Trying to cut sugar out of your diet? Here are ways to reduce sugar cravings naturally.
Last week I shared that I was giving up sugar. I decided to give up refined sugar after learning that your body converts sugar into triglycerides when watching Dr. Oz. Consuming more than 90 grams of added sugar a day can raise triglycerides and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol levels). My plan is to give up sugar entirely for 2 weeks and then slowly add natural sweeteners like honey and coconut palm sugar back into my diet in moderation.
So how did I do on week one of giving up sugar? Better than I expected! I did slip up twice and drink coffee that contained French Vanilla Creamer in it. My husband made me a cup of coffee on Saturday and Sunday morning and I got halfway through the cup before I remembered that it had added sugar. This will be a challenge this weekend too. My husband has a very thoughtful habit of making me a cup of coffee on the weekend and I don’t think too clearly in the morning, so I am seriously thinking about putting a note on the coffee maker reminding him not to make me coffee.
5 Ways to Reduce Sugar Cravings Naturally
1. Avoid Trigger Foods
Try to identify foods that set off cravings and avoid them. Do you normally combine salty foods with something sweet? If so then skip the salty foods, so it doesn’t trigger a craving for something sweet. For me, tacos, popcorn, and pizza are all triggers for soda. I made a meal plan to help me avoid the foods that trigger the craving for sugar soda.
2. Avoid artificial sweeteners
For many people, artificial sweeteners trigger sweetness cravings. Unfortunately, I am one of them! Diet coke makes me want sweets so I can’t use it as a replacement for traditional soda. I chewed a piece of sugarless gum this week and was surprised to discover that it triggered a craving for sweets too.
3. Have plenty of fresh fruit on hand
After a few days without sugar, the fruit will start tasting much sweeter and will satisfy your sweet tooth. Add your favorite fruit to your grocery list, so you have some on hand. I have found that some fruits taste sweeter to me when they are cold, so I refrigerate apples, grapes, and clementines.
4. Prep healthy snacks in advance
Have healthy snacks such as vegetables and nuts, so that if a craving strikes, you can easily grab something healthy to snack on. I have found almonds help me feel full and reduce my cravings for chocolate. But the most important thing is for me to have fruits, vegetables, and nuts prepped in snack-size servings. The easier I make it to eat healthily, the more likely I am to follow through on my goals.
5. Drink water first
Reach for water first. It may help reduce or eliminate your craving. I found that drinking a glass of water greatly reduced my cravings. I enjoy adding lemon juice to my water for a little flavor.
More Tips for Overcoming a Sugar Craving
What if those tips for reducing sugar cravings naturally don’t work? Wait it out.
Try one of these things instead:
- Go for a walk.
- Read a book.
- Take a bath.
- Or my favorite paint your nails. (It is really hard to eat anything with wet nails!).
Focus on something other than food for a while and you may find that the craving passes on its own.