8 Ways to Stop Craving Sugar
Updated on June 21, 2022
It’s not easy to stop craving sugar. We’re wired to want it.
If sugar were healthy, nobody would worry about it. But as you’re probably aware, high sugar diets are bad news for your health. They’ve been linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cognitive decline, cancer, and—yes kids—cavities.
If you want to learn how to stop sugar cravings, read on for practical tips on diet, lifestyle, and healthy sugar substitutes. But first, let’s talk about why we crave sugar so much.
Back in Paleolithic times, fruit was a real treat. A bundle of figs, for instance, provided a boatload of calories that were readily stored as body fat. Body fat was desirable back then—it kept us alive—so we evolved a taste for sweet things.
We still have our sweet tooth today, but it’s not serving us anymore. The high-sugar modern diet (devoid of fiber and other nutrients found in whole fruits) is making Americans fat, sick, and buffeted by constant carb cravings.
But we’re not just addicted to the taste of sugar. We’re also addicted to the surge of dopamine (the “I want more” pleasure chemical) that comes after eating it.
This dopamine surge, researchers believe, is signaled by rising blood sugar and insulin levels as we digest refined carbohydrates. It’s responsible for the “sugar high” most of us experienced as kids (or adults) on Halloween.
Let’s talk about how to break our sugar addiction now.
If you want to stop craving sugar, you’re up against powerful forces. Here are eight powerful solutions.
#1: Optimize your environment
Cravings are often triggered by environmental cues. Even if you’re stuffed after a large dinner, the sight of ice cream in the freezer can make your sweet tooth start barking.
Use this knowledge to your advantage. If it’s impossible to keep sugar out of the house (thanks housemates!), at least keep it sealed and out of sight. The less you’re exposed to sugar, the less you’ll crave it.
You can also satisfy your cravings with healthier options. Peanut Butter Swirl Nice Cream with Chocolate Drizzle or Dark Chocolate Almond Nice Cream made with Splenda Sweeteners are cold and sweet without the sugar of regular ice cream!
Discover more delicious Splenda recipes to swap out those high sugar foods.
#2: Consider a keto diet
A keto diet is a very low-carb diet in which you consume 55-70% of your calories from fat, 15-35% from protein, and under 10% from carbohydrates. Eating this way promotes a fat-burning metabolic state called ketosis.
Keto is best known as a weight loss diet, and plenty of evidence supports this. But why, exactly, does keto work so well?
One big reason: being in ketosis reduces hunger hormones like ghrelin and neuropeptide Y and increases satiety hormones like cholecystokinin. Less hunger means fewer cravings. And fewer cravings means less overeating.
#3: Have some salt
It’s possible that your craving for sugar is really a craving for salt. Both sugar and salt activate similar reward pathways in the brain.
Sodium deficiency, by the way, is common on keto. Why? Because on a low-carb diet, you lose more sodium through urine, plus whole foods are naturally low in salt. Keep the salt shaker handy.
#4: Ride out the cravings
You don’t need to satisfy cravings for them to disappear. Often they disappear spontaneously.
Like everything else in life, cravings arise and pass away. If you’re attuned to this process, you can drop back (and focus on other activities like taking a walk) and wait for the cravings to vanish.
And when they do vanish, you’ll be glad you didn’t buckle. Stay mindful, relax, and repeat.
#5: Consume fiber
Fiber is a satiating nutrient that fills you up while adding little to no calories. And since most of the fibers found in whole foods do not have calories, they won’t kick you out of ketosis as you adapt to your keto diet.
#6: Get enough protein
Protein is another filling nutrient that helps curb cravings. This is a big reason why high-protein diets are effective for weight loss.
#7: Eat enough calories
If you’re cutting calories, some hunger is inevitable. The trick is to avoid drastic calorie-cutting that leaves you feeling hungry and weak.
This is especially important while transitioning to a keto diet. Depending on the person, it may take a few weeks to adapt to burning body fat for energy. In the meantime, eat your fill to keep the cravings at bay.
#8: Get plenty of sleep
Why are you so hungry after a poor night’s sleep? There are a couple of things going on.
First, sleep deprivation has been shown to increase ghrelin, your primary hunger hormone. More ghrelin means more cravings.
Also, short sleep makes us more impulsive. We’re more likely to reach for that muffin when we know we shouldn’t.
Oscar Wilde once said, “the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”
Oscar left this part out, but you can yield to sugar cravings without derailing your health.
How? By using healthy sugar alternatives instead of sugar. That way, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without the consequences.
With that in mind, here are four keto-friendly sweeteners that don’t have calories, don’t raise blood sugar levels, and won’t kick you out of ketosis:
- Stevia. A popular plant-based sweetener, stevia is powered by saccharine antioxidant compounds called glycosides. Splenda Stevia Sweetener features rebaudioside D—a wonderfully sweet glycoside with no bitter aftertaste.
- Monk fruit. Like stevia, monk fruit is a non-caloric and non-glycemic natural sweetener. But instead of glycosides, monk fruit is sweetened by mogrosides. For a 1:1 sugar swap, try Splenda Monk Fruit Sweetener.
- Erythritol. With zero calories and few digestive concerns, erythritol is the most keto-friendly sugar alcohol. It’s perfect for frozen desserts, drinks, and baking. Erythritol is an important component of Splenda Stevia Sweetener and Splenda Monk Fruit Sweetener.
- Allulose. This non-caloric sweetener tastes, bakes, and even browns like sugar. It’s been shown to curb the blood sugar response and increase fat burning after a meal. For a 1:1 sugar swap, try Splenda Allulose Sweetener.
Now you have a two-pronged plan:
- Control sugar cravings with the 8 strategies listed above
- Substitute keto-friendly sweeteners when you want something sweet without the guilt
Give it a shot. You’ll be over sugar in no time.
Written by Brian Stanton, author of Keto Intermittent Fasting, a certified health coach, and a leading authority on the keto diet. Follow Brian’s work by visiting his website at brianjstanton.com.