I have been battling sugar cravings what seems like forever. Sugary treats are my weakness for sure when it comes to food.
While I am not perfect and find myself giving in to cravings every so often, I have found ways to limit the cravings and beat them when I need to!
Sugar is a sneaky, addictive substance and killing the cravings aren’t always as easy as just deciding to avoid it and not eat sugar. Sugar does something to our biochemistry and killing the cravings requires us to learn more and be more aware of why we may have these cravings. From the chemical properties to the emotional and habitual ties we have to this sweet substance.
Sugar is a highly addictive drug. Having just a little bit creates a desire for more and suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, cravings, and fatigue.
But before you can kick the habit, it’s important to know where you are getting sugar from beside the obvious places like cakes, cookies, table sugar and candy.
Sugar is also in almost all conventional (and even many natural) breads, canned vegetables, yogurt, pasta sauce, salad dressings, sauces, and even baby food and baby formula. Processed and packaged convenience foods use sugar to enhance flavors and make you want to eat it. Many restaurants use more sugar when preparing meals than you would ever use at home! Educating yourself on all the different forms that sugar comes in on the ingredient list is a great start to build the awareness you need to control the cravings!
- corn syrup
- corn syrup solids
- high fructose corn syrup
- glucose/glucose syrup
- barley malt
- cane juice
- evaporated cane juice (crystals)
Here are some tips for Kicking the Sugar Cravings and habit:
1: Reduce Caffeine
Coffee without breakfast in the morning is a recipe for a sugar craving disaster. When we wake up (if we have healthy adrenal glands), we are supposed to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which helps us start our day. Many of us are tired and under-rested, and therefore not producing enough cortisol, so we hit the coffee pot for a substance-induced “hit” of it.
Then this unnatural spike bathes our cells in cortisol and insulin can’t get in to feed them. When the cortisol bath wears off, our cells are screaming for insulin in the form of sugar to put out the “state of emergency” the body is experiencing.
So, if when having the cup of morning coffee, have it with breakfast. Make sure that breakfast contains both protein and healthy fat. You may also consider switching to green tea to lower your coffee/caffeine intake or introduce some decaf to your coffee.
2: Drink Lots of Mineralized Water
Mineral deficiency causes sweet cravings and purified or reverse osmosis water often doesn’t contain (enough) minerals. The purification or RO process does a great job getting out the bad stuff we don’t want, but unfortunately, it can also filter out the trace minerals, which are essential to fully hydrate us.
So, choose mineralized (not mineral) water whenever you can or if you drink RO water, pick up a bottle of essential trace minerals at your local health food store and add a few drops to each glass. A good general rule of thumb for water is to drink 1 liter or 34 ounces per every 50lbs of body weight daily.
Drinking enough of the right kind of water will slash cravings, boost energy, and do wonders for your digestive and immune system.
3: Complex Carbohydrates
If you are a sugarholic, I challenge you to have 1 sweet potato with lunch every day for five days and see how you do with sugar cravings. A lot of low carb eaters end up craving a lot of sugar.
Ceylon Cinnamon (keep in mind that the typical grocery store cinnamon is the cassia variety) has been clinically proven to stabilize blood sugar and to have a healing effect on the pancreas.
Adding cinnamon to your coffee, breakfast smoothie, sweet potato, or whatever else you can think of is a great way to gracefully detox from sugar. It tastes sweet and satisfies your taste buds.
Other natural sweeteners to use sparingly that will give you that sweet flavor without the negative biochemical reaction in the body are dark liquid stevia, coconut sugar, raw honey, and maple syrup. Start upgrading the way you use sweeteners and soon you will crave less and less.
5: Cut Back on Animal Protein
If you are eating animal protein with every meal, adjust that or maybe eat a bit less, and see if that helps. Alternatively, not enough animal protein creates sugar cravings. Evaluate how much animal protein you consume and begin to play with the amount to see how it affects your cravings and energy level.
6: Get enough Sleep
When you are not well rested you crave sweets and carbohydrates. Have you noticed that when you are sleep deprived you want those sweet treats more or reach for the bread or donuts! This is a chemical reaction in the body.
Your body needs to rest and recover.
There is no replacement for enough sleep. Sleep is how our bodies repair and adapt. If we don’t sleep enough, the body will, again, try to create a balanced state by craving sugar. Rest and relaxation are underrated in our culture.
Be counter cultural and take time to rest and rejuvenate.
Getting enough exercise in the form of movement you enjoy (versus dragging yourself to the gym) is another way to naturally cut down on sweet cravings. Going for a walk or finding a fitness routien that you love and connect with will make a large difference in your cravings. Walking especially outside in the fresh air is also a great way to fend off a sugar craving. You will give your body natural energy from movement and the cravings will slowly go away!
As I have said earlier, our bodies crave things often times because it is looking for a nutrient. We can solve the sugar cravings by making sure we are getting the proper nutrition. This is mainly accomplished by eating whole, natural foods like veggetables and fruits.
I also run a 7-Days to Making Exercise a Habit Challenge at least once per month. I’d love to have you join me and see if we can work together to help you live a healthier more fulfiulling life!
Get in touch with me to see when I will be running the next free challenge. The challenges are a fun way to team up with other people as I guide you through the challenge! You can fill out the contact form to the right or send me a message and let me know to put you in the next free group!