Kaitlyn has a background in psychology and writes articles that teach you how to lean on your body, mind, heart, and on those around you.
When your sugar craving hits, and there’s nothing in your cupboards, do you make a trip to the grocery store especially to buy a sugary snack? Are sweet treats the most effective reward system you know? Do you have a secret “emergency sugar stash”? Have you tried to cut back on sugar in the past only to rebound with a vengeance?
If any of these resonate with you, you may have an addiction to sugar, and this is what you can do to kick the sweet stuff once and for all.
Poll: What’s Your Vice?
7 Steps to Cure Your Addiction to Sugar
1. Don’t quit all at once
Many sources say that the most effective way to quit sugar is to cut it all out immediately. While that may work for some, slowly cutting sugar out of your diet is a much less daunting task and will help your body adapt more comfortably. You may experience fewer withdrawal symptoms this way.
For example, if you like to put four sugars into your daily coffee, you can start by reducing down to three, then two, then one, and then down to zero. If chocolate is your vice, learn to enjoy a 70% dark chocolate that has less sugar and milk. Soon, you may find that you prefer dark chocolate over the sickly sweet taste of milk chocolate.
2. Stay away from artificial sweeteners
When you put something sweet into your mouth, your body is expecting calories and will prepare to process them. So, if you swap out real sugar and ingest zero-calorie artificial sweeteners instead, you’re confusing your body by giving it something sweet and yet provides zero energy. But since your body has prepared for an energy boost, your cravings will increase as your body continues to search for that energy that never came.
If the only way you’ll drink water is of the flavored variety, opt to add fruit and berries for flavor instead of syrups made with artificial sweeteners.
Dehydration can often be misconstrued as hunger or a craving for sugar.
3. Exercise more
Sugar makes you feel happy and makes your brain produce a pleasure chemical called dopamine. This is partly why sugar is so addictive. So, when you’re trying to cut sugar out of your life, try doing some moderate exercise every day. Exercise makes your body release endorphins that will help you feel energized and in the zone without the added calories.
Instead of chowing down on that Snickers bar, put on your running shoes and go for a jog around the block, or even do some yoga.
4. Eat throughout the day
Speaking of keeping blood sugar levels stable, never skip meals when trying to cure your sugar addiction. If you’re prone to snacking, choose to eat multiple small meals throughout the day instead of your usual three major meals. When you’re constantly putting nutritious food into your body, you won’t give yourself time to think about that candy bar sitting in your desk.
Eating healthy, home-cooked meals can be challenging when you’re constantly on the go, so learn to plan your meals and snacks. Cook in bulk. Spend one day every week to cook for the whole week, portioned them into labeled Tupperware and stick them in the freezer. That way, you’ll have ready-made meals throughout the week.
5. Drink water
Dehydration can often be misconstrued as hunger or a craving for sugar. The daily recommended amount of water we should drink in a day is about 6-8 glasses. So, make sure you keep a bottle of water close by. Take a few sips whenever you get a craving for sugar and see if that feeling doesn’t go away. But if it turns out that your hunger is real, go for a healthy snack like a boiled egg that will keep you full for longer while keeping your blood sugar levels stable.
6. Learn to read labels
Just because something doesn’t taste sweet doesn’t mean that it's free from added sugar. Pasta sauce, condiments, bread, salad dressing, and even savory biscuits can contain added sugar. So, learn to read the nutritional information on the back of packaged foods. If sugar is anywhere in the top 5 of the ingredients list (or even anywhere on the list), move on. The closer an ingredient is to the top of the list, the more of it the product contains.
7. Get more sleep
Sugar is a quick source of energy for your body, so when you’re tired, your body craves sugar just to keep you functioning at normal levels. If you’re having a hard time controlling your cravings, consider taking a nap or reexamine your sleep schedule. Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Eat Your Way to Better Health and Weight Loss
When detoxing from sugar, your taste buds will adjust, and you’ll start to enjoy foods that are naturally sweet. In fact, foods with added sugar will become too much or even downright nauseating. When you get to that stage, celebrate with a delicious glass of fruity water because you’ve done it. Without your addiction to sugar, the extra pounds you’ve been trying so hard to get rid of will melt away on their own.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2017 KV Lo
Backpacking Series on August 06, 2018:
We have been off sugar for a very long time. Looking at your post felt great! Some things which worked for us was to stop sugar completely in Tea and Coffee many years back... now it's starting to become easier to give it up in many other things too. So agree with you when you say... "When detoxing from sugar, your taste buds will adjust, and you’ll start to enjoy foods that are naturally sweet" ... We have been thoroughly enjoying fruits with their natural sweetness. Replaced sugar with mango in one of very traditional pudding and it tasted amazing!
Courtney Pagan on April 02, 2018:
I loved this post as well! This is what I needed to read!
Tressie Dawson on February 23, 2018:
I am addicted to sugar, this is an amazing post. The content is really very informative and useful.
Jenn on February 22, 2018:
I am big fan of sweets and at the same time i drink a lot of water whenever i consume a lot of it.
Erika Lancaster on February 15, 2018:
Great post! A while back I decided to cut out sugar as much as I could, as well as white bread/gluten and dairy. It was a process, of course, but it was one of the best things I've done. Whenever I try to eat candy now, it tastes extremely sweet to me and I can't have much of it.
Rondoview on January 13, 2018:
I am addicted to sugar and found your post to be exactly what i need to cut back .
Steven Shakeshaft on January 05, 2018:
I'm a bit fan of savoury snacks like potato chips and nuts!
Miranda on January 05, 2018:
Hello, My name is Miranda and I am a soda addict. Seriously though this was very informative and I will be trying these methods. Having PCOS sugar is NOT good for me!!
Amanda on January 02, 2018:
My favorite way to beat sugar cravings is to sub fruit in! I'm not a huge sweets person, but I was eating a bowl of ice cream a night for dessert, and I starting subbing that with half a cup of frozen fruit and I feel great now!
Zedric Earl Ramada on December 28, 2017:
I had this addiction since I was diagnosed having a fatty liver 10 years ago. And as I observe, taking sugar helps me a lot or perhaps its just an influence from the doctor's advise to take sugar to regulate too much insulin in blood.
Anyway, I know that sugar is bad if taken in large amounts. I also want to lessen my intakes.
Thank you for the wonderful tips! :)
Adrian K. on December 21, 2017:
Unfortunately, almost all foods in supermarkets contain, in a smaller or larger quantity, sugar. It is used not only as a sweetener but also as a preservative. So, as you point out, we should read the labels very carefully to find out how much sugar the product contains.
AmberLynn on December 20, 2017:
I don't believe that I have a sugar addiction (though it may be possible that I am in denial), but I am gearing up for a fast from sugars. I love Hershey's Chocolate, so I will use these tips so that I don't go into shock when I give it up for a while.
Alice on December 19, 2017:
I've found that drinking water helped the most out of all of these. I drink about 2 liters a day and it's helped with my cravings.
Melitta on December 19, 2017:
Fantastic tips, thank you! I'd never thought about the impact exercise and sleep could have before.
KV Lo (author) on December 19, 2017:
@Sheila Price Yes, fat is not the problem at all! Healthy fats can actually help us lose weight while sugar is never good for us. I'm glad you've found something that worked for you.
Sheila Price on December 19, 2017:
Great advice! I've always had a huge sweet tooth, and I didn't realize how addicted I was until I tried to stop! It's crazy the hold sugar can have on us. I've always thought the problem was fat, but I've learned the last few years that the real problem is sugar. And now I've lost several pounds that wouldn't come off no matter what I did before.
Cristina on December 19, 2017:
Great tips! I just can't stay away from chocolate, but am trying to cut down
Tiazim on December 16, 2017:
This post was really useful since i too struggle with breaking my relationship with sugar. Thank you for sharing!
KV Lo (author) on December 16, 2017:
@Nastwa You're very welcome, thanks for reading, Nashwa!
KV Lo (author) on December 16, 2017:
@Scott That's a great point! I also tend to snack more when I'm bored so that's when I either go out for a walk or try to distract myself with something that requires my full attention instead of reaching for a cookie.
Scott on December 15, 2017:
One thing I've noticed with myself is if I'm super busy all day I won't have time for snacks and sweet stuff. I'll just eat normal means and work the rest of the day. It's only when I'm bored and start looking around at timesinks that I get really bad cravings for sugary goodies.