How to Stop Sugar Cravings

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There are many ways to stop sugar cravings; both long-term and short-term solutions are discussed here. Once you stay away from sugar and refined carbohydrates for a longer period of time, maybe a month, your taste buds will adjust and foods with no added sugar, such as fruit, will start to taste a lot sweeter. You won't need the overly sweet processed foods and refined sugars anymore.

how to stop sugar cravings image, sugar landscape
Snow like sugar. Copyright: Pelagos. To purchase the full-resolution version use the contact form below.

My personal experience is that giving up both, sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread and pastries - all gluten grains in fact - I get fast weight loss, less puffiness and more energy. But the withdrawal period is not easy - you can read more about that here: The Bigger Picture of Sugar Addiction.

In my experience, in addition to quitting sugar and processed carbs, I get the best results by cutting out honey, dates, and everything else that is sweet as well. I don't use agave syrup or maple syrup, whether raw or not, and I even cut out the most sugary fruits such as mangos and honey melons. Other people may well be able to eat these but in my case I get low blood sugar symptoms (tiredness, flu-like symptoms, fast heart beat) if I eat these. I still eat plenty of berries and fruit, some potatoes, quinoa, millet, amaranth, brown rice and wild rice for carbohydrates. I also snack on some dried fruit, such as figs and apples but I try to limit these and not eat too many. Some people may find dried fruit too sugary, however, and some people may choose to avoid anything starchy, including potatoes and rice.

When quitting sugar and gluten the worst seems to be over in three days, in my case. But there will be less strong cravings afterwards and after about a month you should start noticing your taste buds adjusting so that fruit starts tasting much sweeter than before.

Below is a list of tips for you to curb sugar cravings, and the more of these you can implement the easier it gets. All the below pointers assume that you are not eating any sugar, as well as no processed or gluten-containing carbs, because the more you eat of those the more you crave them.

Jump to:
How to Stop Sugar-Cravings Long-Term
How to Overcome Mental Sugar Cravings
How to Fight Fatigue Without a Sugar Rush

How to Stop Craving Sugar Immediately

  • Sip sparkling water. For some reason the bubbles seem to help keep you satisfied against cravings. I have seen this help for cigarette cravings and alcohol cravings too, as well as for sugar cravings. It quite possibly can help with other cravings too.
  • Eat healthy sources of fat. This will go a long way towards helping you not have sugar cravings. Some of you may not like this suggestion but replacing sugar with raw fat choices has been shown to be an efficient weight-loss tool. Eat, for example, home-made foods with: avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, cacao butter, coconut milk, etc. (I personally also eat quite a bit of olive oil although am concerned that it is not fresh enough when bought from a shop.)
  • Take a hot shower. I haven't tried this but heard that it helps to overcome cravings. I suspect a cold shower would have the same effect. Some people like to alternate between hot and cold showers.
  • Eat strong-tasting foods. Spicy food, chillies and herbs, as well as lemon, vinegar, mustard seeds, ginger, garlic, rocket, pickled capers and olives, etc. can help satisfy your palette so that the sugar cravings disappear. Choose according to your personal preferences of course. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water is one of the classic ways to curb cravings.
  • Use stevia to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sweeten your foods and drinks with it. Be very careful with the dosage, however, as it is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar! Stevia is a natural plant substance and has been shown to not cause a blood-sugar spike. Even Brian Clement of Hippocrates Health Institute approves of stevia.
  • Keep chlorella capsules with you and chew 6-8 of them whenever sugar cravings hit you (Brian Clement's tip).
  • Exercise, if you feel you have the energy. Often during detox and during the worst cravings you will feel tired and need to rest as a first priority to help your body cleanse and readjust itself. But once the fatigue starts lifting, you could try to exercise.

    Any movement helps with detox because it pumps your blood, lymph and energies, and also helps to oxygenate the blood. The liver especially loves it when you exercise.

    More vigorous exercise also produces feel-good hormones in the brain, which can help curb sugar cravings since feeding your addictions cause the same feel-good hormones to be felt. Replacing a sugar high with an exercise high can be very effective way to feel better. However, most likely, if you do vigorous exercise you will need to rest even more, so make sure you give yourself the rest of the day off.
  • how to stop sugar cravings
    Eating processed licorice root helps me to curb cravings, as I love licorice. Note that this product has no sugar added.

Jump to:
How to Stop Craving Sugar Immediately
How to Overcome Mental Sugar Cravings
How to Fight Fatigue Without a Sugar Rush

How to Stop Sugar-Cravings Long-Term

  • Make sure that you eat enough protein. Vegetarians especially are likely to crave sugar if they don't ensure an adequate protein intake (this was my problem). Protein helps to balance blood sugar and ensures that you stay full without indulging in too many carbohydrates.

    Include healthy protein sources, e.g. quinoa, spirulina, nuts and seeds - especially seeds like hemp and chia - in your daily diet and on every meal. If you are not a raw foodist or a vegan, you can also include organic meat, eggs, fish and game, although there are reports that the protein may get damaged by cooking.

    The exact quantity of protein needed can vary from a person to person and is also under debate by scientists and nutritionists. Some people thrive on vegan protein sources and others thrive on a paleo diet. The solution is a matter of personal experimentation and research into the different viewpoints.
  • Don't let yourself go hungry. Sugar cravings become impossible to resist when you are hungry. Make sure that you have healthy food choices available constantly, and plan your shopping and meals ahead. Snack often, especially protein-rich snacks, for example sugar-free peanut butter with apple slices; healthy pizza with starch-free base; healthy protein-rich pancakes; paleo bread; almonds and goji berries; dessert of pears, cashew nuts, cinnamon, and banana slices; or cucumber pieces dipped in sugar-free hummus.
  • Drink plenty of water, best possible quality. Cravings can get a lot worse if you are dehydrated. Dehydration hinders every aspect of your body: it harms you on a cellular level, stops your hormones from being able to get to where they need to go, hinders your lymph flow, causes stagnation and constipation, worsens any mucus problem and stresses the liver and other organs which then can't do their job of detoxifying you properly anymore. Dehydration clogs you up in every possible way as it stops everything flowing properly in your body. Anytime you are detoxifying you should be drinking plenty of water.
  • Eat often. Ensure you have healthy snacks, such as fruit or nuts, available and make sure to eat often. This will help you stabilise your blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings.
  • Rest. Tiredness is one of the worst things to bring on sugar cravings, because sugar gives you a quick energy fix, a sugar rush. But in the long term it saps your energy and can cause health problems, such as candida, anxiety, alcohol addiction, dehydration, adrenal fatigue, obesity, etc. Sugar has in recent research even been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, and many other diseases, even cancer.
  • Eat fibre-rich foods. White rice is definitely out of the picture if you are trying to maximise the benefits of sugar detox. Anything which is starchy and has no fibre is likely to spike your blood sugar. They will also keep you addicted to the quick blood sugar high.

    Fibre, on the other hand, slows down the release of sugar and makes it a lower glycemic index food, keeping the blood sugar more balanced. That is why sugar in fruit is fine to eat for most people, because of the fibre.

    Even bananas and melons have fibre, it's just different kind of fibre from, say, celery. I find that eating bananas is fine with me but some people find that they don't work for them and are too sugary. If you can get wild bananas (smaller and with bigger seeds) you should be safe eating them.
  • Breakfast is very important when it comes to sugar cravings. If you start your day with processed carbohydrates, starchy foods or sugary foods, you will crave these things all day. Also some chemicals in foods cause sugar cravings. So ensure a healthy breakfast which is ideally protein and fibre-rich with plenty of micronutrients as well (e.g. green juice). In addition, include a healthy form of fat in your breakfast and eat enough to keep you going for a while.
  • Cut out alcohol. Alcohol is a form of sugar. If you absolutely cannot quit alcohol right now, concentrate on low-sugar options, such as tequila with freshly squeezed lime and fruit juice (similar to margarita cocktail) or gin and sparkling water. Even tonic water has sugar in it and canned beers are some of the worst since in many countries they don't have to list ingredients on the label. Some of the less-sugary wines often have many chemicals, including dyes and perfumes. I personally find that alcohol gets me off-track every time, as I get cravings for heavy foods and sugar the next day and can't resist them. If you are sugar intolerant (insulin resistant) like I am - and many people are without knowing - alcohol will affect you very badly. For inspiration in reducing/ quitting alcohol, read: Long-Term Alcohol Detox Benefits
  • Eat coconut oil (ideally raw). Add some for example in your breakfast smoothie. It helps to reduce all food cravings, including sugar cravings, and it also helps to curb hunger in general. It can be difficult to find a good-tasting coconut oil, however.
  • Consider supplements to help balance your blood sugar. Research, for example, B-vitamin complex (can help moods and blood sugar balance), chromium (can help control cravings and reduce hunger), zinc (needed for blood sugar balance), magnesium (can help balance blood sugar and calm anxiety), L-cysteine (can reduce stress and cravings for alcohol) and omega 3s (can help with the correct functioning of insulin).

    Also ensuring plenty of antioxidants from foods, superfoods and/or supplements helps with any detox. Some of the best of these are: broccoli sprouts, chaga mushroom tea and turmeric, as well as vegetables and fruit with the strongest colours, e.g. berries. C-vitamin can also help with detoxification and is an antioxidant. But supplements should only be used as support to the more important lifestyle changes discussed above and will probably not be enough as the only way to curb sugar cravings. If you are on a low budget, don't worry about the supplements. When supplementing, however, it is best also to work with a good nutritionist since everyone's deficiencies are different.
  • Eat blood-sugar-balancing foods and superfoods. For example, cinnamon, cacao, licorice, chillies, schizandra berry and aloe vera can help but this, again, should only be a supporting method and not the only method to help you stop sugar cravings.
  • Fasting. Many people say that fasting on water or green juices for a day or more can lessen food cravings and make transitioning into a new diet easier. It has been said to 'reset the system'. Although I have fasted before many times, I have not tried it specifically as a cure for cravings.
  • Enemas and colonics can help your body detoxify and to clean your system quicker. Coffee enemas when done correctly can help to cleanse the liver, one of the main organs which will have to work hard during a detox.
  • Address any nutritional imbalances that may be contributing to your addiction, like unstable blood sugar, candida, parasites, dehydration, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, fatigue from a weak endocrine system, heavy metal toxicities, etc. Candida and parasites cause sugar cravings because that is what they need for their survival. Reading Nutritional View on Sugar Addiction may be a good start.
  • stop sugar cravings, sugar withdrawal, carbohydrate addiction
    Thank you jbenjaminblog.wordpress.com for the image.
  • Stay away from artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to cause more obesity than sugar, to be addictive, to affect your moods and to cause diseases. To find out more, study 'excitotoxins'. If you want to train your taste buds to taste the natural sweetness of wholefoods, you will also have to stay away from healthier, natural sweeteners, such as stevia. On the other hand, stevia might be a 'life-safer' for many people who want to be able to enjoy some extra sweetness here and there.
  • Watch out for sugar in food labels. Sugar can hide under many names, such as: cane juice, dextrin, maltodextrin, dextran, barley malt, caramel, molasses, diatase, diatastic malt, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, turbinado, ethyl maltol, etc.

    Anything with the word 'syrup' is also sugar: e.g. malt syrup, corn syrup, buttered syrup, carob syrup, golden syrup, maple syrup, sorghum syrup, refiner's syrup, etc.

    Most terms ending in -ose are sugar, for example: sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, glucose solids.

    Also, obviously, anything that includes the word 'sugar' should be left on the shelf: beet sugar, invert sugar, brown sugar, date sugar, yellow sugar, etc.

    To save you from reading the labels, and to be super-healthy, you could cut out processed foods altogether and concentrate on wholefoods that are unpackaged or foods that have very few ingredients, all of which sound like foods, not chemicals. Many chemicals can be also be addictive - and affect your moods and brain function - and thus hinder your progress.

    Note that low-fat and gluten-free products can be some of the highest in sugar content. For the majority of people sugar is more fattening than fat so the low-fat label can be in many ways very misleading.

Jump to:
How to Stop Craving Sugar Immediately
How to Stop Sugar-Cravings Long-Term
How to Fight Fatigue Without a Sugar Rush

How to Overcome Mental Sugar Cravings

  • Journalling through your feelings. Instead of trying to distract yourself, which can work as a method as well to get over sugar cravings. Journalling and focusing on your feelings can help to bring longer-term success in living sugar-free. It can also help you focus and get over the worst days. It will help you understand the nature of addiction and your symptoms more, and will most likely provoke research into areas that are not that clear yet in your mind, making you into a sugar-free living expert!
  • Associate with sugar-free people. It is a good idea to talk to people who are sugar-free, because this will inspire and motivate you, which in turn will make cravings seem less of a problem. Find sugar-free people online, read blogs and books about quitting sugar and watch documentaries, such as 'Raw for 30 Days' or 'Hungry for Change'.
  • Daily positive affirmations. These can really reset your mind and change your life. You can record them on your phone and listen to them two or more times a day.
  • Staying with your feelings and thoughts, not trying to distract yourself. This is important with any longer-term life change for reasons discussed here.
  • Learning to work with your body's 'felt sense'. Similarly to the point above, this will give you more tools to understand your body and your emotions.
  • Hypnosis, in the form of self-hypnosis or with a professional can focus your subconscious mind to love being sugar-free. One form of self-hypnosis are subliminal audio files.
  • Reduce sugar gradually instead of going cold turkey if you find that this makes it easier for you. I personally prefer cold turkey but this approach often causes people to yoyo between very healthy diets and very unhealthy ones. I have plenty of experience of the yoyo-effect myself!
  • Give yourself a lot of time and space to digest all the feelings that come up when you are stopping to anaesthetize yourself with sugar or another food or drug of choice. In fact usually a life change requires some time and space for self-reflection. You may have to become a social hermit for a while or take time off work if you feel like you need it. That's why retreats and sugar rehab centres can be much more enjoyable ways of quitting than continuing with life as usual (just suddenly without one of your props, sugar). But you can also create your own retreat environment at home.
  • Cultivate diverse interests that provide meaning to your life. Understand that problems are usually transient and that life isn't always meant to be pleasurable. You may have to find new activities in your life that promote health and sugar-free lifestyle. It is impossible to live a life that feels full of restrictions and limitations for long but if you have like-minded people around you, lots of activities that you enjoy which go well with healthy living, and plenty of motivational material to read, watch and listen to - then you won't feel deprived or limited anymore but instead you feel like you are expanding your life and enjoying it more than before.

    Start a list of possible new activities that you might enjoy and keep adding to it when you think of new ones. Then try them out and adjust your list according to whether you liked it or not.

    If you are living on a budget, consider joining local groups who arrange hiking trips or day trips or sign up for a working holiday on an organic farm (e.g. via WWOOF or HelpX). These and other opportunities (see, e.g. 'Ethical Travel Guide' by TourismConcern) are provided all around the world - and food and accommodation are provided free against your work input.
Live your values everyday. Stay true to yourself and don't compromise because of other people, your job, or how your environment wants you to be. This goes for staying away from cakes but for other things in life as well. The more you learn to stay in touch with the real you the less likely you are to live your life in a way that doesn't serve your highest purposes.
  • Keep a list of the reasons why you want to quit sugar in your pocket, purse or wallet and read it several times a day. You can even use your screen-saver or passwords to remind yourself of your goals. Keep all writing to positive form as much as possible, this is much more effective in motivating you.

    For example: 'I love being sugar-free' or 'I love being more energetic and strong' or 'I am healing my diabetes and becoming free of the symptoms'. You can also have posters and images around which you recognise as symbols of the freedom and your new, exciting life.
  • Exposure therapy against cravings. Pick up a magazine with lots of images of sugary foods that you love, and go through them slowly, observing what feelings come up in you. Do this both after eating your stomach full and when hungry.

Jump to:
How to Stop Craving Sugar Immediately
How to Stop Sugar-Cravings Long-Term
How to Overcome Mental Sugar Cravings

How to Fight Fatigue without a Sugar Rush

  • Don't push yourself too hard - you shouldn't have to feed your body sugar for it to cope with everyday life. Think about and recognize the situations when you are most vulnerable to wanting sugary foods and/or drinks and assess why you are not happy with that situation without sugar. Do you need to numb your feelings with sugar? Do you need a sugar-rush pick-up to focus or to feel less tired at that time? Why? Are you lacking energy, bored, feeling unloved, feeling not good enough, or something else? Is there an emotional need you are trying to fill or distract from? Recognise the bigger underlying problems in these moments of sugar abuse.

    I have noticed that when I am enjoying myself and do something exciting, I don't think about sugar or unhealthy foods at all! In fact I even forget to eat sometimes. So bad foods seem to go with bad emotional states, even though they are also used at times of celebration.
  • how to stop sugar cravings image, sugar landscape
    Sugar landscape by Pip and Pop (Pipandpop.com.au)
  • Unless you 'kick' your adrenal glands and hormones into function with sugar, caffeine, or something else, your body's natural levels of fatigue will start to be felt. The best solution is to give up stimulants altogether and to enhance the energy levels of your body naturally. Another article dedicated to this topic is here: Eating for Energy.
  • A cold shower will get your blood pumping and your body feeling energetic. Ensure you are warm before taking a cold shower, otherwise you won't warm up properly afterwards. Put the water as cold as it will go, and start by the bottoms of each of your foot quickly with the cold water. Then run the water up each leg, briefly. Do the same with your arms, inside your hands first, then arms. Next, shower your belly, then moving up your torso and shoulders. Next, shower your face, and finally let the water fall on your head, neck and back. The whole procedure should not take more than 1 minute. Dry yourself properly and a wear little warmer clothes than usual, ensuring that you warm up properly and quickly.
  • Take a walk outside if the weather is on the cool side, this will wake you up as well.
  • Wash your face with cold water.
  • Jump and/or exercise.
sugar cravings, sugar addiction
Thank you candiesandcrunches.com for the image.

In terms of the Law of Attraction, what you focus your mind to becomes stronger. So in this case you don't want to focus on the sugar cravings too much but instead, focus on how happy you are being sugar free. "I am happy to be sugar free" is a good mantra that can be repeated over and over again to help focus the mind away from cravings and perhaps even to stop sugar cravings altogether.

Jump to:
How to Stop Craving Sugar Immediately
How to Stop Sugar-Cravings Long-Term
How to Overcome Mental Sugar Cravings
How to Fight Fatigue Without a Sugar Rush

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Sugar addiction and alcohol addiction are two problems which often go hand-in-hand...
Benefits of Long-Term Alcohol Detox

Sugar is one of the main things causing anxiety...
Anxiety Diet Conclusions.
Understanding Sugar Addiction (Carbohydrate Sensitivity) from a Nutritional Angle.
Adrenal Insufficiency
How to Stop Cravings

Natural remedies for conditions which may partly be linked to sugar: tiredness, thirst, diabetes, alcoholism, candida, hypoglycaemia, bloated belly, anxiety, ADHD, anger, blood sugar imbalance, cancer, burnout, carbohydrate sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, addictions, depression, dehydration, food intolerance, heart palpitations, hot flashes, hypoglycaemia, inflammation, insulin resistance, ibs, metabolic syndrome, nervousness, overweight and restless leg syndrome.

How it feels to quit sugar and why we have cravings in the first place:
The Nature of Sugar Addiction.


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