy.
Berries are rich in antioxidants and contain plant compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. They are great at reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
As mentioned earlier, if you are looking to stop your sugar cravings, you should really keep a stock of fruit at hand. By swapping sweet treats to fruits, you give yourself a nutritious boost and stop the sugar cravings in their tracks.
Fruits are naturally sweet and have various beneficial plant compounds in them. They can be a great sweet fix to turn your sugar craving into a healthy habit.
To actually get the sugar fix that you are craving, eat fruits that are higher in sugars such as mangoes and grapes.
If you find yourself hungry, you can add some yoghurt to the fruit or make a fruit salad or a smoothie to treat yourself to a small meal.
20. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea can be a great way to soothe your senses and ensure that you are stopping your sugar craving in its tracks. Herbal tea usually has some great flavour which can quench your thirst and leave you feeling energetic. It can also be a great healthy practice that can help you lead a healthier life.
Every time you find yourself craving something sweet, make yourself some herbal tea. This will help you curb your craving while ensuring a healthy break from the norm.
If you haven’t made a practice of sipping tea throughout the day, you should consider starting. Sipping herbal tea can be a great way to fight off sugar cravings. You can even add some artificial sweetener to your tea to provide yourself with a sweet treat without having to worry about the sugar intake.
Oats are an excellent source of fibre and can be very nutritious. It especially works to keep hunger in check and can work to help lower glucose levels. This could help you control your sugar craving in a natural and holistic manner.
When choosing oats, you have to avoid instant oatmeal packs which have high amounts of added sugar. Instead, stick to the old-fashioned oats or steel-cut oats.
You could add some nuts and seeds into the bowl of oatmeal and make a well rounded and yummy meal. Oatmeal can be a great start to the day, which will provide you with nutrients that you need, keep you full for a longer period of time and make it less likely for you to crave sugar.
22. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is slowly digested in the body, which increases satiety and slows down how foods are converted into sugar in the bloodstream. This helps balance blood sugar, thereby helping you to fight off sugar cravings.
Since coconut oil is saturated fat, you should ensure that you enjoy it in moderation. Coconut oil can be a great ingredient in your meals, which can work to make your meals healthier.
When choosing coconut oil, opt for cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil. This type of coconut oil actually retains more of its nutrients.
23. Olives and Olive Oil
Olives and olive oil contain healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help keep you feeling full for a longer period of time which helps curb sugar cravings.
Using olive oil can help you improve insulin resistance and help reduce blood sugar. Hence, when you are trying to combat sugar cravings, sprinkling a little olive oil on your meals can really go a long way in keeping your sugar cravings at bay.
The combination of protein and fat in cheese can help you curb your sugar cravings. However, cheese is a high-calorie food hence you should be mindful of the amount that you consume.
Cheese can be addictive for some people because it contains casomorphins, a form of mild opiate-like compound. These compounds attach to the brain receptors much like addictive drugs and release dopamine (‘feel good’ hormone). This dopamine release is similar to the release experienced when eating something sweet.
Hence, the next time you have a sugar craving, try eating a little cheese instead. You might find yourself pleasantly satisfied with the change.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga that is a great source of high-quality protein. There are more than 4 grams of protein in each tablespoon. Spirulina is also rich in vitamins and minerals which can all help fight away nutritional deficiencies which helps combat sugar cravings.
Spirulina contains an amino acid that is responsible for the production of neurotransmitters including dopamine. It is this dopamine fix that is similar to the dopamine fix observed when consuming something sweet, which makes it so useful in stoping sugar cravings.
You can simply add spirulina into a smoothie to gain all the health benefits and make your smoothie even more delicious. It is a great addition to a healthy diet to help you fight your sugar cravings.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings
It is a combination of willpower and adopting the right practices that will help you stop sugar cravings. So long as you listen to the tips that we have provided and incorporate the various foods that we have listed out, you should be well on your way to tackling your sugar cravings.
Sugar cravings will not simply disappear overnight. It will most certainly take some time for you to fight the condition and regain control. However, every time you say no or eat some fruit instead of a piece of chocolate, you train your body to change and you are winning.
Try adopting the tips that we have mentioned within this article and see how well you get along with curbing your sugar cravings. Over time, you will understand yourself better and know what works best for you.
We hope reading this word to word has provided you with some insightful information on tackling your sugar cravings and hope that you have come out the other side stronger and able to take control of your life. Don’t allow the sugar to control you, instead, control the sugar that you consume.
Take back your life, take back your health!