Tips to Beat Sugar Addiction

As kids, we are taught that becoming addicted to smoking, alcohol, and drugs can hurt our good health.  

But, we are never taught about the dangers of eating too much sugar. And how consuming too much sugar wreaks havoc on our health.  

In addition to sugar’s well-known connection to diabetes, too much sugar affects our whole health – heart health, blood pressure levels, brain health, and cancer risk. 

In this article I share 5 signs that could indicate you have a sugar addiction, and I offer 10 tips on how to conquer it.

5 signs you may be eating too much sugar

1. You crave sugar. Processed sugar is very addictive. It hooks into the primeval need for something sweet. You need to understand, however, that the more processed sugar you eat, the more you crave it. Experts say it takes 3-4 days to clear the residue of sweets and processed sugar from the body. It may take longer than that to get rid of the cravings. 

2. You have withdrawal symptoms when sugar is skipped. If you experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms after skipping sugary foods or drinks for a day, you may be addicted:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Cravings
  • Chills
  • Muscle Aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Mental Fog
  • Insomnia

3.  You crave salt. Sugar adds no nutritional value and is even considered an anti-nutrient because it causes a deficiency of some healthy nutrients. This may cause you to crave unhealthy salty foods like breads and pizza. 

4.  Your skin health is poor. Your skin is showing its age with wrinkles, dryness, facial sagging, and a dull tone. Excess sugars in the blood attach to proteins to form new molecules known as Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) . This glycation process weakens skin proteins like collagen and elastin, which help to keep your skin supple and firm. The more glycation happens, the faster you age.

5.  You eat when you are not hungry. Do you ever crave or eat dessert after a filling meal. If so, you may have a sugar addiction.  

10 tips for conquering sugar cravings

Okay, if you have identified that you may be eating too much sugar, then here are 10 tips to help you conquer cravings and ultimately eat less sugar. 

1.  Avoid artificial sweeteners. These are toxic and not serving your health. They increase your appetite and your sugar cravings. Artificial sweeteners also inhibit metabolism of fat so they do not help with weight loss challenges.

2. Dont buy sugary junk food/keep it out of your home. Having sugary junk in the home inspires binging. 

3.  Eat more fruit and sweet veggies. Try reaching for these instead; they will actually quell your cravings!

4.  Exercise. Movement helps the body to metabolize glucose. Get up and go outside for a walk. 

5.  Separate emotion from food. Take notice of our culture’s obsession with sugar as a reward, especially how much sugar has been included in celebrations. Find other options.

6.  Crowd Out the bad with better options. Going cold turkey from all sweets may lead to feelings of failure and disappointment. Know your limits, and use recipes like those found on my website to feed your sweet tooth.

7.  Read labels. Look at the ingredients on every package you buy (as opposed to the grams of sugar). Notice where the sugar is sneaking in so you can start to find better options. Or better yet, avoid all ultra processed foods. 

8.  Remember no amount is good. When you’re kicking the sugar habit, rely on healthy alternatives, not modified amounts of the same old stuff. The body will quickly remember old habits. Small amounts will trigger return cravings and the desire to binge. Remember, a little bit of crack is still crack; avoid sugar altogether to beat the addiction. 

9.  Eat good fats (like nuts and coconut oil). Good fats will help to modulate cravings and stabilize blood sugar.

10.  Seek out help and support. Don’t think you have to do it alone! Nutrition counselors and many online resources can help you journey the road to recovery from sugar addiction!

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Improve Your Health With Personalized Nutrition Counseling - I'll Show You How!
Picture of Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta is a certified functional nutrition practitioner, holistic cancer coach and speaker. She studied whole-food, plant-based nutrition with T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. She is a food driven analyst and works with clients to help them use nutrition principles to solve the root causes of their health symptoms. She knows that functional nutrition is the answer to our current healthcare crisis, both for individuals and for society at large, and wants to inform as many people as she can of the power of food to heal. Her promise to clients - if you eat better, you will feel better.