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Do you still yearn for something sweet two hours after eating that Danish pastry in the morning? When you’re having a bad afternoon, do you reach for a candy bar to cheer yourself up or do you reach for a Coke to cheer yourself up afterwards?

You’re not alone if you’ve discovered that eating sugary snacks just increases your need for them. Consuming a lot of simple carbohydrates can instantly quell hunger and provide your body with a brief energy boost without the need for proteins or fats. However, they almost immediately make you hungry once more and yearn for more.

How can you permanently overcome your sugar cravings? Here’s some professional guidance.

Why Do We Crave Sugar?

There are numerous explanations for our preference for sweets.

That hunger can be ingrained in you. “Humans prefer sweet flavors from birth,” according to Christine Gerbstadt, MD. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good, is released when we consume carbohydrates. While carbs can also be found in entire grains, fruits, and vegetables, which provide your body with fiber and other essential nutrients, sugar is just one type of carbohydrate.

Along with providing a natural “high,” the taste of sugar produces endorphins, which help us relax and calm down, according to Susan Moores, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sweets are delicious on their own. Additionally, rewarding oneself with sweets might reinforce that inclination and increase your need for them. Given all of that, why wouldn’t we be driven to sugar cravings?

The issue arises when we overindulge in sugary treats rather than when we occasionally indulge in them. When sugar is added to a lot of processed meals, such as breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces, it becomes simple to do that. According to the American Heart Association, Americans do overindulge in added sugars, averaging 17 teaspoons daily whereas the recommended daily allowance for women is 6 teaspoons and for men is 9 teaspoons.

How to Stop Sugar Cravings: 8 Tips to Use Right Now

Control Sugar Cravings
Control Sugar Cravings

Here are some strategies for controlling sugar cravings.

  • Give in a little. Eat a tiny portion of what you’re craving—perhaps a fun-sized candy bar or a small cookie—recommends registered dietitian Kerry Neville. Relishing a small portion of your favorite things can prevent you from feeling rejected. Neville advises trying to maintain a 150-calorie threshold. Share your treat with a friend or friends if you are unable to find a small serving size.
  • Combine foods. You can still fill yourself up and sate a sugar hunger even if it seems hard to stop at a cookie or a baby candy bar. “I like combining the craving food with a healthful one,” Neville explains. “I love chocolate, for example, so sometimes I’ll dip a banana in chocolate sauce and that gives me what I’m craving, or I mix some almonds with chocolate chips.” You’ll satisfy your appetite and fill up on nutritious foods that are beneficial for you.
  • Go cold turkey. For some folks, eliminating all simple sugars is beneficial. However, it’s not simple. “The first 48 to 72 hours are very difficult,” adds Gerbstadt. After a few days, going cold turkey for some people seems to help them stop cravings. Some discover that although they may still have sugar cravings, they can eventually teach their taste buds to be content with less of it.
  • Grab some gum. According to registered dietitian Dave Grotto, chewing a stick of gum can help you resist giving in to a sugar craving entirely. “Research has shown that chewing gum can reduce food cravings,” adds Grotto.
  • Reach for fruit. Have fruit on hand in case you get a sugar craving. You’ll receive some sweetness, fiber, and nutrients. And eat plenty of things like seeds, nuts, and dried fruits, advises Judy Chambers, a trained addiction therapist. “Have them handy so you reach for them instead of reaching for the old [sugary] something.”
  • Get up and go. When you feel the need for sugar, give it up. Neville advises you to “take a walk around the block or [do] something to change the scenery” in order to distract yourself from the meal you’re desiring.
  • Choose quality over quantity. “If you need a sugar splurge, pick a wonderful, decadent sugary food,” Moores advises. But make it modest. Instead of a king-sized candy bar, for instance, go for a little dark chocolate truffle and “savor every bite — slowly,” advises Moores. Grotto concurs. “Don’t swear off favorites — you’ll only return back for greater servings. Learn to include small amounts in your diet, but focus on putting less sugar and more [healthy] foods in your stomach.”
  • Eat regularly. According to Moores, skipping meals could lead you to select for high-sugar, high-fat items that suppress your appetite. To “avoid irrational eating behavior,” Grotto suggests eating every three to five hours, which can help maintain stable blood sugar levels. What are your best options? “Choose protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains and produce,” adds Moores.


But won’t eating more frequently lead to overindulgence? Not if you divide up your meals like Neville suggests. Eat some bread with peanut butter for part of your breakfast, for example, and reserve the yogurt for a midmorning snack. “Break up lunch the same way to help avoid a mid-afternoon slump,” Neville advises.

Perhaps you should reconsider what you’re drinking. Whether it’s a juice, latte, or soda, they can be a significant amount of sugar. Instead, try some sparkling or regular water.

How to Stop Sugar Cravings: 5 Tips for the Long Term

Control Sugar Cravings
Control Sugar Cravings

One of the best ways to manage sugar cravings is to stop them before they start. To help you do that:

  • Skip artificial sweeteners. They may not always reduce sugar cravings. Furthermore, according to Grotto, the author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, they “haven’t demonstrated a positive effect on our obesity epidemic.”
  • Give yourself something special if you can control your sugar cravings. Your prize can be little or substantial. After you remind yourself of your motivation, give yourself a reward for each accomplishment.
  • Slow down. Chambers advises concentrating on your sugar cravings and paying attention to what you eat for a week. Dietary chaos frequently arises from a lack of preparation. Thus, Chambers advises, take your time, make a plan, “and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when you’re desperate.”
  • Get support. When people are anxious, depressed, or furious, they frequently gravitate to sugary foods. But emotional problems are not resolved by food. Think about whether your sugar cravings are a result of your emotions and whether you need assistance to resolve those emotions.
  • Mix it up. It can need more than one tactic to resist sugar cravings. You might try one strategy and have success with it one week, then you might need to try a different one the next. “Having a ‘bag of tricks’ to try” is what matters, according to Gerbstadt. Neville asserts that the key to controlling sugar cravings is to “figure out what works for you.”

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