Nutrition Articles

How to Stop Sugar Cravings

Pull Your Sweet Tooth with These Tips

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Do you feel like you're constantly giving in to your sweet tooth? Are your cravings so constant that they're hard to ignore? Like any other habit, turning to sugar can be a tough one to kick. It seems like the more sweets and desserts you have, the more you are waiting for the next hit. Where does the battle end?

There isn't a single cure-all to this problem, but in general, the less sweets you eat, the less you'll crave them. So how do you get to that point? Here are a few tips that just might help you pull your own sweet tooth once and for all.
  • Try to find a substitute. Generally, people tend to crave sweets after a meal or as a pick-me-up in the late afternoon. It might be helpful to have something else there and ready to fight off those cravings. For example, peppermint tea might work in the evening, a box of raisins in the afternoon, a piece of fruit, or anything else that you can think of that would be somewhat nutritious and easy to keep with you. If you must have "sweet," go with something that's naturally sweet, such as dried fruit or even 100% fruit juice.
  • Wait out the craving. Most nutrition experts say that the cravings you experience will only last a couple of minutes. So if you can wait it out, they will pass and you will be better for it. Try to occupy yourself for a good 10 minutes when you get a craving. Call a friend, take a short walk or do something to distract yourself.
  • Set daily goals and reward yourself for meeting them. To a sugar addict, nothing is tougher than getting through the day without a sugary treat. The longer you can hold out, the easier it will become, so try to find a reward that would be worth holding out for. I did this about a year ago and gave myself a dollar for every day that I did not indulge in sweets, and at the end of the month, I would go get a manicure or buy myself something nice. Continued ›
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About The Author

Holly Little Holly Little
A former Division I basketball player, Holly is a certified in Spinning and personal training.

Member Comments

  • SOXGAL33
    Sugar tends to leave me crampy and irritable...but I continue to crave it. If I can get to three days without it, I note I am happier and less bloated. So why the pull? Grr.

    Today my distraction was a large unsweetened iced tea with lemon. It's is reading these great posts!

    Thanks! - 5/6/2016 3:47:49 PM
  • OOps, I forgot to add this to my previous comment.

    Fruit contains sugar, so it really isn't an appropriate substitute for a "sugary treat". Your body doesn't distinguish between the sugar in fruit, starchy carbs (like breads and potatoes) and cake/cookies, etc. It is all sugar. Agave and honey, too. We can't pat ourselves on the back for using a "natural" sweetener if they are perpetuating the addiction.
    - 3/8/2016 3:34:43 PM
  • Sugar detox works fine for me, after several days I'm no longer craving sugar, but then a special occasion comes up and that first bite of sugar gets me. I'm hooked until the next detox, which would be okay if I started immediately after taking that bite. Instead, I give in and overdo the sweet treats until I disgust myself, and then I have to start all over.

    As long as I "just say no" to any and all sugar, I'm fine.
    - 3/8/2016 3:30:12 PM
  • According to the movie "Fed Up", they cited research with cocaine-addicted rats. 43 of 45 rats in the study preferred sugar water to cocaine.

    So, they concluded that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Something to consider. - 2/23/2016 5:04:11 PM
  • Finally an article I have found helpful on the addiction of sugar!!!! I'll.try the distraction method. Hmmm as far back as I can remember,,, I've been seeking out sugary things!! Even at the age of 4 sneaking out of the house,,,, there was a market less than 3 minutes away,,,,and STEALING candy!! By the age of 7 I had it perfected!!! The stealing stopped when I babysat ,,age 14.

    TY for all the suggestions. - 12/20/2015 2:52:55 PM
  • I've struggled with this even since all the years I've been using SP. I made it a rule not to have any sweets before lunch. That's pretty easy because I've never wanted them in the morning anyway.
    Then I made Other Goals in SP for avoiding sweets in the afternoon and for dessert at home at least three times per week. Now I'm in the habit of avoiding them at work. This summer I made another goal to not eat dessert during the week, only on weekends, and I,ve stuck to it for nearly six months. It's hard every day but sloooowly it becomes a habit and I know it's better for my health and my waistline, and I honestly feel better when I eat this way.

    To clarify, sweets mean added sugar, to me. I eat as much fruit as I want and I make sure to have lots of fresh, frozen, and dried fruit around. A nice ripe pear or pineapple or melon to me tastes so much better than a donut or dry cookies, but it takes time to get to that point. It's a struggle but keep at it for your health! - 12/20/2015 12:13:53 PM
  • "To a sugar addict, nothing is tougher than getting through the day without a sugary treat"
    SOOOOOO True! I've struggled with this for years and years. And this article and the comments have provided me with a little bit more strength to try another day!! - 12/20/2015 6:34:17 AM
  • Great article! I like the idea of paying yourself a dollar for everyday you go without sugar. - 12/15/2015 8:43:45 AM
    Good article and I agree with a lot of the comments (the picture makes me want a donut, carb cravings diminish when you eat few carbs or diminish when delaying gratification and some of the tips, like 'eat a piece of fruit', just isn't the same). One "rule" I have created for myself is, if I MUST have a sweet and nothing else will do the trick, I make it a dessert, instead of a single snack. If you've already had a balanced meal with protein and plenty of veggies (plus maybe a starch or fruit), there's way less room in your tummy to overindulge. One serving of brownie makes you feel "over the top" so you stop before you realize you just finished half a pan - 9/2/2015 1:50:24 PM
  • This article contains some great info, and the comments posted highlight how hard it is to kick the habit. Clearly when we eat the sweet stuff, we set ourselves up for the cravings and the inevitable CrAsH. Over time the whole process of steering relatively free of sugar is no longer as hard, yet it has NEVER been easy. Each time we say no, flip the switch in our brains to think something differently, or when all else fails...suck on a sugar free candy (one of my go to life savers ;~\), I feel empowered...annnn
    nd no piece of chocolate can compare with that feeling! - 7/21/2015 7:46:06 AM
    I'm always tempted to eat anything sweet, in January I stopped eating and drinking chocolate, but just recently I pounded down, one pound box of red velvet fudge, witch made me feel very awful, every time I look at myself I've become my own worse critic, my blood pressure is also high as well. - 7/20/2015 11:47:12 PM
  • I've used the "waiting it out" method in the past, and it worked. I'll institute it again, and add the money reward! - 7/20/2015 11:11:39 PM
  • Pictures of sugary donuts just make me want them.
    - 7/20/2015 6:23:16 PM
  • I remember when I was in high school (30+ years ago), my mom decided to "clean" herself up. She wanted to get off caffeine and sugar. Wow. That was huge since she drank tea for breakfast and dinner and probably about two liters (she had bottles and cans) of Tab, now known as Diet Coke. She felt the only way she could do this was cold turkey. I kid you not, she was in bed for two weeks. When she got up, she was weak, had trouble eating, and did lose almost twenty pounds -- she thinks it was from sweating. I just remember going in the room and telling her I was leaving for school or going out and she would said, "Okay, let me know when you're home and don't forget to lock the door".

    By the end of the second week, being the little snot that I was, I told her I was pregnant and running off to Vegas to marry the guy who wasn't my then-boyfriend. She said the same thing. After she got up from her down time, she asked me if I had gotten married and I played dumb. What? Me? I never said that. Afterwards, I thought of a lot of things I probably could have gotten away with, but I doubt my dad would have approved.

    However someone chooses to curb an addiction, know that it can be done with strong will and determination. My mom is still "clean", going on 32 years now. I'm working on it, but I have too much of my father's stubborn Polish side to go cold turkey. I started by substituting agave syrup for white sugar. Only problem is I think the syrup tastes like burnt butterscotch and I LOVE butterscotch. But I'll get there eventually.

    Anything's possible. I just have to convince myself of that. - 7/20/2015 3:42:24 PM
  • I found that gradually reducing the proportion of carbs in my diet eliminated the cravings. For me, I get into craving trouble if I start creeping above 45% carbs. I also try to maintain that for my meals as well because a carb laden meal can send me into ravenous cravings too.

    As healthy as oatmeal is for so many it is a ticking time bomb for me. It leaves me feeling empty and starving within about 90 minutes and I feel so hungry that I joke about going into "hunt it down and kill it mode." Very uncomfortable feeling. So, no more oatmeal for me.

    The nutrition proportions that are working for me are as follows:
    carbs - 40% to 45%
    fat - 30% to 35%
    protein - 20% to 30%

    Too little fat in my diet (less than 30%) can set cravings up for me too. So, what's working for me is increased fat and decreased carbs. - 7/20/2015 12:25:46 PM

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