Changing the way you think about Sugar!

How can we stop sugar cravings once and for all? Let me share with you the Why’s and How’s!


Why do we crave sugar?

There are many reasons why we go for sweet things.

Sweet is the first preferred taste we humans have, from birth. It not only delights the taste buds but our brains just LOVE to give us the serotonin push each time a delectable morsel passes over our lips. The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that soothe and relax us with a natural “High”. Let’s be honest, sweets taste good and have been set in our society as a celebration food. We use sweets to congratulate the bride and groom, to give our 7 year old a happy birthday and often we use it to celebrate our getting through a tough day. We have been associating sweets with “treats” and have become accustomed to having sweets around the house. We use sweets, and the high we get from them, to boost us when we are sluggish. We usually feel hunger shortly after and need something to fill the gap as the lasting effects of the sugar are short lived and can be a crashing moment. We then reach for a soda or a candy bar to pick us up from the crash. It is a perpetual cycle that we have fostered well into our adult lives.

The issue isn’t that we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, it is when we overdo it! It is very easy to overdo as many processed foods have sugar in them such as breads, yogurts and juices. As Americans we overeat sugar, averaging 17 teaspoons a day of added sugar, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends limiting added sugar to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.

What is sugar?

Sugar is a carbohydrate but carbohydrates come in other forms such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables that have fiber and nutrients our bodies need. We hear the word “carb” and think “bad” but that is not the case. Carbohydrates are broken down into two categories simply identified by fast or slow carbs. The fast and slow indicate the speed in which the carb absorbs into the bloodstream and ultimately does what it is going to do. Sugar is a fast carb. It is absorbed quickly and as it has no real nutritional value to speak of, it quickly turns to fat in the body. Slow carbs are those foods, such as grains and vegetables, that absorb slowly into the bloodstream, allowing time for the body to glean what nutrients the body needs and discard what it doesn’t.

Now that we know what sugar is and why we love it so much, let’s look at ways to STOP the cravings!

6 Life Hacks to manage your sugar intake for good!

Before I get into the details let me caution you about giving up sugar completely. When we deny ourselves, that which we desire most, we soon find discouragement, disappointment and the feeling of failure and this will be no different if you were to remove sugar completely from your daily diet. I suggest that with any of the hacks below, you start small and build your way up to your desired level of sugar intake. Be kind to your body and your soul by not ripping sugar out of the mix completely. It takes practice to achieve something healthy so don’t be to hard on yourself.



  1. Don’t eat sugar by itself - As much as a good candy bar or donut is easy to grab and snack on quickly, putting only the fast carbs into your body with nothing else is reeking havoc on your body.  Try mixing it up a bit! If you love chocolate try mixing almonds in with chocolate chips or dipping a banana in chocolate sauce.
  2. DON’T deny yourself - If you have a sugar craving and you deny it you are more apt to have a much larger portion in the near future. Try grabbing a tiny single chocolate bar instead of a king size. Make sure you eat it VERY SLOWLY and enjoy it fully. You have made a choice to not deny yourself while not over indulging.
  3. FRUIT! Especially dried! - Although we don’t want to over indulge in natural sugar either, it is still a healthier option than processed sugar. Keep some dried fruit around the house. It is very sweet and will take a sugar craving to its knees and keep you from over indulging.
  4. MOVE! Get up and do something different! - It takes the brain approximately 17 seconds to change a thought pattern so when you get a sugar craving, get up and do something different for at least 17 seconds. You may find, at the beginning, that you are doing this often but it will lessen, get easier and you will have less sugar cravings.
  5. Eat often! - You have heard that there are many health benefits to eating several small meals per day instead of 3 large ones. This is also a great way to reduce sugar cravings. If you are having small meals or snacks every 2-3 hours throughout the day, you are less apt to crave something sweet. Your body is busy processing the food that you ate last and isn’t yet prepared to throw a craving out at you. So, don’t give the cravings a chance to move in. Grab a planned snack or small meal instead.
  6. Journal - That's right, I said journal. If you struggle with sugar cravings that seem to be overwhelming, there is most likely a feeling behind some, if not all, of them. When you have a craving for sugar, take a second to write down the feelings you are experiencing in that exact moment. This not only gives you insight into feeling driven eating but also gives you that 17 seconds, doing something else, to help curb the craving.


A few other things to consider…

Skip artificial sweeteners. They don’t necessarily lessen cravings for sugar and they are, in most cases, worse for you than processed sugar.

Reward yourself for successfully managing your sugar cravings. Your reward could be large or small but should NOT BE FOOD! Remember why you’re working on it and then reward yourself for each successful step.

Get support. Many people turn to sweet foods when they're stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn't solve emotional issues. Journaling will help you to identify the feelings you are experiencing when your sugar cravings happen. Journal these for a few weeks then read back over your list. If you find a feeling repeated often, it could be part of your challenge and will most likely be part of your solution! 

Remember, anything worth having or that is healthy for you does take practice and time. Don’t get down on yourself if you slip up. Giving in to one sweet craving does not drop you back down to the bottom of the staircase, it only takes you back one step. Shake it off and keep going! 

You Got This!


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