Sugar addiction is a significant nutritional issue in the Western world. Almost everyone craves sweets and an easy way to satisfy these cravings is to reach for treats consisting of processed sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maltodextrin, and dextrose, but there are actually many ways to reduce sweet cravings. The most obvious one is to add natural foods such as fruits and vegetables to your daily diet to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Tips To Reduce Sweet Cravings
Fruits are wonderful to sprinkle throughout your diet for a naturally sweet treat, with benefits. Blueberries are high in antioxidants which protect your body from free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases. Also, they are a low-glycemic food. Kiwi is a delicious source of vitamin C with a low sugar content. Most fruits are high in fiber, too, which is another treat for the digestive system, heart health and cancer prevention.
Sweet vegetables soothe the internal organs of the body and energize the mind. Root vegetables such as beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions are energetically grounding, which helps to balance out the feeling of “foggy brain” which people often feel after eating other kinds of sweet foods. Adding sweet vegetables in the diet helps to crowd out less healthy foods. We all know how important eating our fruits and veggies are…so try exploring some other options to reduce sugar cravings!
Eliminate fat-free or low-fat foods
These foods, often considered “healthy“ choices, are anything but that. Packed with high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat, they will send you on a roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Healthy fats from nature will not make us fat; it’s the processed, refined fats found in packaged foods that will! Our body and brain thrive with healthy fats found in nature such as coconut, avocado, grass-fed butter, olives, eggs, and seafood or meat from pastured animals. Healthy fats satiate us, making us feel satisfied and less likely to have cravings.
Drink more water to reduce sweet cravings
Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and then wait a few minutes. You might be surprised that you are no longer searching for a piece of candy! To make sure you are drinking enough water, take your body weight and divide it in half; that’s approximately how much water (in ounces) your body needs each day.
Get physical activity
Begin practicing simple activities like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase to 20-30 minutes. Mild exercise will help balance your blood sugar levels, boost your energy, and reduce tension without medicating yourself with sugar. Even if you’re not a member of a gym, have limited time to work out, or if it’s raining outside, you can find high intensity interval training (HIIT) or quick walking workouts online.
Get more sleep, rest and relaxation
Unfortunately, when you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy in the form of sugar. These cravings are often a result of being sleep-deprived, going to bed late or waking up early, sometimes for months and years on end. Set a bedtime for yourself (aim for 10pm) and stick to it. Sprinkle in other times to pause during your day. Practice a breathing exercise, listen to a guided meditation, or occupy yourself with something that calms you. Getting proper rest regularly will help lessen sugar cravings throughout the day.
Reduce or eliminate caffeine
Caffeine consumption includes some negatives: dehydration and blood sugar swings can cause sugar cravings to be more frequent. The same goes for alcohol (usually towards the end of our day). Have you heard of the new “mushroom coffee” trend? These medicinal mushrooms, such as lion’s mane, reishi, and chaga, deliver a similar taste of coffee with a totally natural, healthy boost of energy that your body needs.
Use a tongue scraper
This inexpensive, yet transformative, stainless-steel or copper tongue scraper removes plaque, leftover food and build-up from the surface of the tongue. When old residue is removed from the tongue, cravings are reduced. Furthermore, you may be better able to taste your food, thus gaining greater satisfaction from your meal and eliminating the need to finish with a dessert. Get into the habit of scraping the tongue right after brushing your teeth.
Experiment with spices
Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings. These are flavorful spices that will add dimension to the foods you eat. For example, slice up some apples and dust with cinnamon and/or nutmeg to wake up your tastebuds and satisfy your sweettooth.
Eat more fermented foods
Fermented foods, fermented liquids and probiotics will help restore a balance in your healthy gut bacteria. There are millions of microbes in your stomach and intestines. If you have bad gut bacteria/microbes, they can actually influence your cravings through nerve pathways linked between your stomach and brain. Pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, raw apple cider vinegar, yogurt and kefir are great fermented food options. A tablespoon or two each day serves as a daily probiotic!
Use natural sweeteners
To further reduce sweet cravings you will want to avoid chemicalized, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar. If you enjoy sweetening your coffee or tea with sugar, experiment with cleaner sugar options until you find the right taste for you. Use gentle sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar or even nutrient-dense blackstrap molasses.
Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways
Think beyond food. Your body does not biologically need sugar, but it does long for hugs, time with friends, outside time, workouts, massages, etc. Vitamin L (love) is a real thing. When life becomes sweet enough itself, no additives are needed!