How to Quit Sugar Cravings 13 Ways
Call me whatever you want, I definitely love sweets! I was the kid who found half-eaten hard candy melting into the sidewalk on a hot day and scraped it up and ate it. Anything sweet is good to me.
My favorite breakfast is cold cereal. The only reason I wanted to stay at Grandma’s house as a kid was because she had Apple Jacks! Now, I prefer the sweet kind of granola (That’s good for you, right? “Only” 33 net carbs per serving – but I just don’t have one serving). I had Skittles in my car all the time, and when I decided it wasn’t good for me, I switched to raisins (Is that any better? IDK – not for the teeth!). Cinnamon rolls were my favorite snack, but I liked cookies too. I would open a package of Oreos to eat just a few while studying – and somehow by the time I finished my work the package was empty! I could easily eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s while watching a movie. I just crave sweets all the time. I’m drawn to sweet, starch, carbohydrates – sugar in any form. Dinner isn’t done until I have some carb – bread, cereal, fruit… or dessert!
So, you’re probably surprised because I wrote the book on NOT eating sugar. I have several videos on how sugar is the most toxic substance on Planet Earth. Am I a hypocrite? Well, no. But I am qualified to tell you how to end the craving for sweets. We all have addictions and need to deal with them. I always thought sugar, not tobacco, was the worse addiction because sugar is everywhere, in everything…and I can’t just stop eating it. I have to eat something, and I’m going to be drawn to the things I like.
Why We Crave Carbs
Our primary source of energy is carbohydrates, which are made of sugar. To get energy, we need sugar. If our energy is low, we will tend to crave sweets and carbs to bring up that energy quickly.
Our sweet taste buds connect with the pleasure center in the brain. However, the bitter taste buds connect with nociceptors (pain centers). Thus, sweet always feels so good! We crave that good feeling. It can comfort us through all sorts of losses – unfulfilling relationships, boredom at work, or not finding pleasure in life.
When we are stressed, we release a hormone called cortisol, the stress hormone, which makes us crave sugar. The brain works primarily on sugar and makes us feel the need to eat anything sweet. Thus, the craving for chocolate, ice cream, or chocolate ice cream is greatest when were most stressed.
The taste of sweet causes our mouth to water at any time. We can eat sweets when we aren’t hungry because sweet things stimulate the appetite. Even after a big meal when we “could not eat another bite” and food isn’t even desirable, we can eat ice cream, pie, and other sweets. Sweet taste buds don’t shut down.
Some people have a need to put things in their mouths. It’s a baby thing. It’s hard to say why but many people have deficiencies in nutrients, especially minerals that cause them to constantly put things in their mouth. Some eat inedible objects like paper, dirt, rocks, or chew gum, while others just eat and drink all day, requiring sweet taste to stimulate saliva.
Often, people who are dehydrated will confuse their thirst with hunger. Because sweet things stimulate the salivary glands, they can feel like they are quenching their thirst by eating something sweet. Thirst can come from three sources:
- Lack of water
- Lack of sodium
- Lack of potassium
Thus, people may drink a lot of water and continue to be thirsty because they don’t have enough sodium and/or potassium. For this reason they will drink a lot, and require sweet taste for everything they eat.
Sugar stimulates the pleasure centers in about the same way as a connection with people. Those who are lonely will often crave sweet things, sugar, and starch to get that pleasurable feeling. It seems that the single healthiest thing we can do is to have human connections and community.
Many deficiencies cause cravings. Pica and dehydration, as noted above, are two deficiencies that cause cravings. There are many others. For example, if your body is low in magnesium, you may crave chocolate. Deficiencies of minerals and nutrients almost always result in sugar cravings because that is the way the brain is wired.
13 Ways to Stop Sugar Cravings
1. Make rules.
Your personal guidelines allow you to eat foods for taste instead of nourishment – sometimes. Your rule can be anything that fits your lifestyle. Let me tell you some of my rules that I have had over the years.
2. Avoid processed sugar, eat natural sugar.
I can have honey and real maple syrup, and fruit, but I don’t eat things with processed sugar. Exceptions – I can have homemade oatmeal-raisin cookies.