5 Essential Ways to Stop Sugar Cravings
Break Free From the Sugar Habit
How can I break the sugar habit/addiction? How do I stop craving sugar? These are some of the most common questions I get from my clients. It is such a big issue and so many of us struggle. Sugar is one of the most pervasive ingredients on the market. Our food industry puts it in everything. Does peanut butter really need sugar? Did you know that ketchup is 1/3 sugar? Whoa!
Studies show that we are eating more and more sugar every year. The food industry denies it, but this excess sugar consumption has caused a massive increase in obesity, chronic illness, cancer and so much more!
Another mark against sugar is that it is extremely addictive. It influences the same area of the brain as opiates and amphetamines. Yikes!
The good news is that you CAN stop the sugar cravings and break the habit! Listed below are my top five favorite ways to break free from sugar.
Read Ingredient Labels. It’s time to start playing food detective and read the label. Look for sugar. Sugar has so many names, that it can be tricky. The industry likes to fool us, so we have to play detective for ourselves. Also, note where sugar is in the list of ingredients; at the bottom of the list is much better than at the top of the list!
Shop the Outside Walls of the Grocery. One of my favorite tricks is to avoid processed foods. As our food gets farther away from its natural state, we see big decreases in nutritional value. Highly processed foods also tend to have added sugar, preservatives and sometimes nasty chemicals.
Whenever I’m working with a new client, I like to have them focus 70–80% of their grocery shopping around the outside of the store. Skip ALL of those internal aisles if you can. Generally, those are the places where the food is more processed. As you get into those middle aisles, you really start to have to play detective and read labels. Think about it this way, there are no ingredient labels on celery. Celery is celery.
As you get away from boxed and highly processed foods, you will for sure be eating less sugar. Another benefit of staying away from those middle aisles is that you will know exactly what you are eating and the how it is prepared. And even better, you will be changing your taste buds to crave something real and not that box of cookies!
Drink Water. I feel like I use this one for everything, but it really is a powerful tool! One of the easiest and best things to do if you start craving sugar is to drink a glass of water. It can be as simple as that!
If you become dehydrated, your body can start to crave sugar. Eating a sugary treat becomes irresistible. So, when you get that urge, grab a glass of water or two and see if the urge goes away.
Eat Fermented Foods. This is one tool that I believe doesn’t get enough credit. It is also something that I didn’t even consider adding to my diet until recent years.
One of the best ways to stop craving sugar is to add fermented foods and drinks to your diet. What exactly are fermented foods? These generally aren’t foods from the grocery shelves like pickles or sauerkraut. These are vegetables that are preserved through a process of lacto-fermentation using salt, whey or an active culture. This process enhances the nutrient content of the food and creates the enzymes and vitamins needed for good digestion.
Foods like fermented cabbage, cucumbers and beets are a great source of probiotics that are really good for the gut. So, how does a healthy gut help stop sugar cravings? Bad bacteria in the gut feed on sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more bad bacteria can grow. The good bacteria in the gut feed on the probiotics found in fermented foods. The more fermented foods you eat the more good bacteria you have and with that come fewer sugar cravings!
Practice Food Cleansing. This is something that I recommend to all my clients; complete a food cleanse. It’s okay to start with just five days. It’s short enough that it doesn’t feel overwhelming, but it is long enough to get results. Even though five days isn’t always going to break a serious sugar addition/habit, it is a really good place to start to begin to become more aware of your cravings and habits.
Completing a five day food cleanse will do several things to support you in breaking your sugar addiction or habit. First, it is going to get you out of your comfortable food habits and routines. When you eat differently for just five days, you begin to see that there are other ways to find comfort.
Second, you are going to be eating whole foods during the cleanse and that is going to include lots of green vegetables. Those green vegetables are going to be really good for the body giving it lots of good fuel and nutrients to support it. When your body is supported, it doesn’t try to send you messages that it needs something. And that means fewer sugar cravings.
Have you used any of these tools to combat sugar cravings? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and share what works best for you.
Sherry Parks is a Wellness Coach who helps career women escape feeling trapped and out of control in their work life, so that they are happy on their own terms and have joy and excitement for their life. Grab her Free PDF, Top Tips for Successful Food Cleansing, here.
To connect with Sherry, join her women-only Facebook group Lives in Balance.