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3 Steps to Deal with Sugar Addiction

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“I eat way too much sugar and have constant cravings. I think I’m addicted!”

Does this sound familiar?  This has to be hands down the most common thing clients say to me.  I’m always asked for suggestions on how to cut back.  There is still a debate over whether or not sugar is an addictive substance (and some even think there should be a minimum age limit to consume it!).

Want to know how to break the addiction?

It’s not easy, but totally doable.  The first thing to recognize is that humans naturally crave sweetness. Our bodies are wired for it. So no beating yourself up, got it.:)

Here are my 3 most successful steps in curbing your sugar cravings:

1. Eliminate fat-free, low-fat packaged foods. Or actually most  processed foods if you can.  Sugar is hidden everywhere, even in ketchup!  These foods contain high quantities of sugar (artificial most of the time) to compensate for lack of flavor and fat which will send you on the roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows.

Stick to whole, real foods, without bar codes (quotingMr. Pollan).

I also noticed for me, the more green stuff I ate and drank, my sugar cravings plummeted over time. That and eating more whole foods.  Did you read my post on Starbuck’s Makes You Fat?  I go into more detail about how some of our favorite foods are full with hidden sugar.  I got so pissed when I found all that out!  So much better to eat whole foods!

2.  Evaluate the amount of protein you eat.  Eating way too little protein (meaning beans, nuts, lentils, animal, etc…) can lead to craving the sweet stuff.  Experiment and respect your body with this.  As a general guide, take your weight and multiply it times.4.  That should be an estimate of how much protein you need a day. So if someone is 120 pounds, she will need 48 grams of protein a day.  This is a quick way to keep your blood sugars level and boost energy without medicating with sugar.

3.  Reduce caffeine.  The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings causing sugar cravings to be more frequent. If you can eliminate the caffeine, that’s even better (but I know that is a tough one so we will just focus on sugar for today).

Bonus:  Slow down and find sweetness in other non-food ways (wink wink). Sure, sex can be on the list. You can add hugs, time with friends, being outside, massages…We  like the highs we get from sugar and feeling good.  When life becomes sweet enough itself without it, no additives are needed.

Double Bonus:  You can go cold turkey in order to break the cycle.  Stop feeding the fire, yes?  A good, gentle way to do that is to do a cleanse. No sugar for 7- 10 days.  If you want to go this route, check here for Winter Renewal 10 Day Detox.

Now I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, tell me if  you had success cutting back on sugar? What works for you?

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18 Responses to 3 Steps to Deal with Sugar Addiction

Sara

I think the math for the grams of protein is incorrect. Someone who weighs 120 lbs needs 48 grams of protein, not 58, right?

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    ooopsie, that is probably why I never became a math teacher! Fixed! Do you have any input to share about sugar cravings?:)

      Sara

      LOL, just making sure I do the math correctly too. I feel like I have taken a lot of sugar out of my diet but I liked the reminder you provided about “hidden” sugar. When you start reading labels you realize its in everything.
      I still do a teaspoon of honey in my tea, it’s my guilty pleasure 🙂

        Lisa Consiglio Ryan

        Yes, you are right…sugar is hiding in all sorts of products. Reading the labels are so key. Thank you! Go, Sara!

Amy Brumley

After the detox, I had a much easier time avoiding sugar. For example, I even gave up my morning OJ because it was so high in natural sugar that it started me on the crash and burn cycle. Now I just drink water with lemon and that helps (and yes, ONE cup of coffee, not two). I do allow myself fruit all morning and also make sure I don’t get too hungry..that’s when I get the munchies!

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Great stuff, Amy! Love that you drink your good ole water with lemon. Love it! That OJ is certainly a set up for the sugar cycle. AND fruit it a great way to get the sweet-ness. Thanks for your message!

Jen Barrett

You mean DIVIDE by 4! Love it! I very much worry about protein because I am mostly vegan. People are all crazy about asking my about protein. I like this rule. Thanks.

I do pretty good with sugar though! minus the cake cravings now and again. But I do not add sugar to anything and since the winter detox have increased the greens by a ton.

Lisa, you are the best! THANKS!!!

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Thanks Jen! Although I still mean to multiply. Ex. 120 x .40. 🙂 Yes, the protein is such a concern for Americans. Really you can get tons form beans, nuts, legumes, etc… And don’t you think that the greens have a lot to do with reducing sugar wants? I sure do! Great stuff, Jen!

      Jen Barrett

      Oh, POINT 4 (.4)! I missed the point! but got the main one!! HA!

        Lisa Consiglio Ryan

        Ha! Love it, Jen! That would be a whole lot of protein.:) Hugs to you. xo

Liz Muhitch

Hey Lisa….I agree eating whole foods really helps! I crave apples lately! Funny, but true! What better form of sugar!

I do like a little piece of dark chocolate now and again…and a vegan cupcake and I must admit when Kevin is home from school we always split a piece of Carrot Cake at Great Sage(or their new carrot cake coconut ice cream made in house!!!)…..Have you tried the new Vegan cupcakes from the Baltimore Bakery Dirty Carrots? They sell them at Roots! the chocolate with salted caramel icing are amazing…but oh…I guess that doesn’t help stop sugar cravings! LOL! Sorry…got on a vegan bake good soapbox!

Have you tried Butler Soy Curls,yet? They are a whole soy product and so yummy to cook with! They are also a fantastic source of protein. I wish Roots or WF carried them. I just order them from Pangea.

On another note….our school may be having an Earth Day night and I am working on the food part trying to promote a Meatless Monday commitment and trying to line up food to be sold,etc… We also, are going to be looking for people to come and have tables to promote green eating, etc… I thought of you…If it is approved it will be April 20th…you interested? Liz

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    I love that crave apples, Liz! Love it! AND your vegan goodies sound so fabulous! Hope Kevin is having a great year at school…I’m headed to Portland this summer.:) I haven’t tried the soy curls yet…I don’t do too much soy products. For protein, mainly stick to beans, nuts, lentils, etc…:) Fill me in on that fair you mentioned? I might be away that weekend, but let’s keep in touch about it.:) Thanks Liz for stopping by and just always love hearing from you! xo

Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips

As I sit here eating chocolate chips, I totally know I am addicted to sugar, and could really use a detox. Just have to work up the strength and willpower. That is tough after being home with a toddler all day.

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    I just LOVE your site Brianne!!!! Beautiful! AND the Bug…oh, so cute! Yeah, that sugar can be a rough one…hopefully some of the tips will help. The protein is really something to look at. As for the cleanse, many of my ladies have little ones and manage…it does take planning because we know how busy we can be with toddlers! Thanks for stopping by and so happy to keep in touch. 🙂

      Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Thanks for the feedback on the site! I am new to blogging, and really getting involved in the “blogosphere”. Yes, I definitely need to focus on the protein. I do well all day with eating fairly healthy, the once The Bug goes to sleep and I can relax, all bets are off. Trying to come up with some strategies to deal with that. Maybe I should just go to sleep 🙂

        Lisa Consiglio Ryan

        You are rockin’ it out for sure! I can relate to those days…keep pumping water and get rest. Rest! Sleep is probably what you need.:) Keep on, Brianne!

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