Nutrition Articles

Breaking Your Sugar Addiction

The 4-Week Plan to Stop Sugar Cravings

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By Lauri Watson, Registered Dietitian         
Page 2 of 4

Week 1: Identify Sugar and Where It's Hiding
The first step in conquering your sugar habit is to rid your pantry and refrigerator of added sugar. Some things (think ice cream, cookies and candy) are obvious, but most of us need to look closer at where the sugar in our diets is coming from. This will require a bit of label reading in the beginning, but after a while, it will become easier.

In order to cut back on hidden or added sugar, scan the ingredients list of a food label. If you see any of the following terms listed, then sugar has been added to the product in one form or another and it is best left on the shelf at the store—especially if that sugar shows up within the first five ingredients of any food product.

Agave nectar
Agave syrup
Barley malt
Beet sugar
Brown rice syrup
Brown sugar
Buttered syrup
Cane sugar
Cane juice
Cane juice crystals
Carob syrup
Confectioner’s sugar
Corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup
Corn sugar
Corn sweetener
 
Corn syrup solids
Crystalized fructose
Date sugar
Dextran
Dextrose
Diatase
Diastatic malt
Evaporated cane juice
Fructose
Fruit juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose
Glucose solids
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Grape sugar
 
Grape juice concentrate
Honey
Invert sugar
Lactose
Malt
Maltodextrain
Maltose
Maple syrup
Molasses
Raw sugar
Refiner's syrup
Sorghum syrup
Sucanat
Sucrose
Sugar
Turbinado sugar
Yellow sugar

This first week is about awareness. Reading labels before you buy—or bite. How many of your favorite foods contain hidden sugars in the top of their ingredients lists?

Once you have identified the sources of sugar in your diet, clean out your kitchen. Throw out or donate all of the products that contain hidden or added sugars, including any juice, soda, candy, sweets and seemingly healthy snacks like granola bars, fruit and grain bars, instant flavored oatmeal and sports drinks. This may sound drastic, but stay with me!

Remember, you don’t have to throw away everything that is sweet! Natural sugar, like the kind you find in whole fruit, contains vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are lost in the processing of juice. Milk contains naturally occurring sugars, but also provides calcium, vitamin D and protein. So unlike soda, fruit juices and other processed foods, whole fruit and dairy products provide us with essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Be wary of certain fruit- or milk-based products that contain added sugars though: flavored milk, many yogurts, fruits canned or jellied in added sugar or syrups, and the like. Opt for unflavored skim or 1% milk, plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, and whole pieces of fruit. Remember, we are trying to cut out the 151 pounds a year of added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugar found in whole foods.
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About The Author

Lauri Watson Lauri Watson
is a Registered Dietitian with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She eats her way through life's tasty treats and documents her culinary journeys at RedHeadRecipes.com, which provides recipes and ideas for a balanced lifestyle.

Member Comments

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    kolin.com is the best since it's verified by a lot of studies. Maybe somebody tried it? Or should i try garcinia? - 4/12/2016 7:02:48 PM
  • I have managed in the past to give up most sugar for a few weeks, to the point where things like tinned baked beans and spaghetti taste like jam to me! But the problem is things like Christmas and Easter, where other people give me chocolate. I have been known to give boxes of chocolates away, just to stop me from eating it, cos if it's there, I will eat it, and no, I will not be able to eke it out for weeks. (one square a day my eye!) I think I will try again, after Easter, but I know it will be hard - 3/19/2016 4:05:33 PM
  • I say "All things in moderation". Try to cut high fructose sugars whenever possible, but I don't think I could cut out ALL sugars. Great article though!
    Thanks.

    Nola - 1/11/2016 7:30:13 PM
  • LOTS of misinformation going on here. It is not simply "sugar," but sugar in combination with fats and overeating that deadly combination that are the cause for weight gain and health issues (cake=sugar plus oils and butter, cookies=oil, butter, sugar once again). There are a vast number of high carb vegans that are incredibly fit and trim that can demonstrate that sugar and carbohydrates certainly are not the issue themselves. Fruits, pastas, potatoes, all contain "sugar" that is optimal for health. Refined sugar is an issue, as it provides little to no nutritional value which means its easy to give your body more than it needs, but simply saying "sugar" is not entirely accurate. - 12/2/2015 12:25:10 PM
  • Much like becoming a vegetarian, giving up sugar is not going to happen for me, I need a plan I can follow and still enjoy my life. Being sugar free, like being meat free, might guarantee weight loss but I would not enjoy living that way. Good suggestions on cutting out the obvious sugar but that is probably as far as I will go. - 12/2/2015 3:35:55 AM
  • STEPHIESMITH92
    Ever since I started being more conscious of my sugar intake by checking the nutritional facts, it was shocking to see how much sugar is added to our food! A lot of people think of substance abuse or drugs when they think of addiction, but sugar truly can be addicting. That's why it can be so difficult for some people to make the life changes they need to lose weight. I hope that more people come to understand just how much damage sugar can do. focustreatmentcen
    ters.com - 9/17/2015 1:53:24 PM
  • CYNTHIA575
    25 days sugar free. I have learned that sugar free does not mean sugar free. Reading labels is very important. I feel so much better. I had sugar free jello last nite. Yuck. That stuff is nasty. I will be making my own stuff. I will know what goes in it. Best advice I can give you is prepare and carry ibuprofen with you. It does help. - 9/4/2015 8:38:12 AM
  • KIMSHEPH
    Itís funny that people talk about meat and sugar addiction at a time when alcohol addiction is killing the West. We frankly need more rehab centers, effective rehab treatments, and more rehab center review sites like Canada Rehab reviews ( http://canadareha
    breviews.com ), anti-drug and alcohol laws, not fancy sugar addiction rehabs. - 8/18/2015 5:48:57 AM
  • ANNASTASIA76
    Does anybody know how to get rid of the nausea after going without sugar, I can go without for 3 weeks but after that I start getting sick and weak and just can't function. I can avoid that by drinking fruit juice but that's just another form of sugar, while it's better than my addiction to chocolate it's still alot of sugar and calories and I can't loose weight that way.

    I was told that there are some teas I can drink to curb the nausea and help get rid of my sugar addiction but wasn't told what those are.

    also have a citric acid intolerance/aller
    gy, a lot of the tips here to get away from sugar involved things I can't eat are there any substitutes?? - 3/24/2015 4:37:56 PM
  • HANNAHMUN9090
    Wow I didnt know sugar had a tolorence - 3/9/2015 7:36:58 PM
  • Thank you! We really don't need sugar. I'm not ready to cut it all out, but I do really appreciate the article. I did once, eat a lot less sugar, and it really improved my mood. I was always calm when I was avoiding the sugar. As opposed to moody, which seems to happen when it's present in my diet. So, I'll probably swing back to the no sugar camp, there are a lot of good reasons to be there! - 3/9/2015 10:45:18 AM
  • SHAAMPU
    I had reduced my sugar years ago and now I'm back into that darn ice cream. Every night after a healthy dinner I feel the craving for ice cream. I will try some of your suggestions. It's been so tough. Because of a surgery I lost 10 pounds which I've kept off however my craving is hard to change.
    - 2/5/2015 9:50:12 AM
  • All I can say is that I quit ALL sugar two years ago last September 1 (2014) and will NEVER look back...I no longer binge, or crave ANYTHING sweet! It WORKS! - 12/2/2014 4:37:45 PM
  • For a gradualist like me the solution was to cut down little by little.
    Yogurt - my favorite organic had 29 g of sugar while the plain only had 12. I hated the taste of plain
    So I bought a quart of each and mixed 7 parts sweet kind to 1 part plain.
    Gradually I reduced the sweet and increased the plain.
    It took MONTHS, but now plain yogurt is all I eat.

    I did this with the sugar and milk in my coffee too. Now I drink it almost black and it's fine.

    Gradualism was my choice in weight loss and exercise intensity also. Much less deprivation increases the likelihood I stick with the program
    - 12/2/2014 2:33:50 PM

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