How to stop your sugar cravings

There are very few people that don’t have a sweet tooth, and if you don’t agree with this statement try offering people something that contains less sugar than it normally would. They might not be able to put their finger on why it isn’t as tasty, they will just say it tastes bland. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of how much sugar they consume, much less that it is a sugar craving driving what they choose to eat.



Stopping sugar should be simple, but it’s not


Stopping sugar cravings is not as simple as it sounds. Our bodies are complex and cravings can be stimulated by a whole host of factors. These may include emotional or neurological factors, nutritional deficiencies, hormones, behavioral habits, or even social norms. Cravings can also be triggered by memories – such as having an ice cream when going to the beach, or indulging in chocolate when depressed or upset.


It is also important to understand that sugar cravings affect people differently and this has very little to do with will power. In fact researchers are yet to pinpoint why some people are more addicted to sugar than others. There are some theories, but individuals still have a tendency to respond in different ways. Therefore, it is important to figure out what works for you, what your trigger points are and what can help you curb your cravings. Here are a few tips on how to start to cut back on and cut out sugar.


1 – Awareness:


Start becoming aware of how much sugar including refined carbohydrates you consume on a daily basis. You can do this by keeping a food diary or simply making each carbohydrate a unit and counting how many units you consume in a day. Remember that this includes fruit juices, sodas, sugared tea or coffee and any kind of processed food. If you have cereal or toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, that is essentially an all carbohydrate meal plan.


A second aspect of awareness is to learn what foods contain hidden sugars. Processed and smoked meats, for example, use sugar for curing. Sauces used sugar to mellow the taste and even pickles and fermented foods sometimes use sugar to balance the acidity. Cut back on processed foods and you can greatly curb your sugar intake.


2 – Activity:


Many people eat badly because they are bored or they can’t be bothered to prepare a proper meal. The most convenient things to eat are snacks, fast foods or pre-packaged ‘heat and eat’ meals. Just being active in the kitchen in terms of making your own food can distract you from feeling as though you need to eat. In addition, when you are physically active in some way, whether  it's walking, gardening or doing some other type of activity your mind is less likely to wander in the direction of thinking you need a snack.

Try this for yourself. The next time you feel like snacking on a chocolate, instead, put on your sports shoes and take a walk outside for 10-15 minutes. Being active, especially more rigorous exercise such as running releases endorphins and gives you the same high that your brain craves from sugary substances.


3 – Avoidance:


We’ve heard about subliminal advertising messages, but having been so exposed to them over the years, we tend to ignore them. So why are candy wrappers bright colors and why are they stacked up at the supermarket checkouts? Retailers know that most people buy snacks on impulse. They see it and want it and don’t stop to think if they really should be eating it.


If you are really struggling to kick the sugar habit you may have to go for absolute abstinence. This will mean avoiding the usual supermarkets and quick shops and rather shopping at farmers markets where is only fresh produce on sale, so that you aren’t tempted to cheat.


It may sound silly, but talking to yourself may also help and repeating phrases like ‘sugar is poison’ can help stop you reaching out for that candy bar. This is admittedly an extreme phrase, but sometimes we need to use extreme phrases to convince ourselves that it isn’t ok to have that sugary treat. When we remind ourselves often that sugar is not good for us and that too much can harm us, it will make avoiding sugar an easier reality.



Stopping sugar cravings will take time and effort, but the good news is that it does get easier. As you wean yourself off sugar, the cravings lessen and often lose the taste for desserts and other sweet treats. Persevere and you can beat the sugar cravings, inshaAllah.

© جميع الحقوق محفوظة لأرض الطبيعة 2015