Cravings normally mean that the body is missing something: normally it’s a nutrient deficiency but it can be caused by emotional issues. The way to beat the sugar cravings for good is to focus on eating a healthy diet rich in whole foods. The more nutrient dense foods that you can add to your diet the more likely the cravings will diminish.
It is also important to try not to use food as a means of reducing stress or making ourselves feel better or to fill a missing gap that we feel within ourselves.
Below are my top 20 ways to beat the sugar cravings FOR GOOD!
1. Eat foods high in magnesium
Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biomechanical systems within the body. It supports the immune system, it helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, it helps keeps the bones strong, it keeps your heartbeat steady, it supports a healthy blood glucose level and aids in the production of energy.
Sugar cravings can be the result of a magnesium deficiency so eating foods rich in this mineral can help. Foods such as dark leafy greens, raw cacao, nuts, seeds, brown rice, quinoa and avocado are an excellent way of not only getting lots of magnesium into your body but really suppressing those cravings.
2. Eat foods high in chromium
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that can enhance carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Although not confirmed chromium may also help to increase muscle mass, help with weight loss and control glucose.
Foods that are high in the Mineral Chromium are broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, whole grains and eggs. I use this Chromium supplement.
3. Eat foods high In Zinc
Zinc is an essential trace mineral needed by the body. Very small amounts of zinc are needed for human health. The body doesn’t store zinc so small amounts of it need to be consumed throughout the day. Zinc is needed for insulin and glucose utilisation and a deficiency could lead to sugar cravings.
Zinc is responsible for many functions in the body and helps stimulate over 100 different enzymes. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) in the US is currently 8mg per day for women and 11mg a day for men.
Zinc is found in foods such as pumpkin seeds, whole grains brazil nuts, eggs and oysters. I like to use this Zinc supplement.
Known for its medicinal properties, cinnamon has been used for thousands of years; it is anti-inflammatory and loaded full of antioxidants, polyphenols, cinnamon also helps fight oxidative damage and lower the risk of disease.
Cinnamon a naturally sweet spice has been used to naturally reduce and stop sugar cravings. Studies have shown that the polyphenols contained within cinnamon help control blood glucose levels, helping minimise insulin spikes that can occur after having an unbalanced meal, which typically leads to someone craving more food and more sugar.
I love to add cinamon in my coffee its naturally sweet taste really makes it taste delicious.
5. Fermented food
Adding fermented food and drinks to your diet are seen to be one of the best ways to naturally reduce sugar cravings. Fermented foods help restore balance in your healthy gut bacteria helping you curb sugar cravings.
Fermented food such as yoghurt, Kimchi, Kombucha and sauerkraut are fantastic sources of beneficial bacteria.
6. Coconut Oil
Taking coconut oil is an excellent way of cutting the sugar cravings out immediately. Taking a tablespoon when your cravings hit especially after a meal is a fantastic way of not wanting to eat a whole chocolate cake.
Coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty triglycerides (MCT), the richest source of MCTs are contained within coconut oil. The body sends the MCT straight to your liver to be used as energy just as sugar and simple carbs to give you that instant energy hit, however, coconut oil doesn’t give toy an insulin spike and saves you from the slump. This is great news for anyone who struggles with insulin issues. The thing that I noticed was that when I have a tablespoon of Coconut oil I am not hungry for about 3 hours afterwards.
7. Cut back on processed food, caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol are known to dehydrate the body leading to mineral deficiencies. Processed foods contain high amounts of sugar and salt which can lead to sugar cravings.
8. Supplement with L-Glutamine
L-Glutamine an abundant amino acid heals all the tissue in the body. It is known to help reduce sugar and alcohol cravings.
500mg taken three times a day should stop sugar cravings in their tracks. I have had success with using this L Glutamine
9. Stay hydrated
Many times, an individual is actually thirsty when they think they are hungry. I always drink water when I feel a hunger pang if after drinking water, I still feel hungry then I know its hunger.
10. Get adequate sleep
Ghrelin is the hormone that controls our cravings for carbohydrates and sugar. Having poor sleep or going long periods of time without sleep produce more ghrelin.
If you are struggling to sleep then getting yourself into a bedtime routine of brushing your teeth, reading a book and getting rid of screen time before bed really helps. At certain times when I’m really not sleepy and none of the above helps then a humidifier and lavender essential oil have been life saving for me.
11. Manage stress
Many of us me included, reach for the sugary junk when we feel low or depressed. This became a common theme with me I had a stash of junk and once the kids would go to bed it was time to drown my sorrows in a tub of ice cream. I would eat it and then feel guilty the next day thinking over what I had done.
I had to break this emotional connection that I had with sweet foods as an anti-depressant. The only way I managed this was to eat a very healthy large meal. I would go up to bed instead of watching TV in the lounge. Instead I would watch Netflix in bed with my headphones on or just try to sleep, slowly but surely, I managed to break this relationship I had with food it wasn’t easy but it wasn’t impossible either.
12. Stay clear of artificial sweeteners
Although diet products and sugar free alternatives have been known to get some dieters through a rough patch, the advice is to cut them down or get rid of them altogether. Aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, malitol, xylitol and even Keto friendly ones such as Stevia and Erythritol can cause you to have more sugar cravings. Large amounts of these sweeteners can actually cause you to desire more sweet foods and changes your palate leading to you craving even more sweet food.
This study shows that the chances of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity are linked to consuming artificial sweeteners, according to the study on the effects of sweeteners.
The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Manitoba, Canada and reviewed data from 37 studies which analysed more than 400,000 people for an average period of 10 years.
13. Remove temptation
Some of the things that I found helpful:
*Don’t bring sugary snacks into the house
*Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach and shop from a list.
*Go to bed early if you find you binge in front of the TV.
*Have coffee at home to stay away from the enticing ‘extras’ offered at coffee shops.
Fenugreek is a seed that has a maple syrup flavour. It has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of ailments. Fenugreek contains trace nutrients such as manganese, iron and copper. It is also full of antioxidants.
Traditional Chinese medicine tend to use fenugreek as a mover of stuck energy and to cool inflammation whereas in ayurvedic medicine is it used as a way of effectively managing metabolic and nutritive disorders such as diabetes.
This study that was published in the journal of diabetes and metabolic disorders showed that
‘By the end of intervention period, cumulative incidence rate of diabetes reduced significantly in Fenugreek group when compared to controls. The Fenugreek group also saw a significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose (FPG), postprandial plasma glucose (PPPG) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLc) whereas serum insulin increased significantly. It was observed that controls had 4.2 times higher chance of developing diabetes compared to subjects in the Fenugreek group. The outcome of diabetes in Fenugreek group was positively associated with serum insulin and negatively associated with insulin resistance (HOMA IR).
Normally used in holiday recipes, this sweet spice boasts numerous health benefits, including blood sugar regulating and stomach soothing properties.
Cloves are abundant in antioxidnats, quercitin and anthocyanins. They also contain trace minerals such as Manganese, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C and K.
This study found that intake of 1 to 3 grams of cloves per day lowered risk factors of diabetes without changing HDL concentration suggest strongly that cloves are beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. So, adding cloves to your diet could really help your sugar cravings.
This aptogenic root is one of the worlds most widely used herbal medicine. It is thought to relieve stress, reduce the risk of certain cancers, improve mental performance and help in general wellbeing. Ginsenosides are potent compounds within ginseng that are very potent. They work as strong antioxidants, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
17. Choose Sour over sweet
One of the best ways to counteract that urge to eat something sweet is to go Sour, an added bonus to this is that most sour foods are high in probiotics od organic acids which aid gut bacteria further helping you stay away from sugar.
Adding lemon or lime slices to your water or opting to eat foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can really help curb those sugar cravings.
18. Aim for 50g of fibre per day
Eating foods naturally high in Fibre and not the processed type they add to cereals such as flaxeeds, berries, nuts and carrots are known to slow digestion which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels. Eating 50g of fibre a day will keep you fuller for longer and stop you reaching for snacks.
My absolute favorite supplement to stop craving sugar is berberine.
Berberine is compound that can be extracted from several different plants including goldenseal. Some studies have shown it to reduce blood sugar levels, it mimics insulin action by increasing the ability of the body to take up glucose.
In a study of 116 diabetic patients 1 gram of berberine per day lowered fasting blood sugar by a whopping 20%.
I personally have had huge success with this berberin supplement. I take 500mg at the start of my meal and I feel it has made a huge difference in my cravings for sugar and carbs.
20. Eat more protein
Many people find that eating more protein keeps them satiated for much longer reducing the need to snack or eat sugar.
In this study participants followed a diet where protein was 25% of calories. The food cravings were reduced by 60% and late-night snacking was reduced by half.
So, if you are experiencing sugar cravings try upping the amount of protein you are eating, vegetarians can add plant based protein to get the same effect.
I was once someone who craved sugar at every given opportunity. Breakfast would consist of 2 cups of tea with sugar with either toast and jam or sugary cereal. Lunch would be heavily based around carbs lots of fries and fast food. I would eat tons of snacks in between and having a packet of bisuits with a cup of tea was normal for me. Dinner would be based around carbs and there was always desert. The worst time of day for me however was the late-night binging that was taking over my life. There came a point that It really needed to stop. I had to do something to break away from the vicious circle I found myself in. The only way for me was to go cold turkey if I ate anything sweet including fruit, I would want more so I just had to go ahead and cut it out.
I tried many of the tips above but in my honest experience what I found what has worked the best for me is berberine, coconut oil and staying clear of artificial sweeteners.