Nutrition Articles

Breaking Your Sugar Addiction

The 4-Week Plan to Stop Sugar Cravings

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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

  • 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
  • ETHELMERZ
    Big whoops, I've broken my sugar/carb addiction at least 27 times in my life, I'm 68 now, you think you are ok, but it comes back to you, because your brain needs the quick serotonin. It's just the way it is. Don't waste any money on those stupid herb tinctures, either, BOGUS, the companies that make that stuff should be out of business.........
    ...Cut your calories and exercise, the old fashioned way, to lose weight. - 12/2/2014 1:03:44 PM
  • When you quit eating sugar carbs are back on the menu. You don't need to count carbs or calories. Just don't eat sugar, it's poison. Fat doesn't make you fat, sugar makes you fat. - 11/29/2014 12:57:21 PM
  • Lots of information here. - 7/30/2014 5:34:35 AM
  • I just have to say that comparing todays sugar consumption to the 1700 isn't a very good comparison. They didn't have the kind of refined sugars that we have today, so of course they're eating much less of it. It was also super expensive back then which gave fewer people access to it.

    Other than that, good article. - 6/1/2014 9:09:44 PM
  • I broke my sugar craving/addiction with tincture of Gymnema Sylvestre.
    IT WORKS!! - 5/18/2014 1:24:19 PM
  • AMYINBUFFALO
    "When a craving strikes, try going for a walk or simply drinking a glass of water" --- Seriously? I can't stand it when I look for answers on how to help my sugar addiction and I get advice like THAT. I'm sorry, but when I want chocolate and I want SWEETS, I do NOT want a glass of freaking water or to go for a walk! So annoying. - 5/6/2014 6:54:27 PM
  • EBBIELOU1
    I am sure sugar is making me loose energy so great advice I will be sticking to reduce sugar intake by being careful of hidden sugars - 5/5/2014 5:58:36 AM
  • BALANCE in all things.

    low carb high fiber whole grains, for people who do NOT have Gluten allergies, in Moderation, is a good thing.

    Yes many grains are just as harmful as sugar because the body breaks them down into sugar.. so without fiber to bind and slow that conversion down, or without exercise enough to use it in the rate the body BURNS it off, the carbs from whole grains are converted into FAT cells just like sugar anyway, and we all already read how bad sugar is.

    So just because its "whole" grain or "low carb" grain doesn't make it SAFE.

    The body doesn't need more than 40g of carbs to function for anything... (which it can get from green vegetables) unless of course one is exercising all the glucose from that out already.
    - 1/25/2014 4:31:40 PM
  • FUNCTIONALMEDNP
    If you don't know that whole grains are just as harmful as regular sugar and that they also elevate blood sugar, then you should't be writing dietary advice. You're harming people. - 1/5/2014 11:25:27 AM

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