How to Stop Craving Sugar

Having trouble resisting a cookie even when on a sugar detox? As Part 3 of our Sugar Series, let's get into controlling your sugar cravings.

Home > Food & Nutrition > How to Stop Craving Sugar

Recognise the Source of the Problem

We might not even notice that we want to eat a sugary snack at different times of day. But as we have explained in our previous articles, giving into these cravings too often can have long-term consequences on your health. A few major causes of sugar cravings include:

Credit: Shutterstock
  • You didn’t consume enough calories or you ate the wrong things. When you don’t eat enough, your body looks for fast fuel to catch up and this leads to you turning to sugar for some quick energy.
  • You picked up a habit of eating something sweet at the same time every day, eg. you may go get a sugary drink at a local coffee shop at 10 am every morning or buy something to snack on at 3 pm. 
  • You ate too much starch and not enough fat/protein. If you ate a whole meal of something starchy like pasta, which does not contain protein or fiber, those calories will not keep you feeling full or satisfied. Instead, you may be setting yourself up for a ride on the blood sugar rollercoaster (a spike and then a crash)!
  • You ate salty food. It’s been said that the saltier your food is, the greater your craving for sugar. This is apparently because your brain is looking for variety in both the taste and texture departments, which is why it wants to switch from something salty and crunchy to something sweet and silky. 

Tips to Reduce Sugar Cravings

Here are some specific tips you can use to lower your sugar intake without giving into your cravings.

  • Eat a healthy amount of protein and high-fiber foods: This will give you the fuel you need without the blood sugar spikes. Healthy carbs include vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. 
  • Drink more water: Make a habit to drink 2-3 liters of water per day and drink a glass of water 30 minutes before dinner. This will reduce your craving for sweets. 
  • Sit with the craving for 10 minutes: When you really want to satisfy your cravings, you can try to sit with it- maybe even hold a pillow- until it passes. Usually after about 10 minutes, the craving subsides. 
  • Choose quality over quantity: For example, eat a dark chocolate truffle instead of a large chocolate bar and try to savour each bite- slowly. This will help you incorporate small amounts of sugar into your diet without coming back for greater portions. 
  • Commit to a sugar detox for 10 days: This will allow you to reset your brain and body to a lower demand for sugar. After one week, you may experience fewer cravings. This detox will include stopping sugar consumption, such as from pre-packaged foods, MSG, and gluten. 
  • Or, try a meal plan: If you plan ahead, you can ensure that you eat something healthy for your three meals a day instead of reaching for sugary foods. 

Finally, it is important to have a balanced diet to reduce sugar cravings as a whole. This way, the macronutrients from different food groups work together to keep your blood sugars stabilised and satiated. Hopefully adopting these practices will help you control your desire to eat a whole box of cookies at odd times of the day.