You are probably wonder how you can break your sugar addiction.
I used to be a sugar junkie, craving sweets day and night (especially during midnight!) Until I realized, this bad habit has to stop. I just woke up one day and I knew that in order to get healthy and fit, I must break this sugar addiction.
I tried many strategies to end my constant need to binge on sweets, some worked for me and others didn’t. After centuries of trial and error, I’ve written down some of the best ways to stop sugar cravings naturally that personally helped me.
So, how do you break a sugar addiction? Breaking a sugar addiction should start with switching the kind of food you are eating. Moreover, you should change the frequency and portions of the meals you are taking. Steering clear from sugar by not buying any sweets to stock up in the pantry will help end the round-the-clock sugar snacking.
Always craving sugar could also be a sign that you are lacking certain nutrients in your body.
Ways to Break Your Sugar Addiction
There are several ways to break your sugar addiction. Like choosing a boyfriend, you have to figure out which ones will work for you and your lifestyle. Here are the best ways to break the addiction:
Gradual VS Cold Turkey
I bet you are wondering, is it better to quit sugar gradually or cold turkey?
Well, the answer is, it really depends on you. Some people prefer a gradual process, while others find doing abrupt changes more effective. So, it is up to you to figure out what works for you.
Gradually reducing your sugar consumption
Instead of eating a big slice of cake after every meal, try reducing it to half a slice. Then once you are used to half a slice, decrease it to a quarter of a slice until you are no longer feeling the intense craving to eat more sweets than what your body actually needs.
This method is especially great if you’ve already tried going cold turkey but failed. If you’ve already tried sudden withdrawal and you noticed that you tend to yo-yo when you do, then try the gradual method instead!
If you think going cold turkey will best work for you then you must do it right. Clean out your pantry and your fridge!
Like what they say — out of sight, out of mind.
Steer clear of your favorite ice cream shop before going home from work, and make sure to keep yourself fed. Avoid feeling hungry, at least for the first few weeks. Since the hunger might intensify the cravings. Hunger most often than not results in binge eating.
One major pro to quitting sugar cold turkey is losing weight naturally and quickly. Try to not consume any sugar for an entire month and see how many pounds you drop just by quitting. So, if you are looking for a way to lose weight in a short period of time, then I would suggest trying this method.
Tip for going cold turkey: If you find yourself suddenly craving sugar, try to distract yourself with an activity.
Like what I mentioned before, avoid feeling hungry. Create an eating schedule and stick to it! This used to be a huge problem of mine. Since I get so distracted with adulting, I used to always forget to eat on time which led to a lot of binge eating. When I binged, I would eat so much until I felt sick to my stomach, this made my addiction worse.
Make sure to keep yourself from getting hungry. Eating regularly will keep you satisfied all throughout the day, which will lessen the intensity of the sugar craving. Also, it will lessen the chances of feeling overwhelmed and giving up.
Drink a glass of water
Many times, we feel that we are hungry but we are just not drinking enough water. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated to avoid feeling like you need to munch on something even if you aren’t really hungry. Drinking a glass of water should be the first thing you do when a craving strikes.
Always carry a jug or a flask with you to remind yourself to regularly drink water.
Chewing sugar-free gum will keep your cravings in check. The gum will give you that sweet satisfaction without the sugar. Not only is chewing gum great for combatting your sugar addiction, but it is also an excellent way to reduce snack cravings. Sometimes when we get bored, we tend to look for snacks. Chewing the gum will keep you occupied while you do your daily tasks, which will help you think of sugarless.
Quality over quantity
Most of us sugar addicts tend to go for quantity over quality because we know that a small amount just won’t satisfy the craving. But, having a small chunk of your favorite quality chocolate bar is better than eating an entire bag of sweets that are just “okay”.
Eat more protein
Eating more protein will keep you feeling full longer, and being full will help you fight the cravings. Have you ever experienced being so hungry, you can eat an entire cake, a pint of ice cream, and a dozen donuts? Hunger intensifies our cravings which will make us eat more than what our body needs.
If you are worried about getting bulky if you consume more protein, fret not! Women don’t have enough testosterone in our bodies to get bulky like men.
Avoid getting stressed
Some people look for sugar when they want to feel good and destress. If you feel that you are one of these people, try to avoid getting stressed. Like what they say, prevention is better than cure. Try meditating, working out, getting more sleep, or creating a stress journal where you can rant and vent all you want just to release some of that pressure.
When you let yourself get hungry, you risk intensifying that urge to stuff your face with sweets. Create an eating schedule you can stick to, to avert that sugar hunger. So remember, one great way to break your sugar addiction is to eat regularly.
Have a piece of fruit
Stock up on fruit, and once you feel that sugar craving hit, grab yourself a piece of fruit. The fruit will satisfy that craving for something sweet, without feeding your addiction. Try switching your unhealthy desserts to fruits!
How Do People Develop a Sugar Addiction?
Why did we develop this bad habit? What caused this obsession to the sweet yummy goodness?
Some studies show that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine. What? I know right!
Oftentimes, we see sugar as a reward.
Have you ever had a stressful day at work where you are just mentally and physically exhausted? Then, while you are on your way home you stop by a convenience store and buy yourself a chocolate bar or two? K. Fine. Maybe three.
Once you get home you collapse into the couch and stare at the ceiling while you eat every bite of that candy bar.
Yes, I know this story all too well.
Your brain sees sugar as a reward, which makes you want it more. Since we often link sugar as a sweet reward, it makes it hard to break the habit.
The Sugar Highs
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, it is quickly turned into glucose in the bloodstream. When this happens, your sugar level spikes which give you the quick sugar highs.
The Sugar Lows
Your body will then need to move glucose out of your bloodstream and into yours cells to create energy.
In order to do this, your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Because of this, your blood sugar level may suddenly drop. This rapid drop in your blood sugar level will make you feel unsteady and worn out, which makes you search for more sweets to get that “sugar high” back.
Sugar Addiction Signs
Well, obviously, a crystal clear sign of sugar addiction is consuming large amounts of sweets, sugary food and drinks.
If you find yourself devouring way too many sweets in your day, then it might be a sign that you have an addiction to sugar.
But aside from this, there are other signs, and here are some of the most common ones.
You need a lot to satisfy the craving
When one slice of cake, one scoop of ice cream, or one regular size chocolate bar doesn’t cut it for you, then it is a sign you are addicted. Sugar addicts are often aware that the amount of sugar they are consuming is excessive but they just can’t seem to stop.
Hiding your bad habit
If you find yourself having to hide from your friends, family, roommate when you eat when you eat that 10 pound candy bar, then you are aware that you have a problem. And instead of fixing the problem, you are just concealing it.
Knowing the consequences and eating a lot of sugar anyway
Let’s be honest, you know sugar is bad for you. You know it causes cavities, weight gain, breakouts, sluggish energy — and yet you eat a lot of it anyway. I know, cause I was the exact same!
Eating sweets even when you aren’t hungry
I used to eat so much food until I was full but I always had room for dessert.
I’m not talking about the tiny serving of dessert you get at an overpriced fancy restaurant, I’m talking about a big tub of ice cream!
Yes, I was that addicted to sugar, even if I was stuffed, I still couldn’t say no to dessert.
Going out of your way to satisfy the craving
You know those late night trips to Mcdonald’s to get five mcflurrys just for yourself? Well, yeah, it’s also a sign.
You feel guilty
Feeling shame after eating is not only a sign of a sugar addiction, but could also be a sign that you have an eating disorder. If you feel that you have an unhealthy relationship with food, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist or a doctor.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Better?
This is a controversial topic.
Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin (Sweet’N Low), sucralose (Splenda), and aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) don’t have any nutritional benefits to them, so health-wise, they aren’t technically “healthy”. These artificial sweeteners are great for cutting back on calories and weight management.
So, if you enjoy drinking sodas but you want to lose weight, you can switch to “diet” soda.
However, studies show that artificial sweeteners are hundreds or thousands of times sweeter than sugar, which can intensify the sugar cravings even more. So just don’t overdo it.
Just remember, everything in moderation!
Use artificial sweeteners as your stepping stone to switching to a healthier lifestyle and a way to slowly break your sugar addiction. Do not think of them as permanent fixes to your sugar problem.
How long does it take to stop craving sugar?
It varies per person, but usually the first 48 to 72 hours of cutting out sugar completely will be hard. Just continue to fight the urges and the intense cravings will decrease after a few days.
What should I eat when I crave sugar?
Fruits are the best choice to still please your sweet tooth without consuming simple sugar. Reach for dark chocolate instead of milk or white chocolate, but be sure it is at least 70% cacao.
What happens when you stop eating sugar for a month?
If you stop consuming sugary food and drinks for a month you will find your skin clearer, your body weight will decrease naturally, your mental clarity and gut health will also improve.