Cutting to the chase: The best way for how to stop sugar addiction is to transition from processed sugars to natural sugars through fruits. Instead of going for a candy bar, have some dried dates or apricots. Look for fruits that are sweet and able to be a source of sweetness to curb your sugar cravings.
Here’s a tip: leave your fruit out of the fridge before eating and allow it to come to room temperature. This will unlock more of the sweetness and help stave off sugar cravings. By swapping out for healthier options you can eventually get to the stage where the sweetness of a raw carrot becomes so obvious.
Can You Really Quit Sugar?
We’ll start with the good news, it is possible to stop sugar addiction, and in as little as 7 days! All it will require from you is a conscious decision and effort to break the cycle of your sugar addiction.
My journey of stopping my sugar addiction was challenging but was worth the effort. Besides the obvious signs like weight loss, there was a multitude of benefits I noticed happening on both my physical and mental level.
To be clear, this does not mean you will never be able to eat sugar again, but having control over your sugar intake on a physical and mental level will allow you to live a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy the occasional sugary treat.
Sugar is an easy to access ingredient in our day and age, and it’s no secret that sugar is packed into many of our processed foods. As a result, it can be hard to avoid if you’re not consciously paying attention to the contents of your food.
With that said, below we will get into how sugar affects the human body and later discuss ways on how to stop your sugar addiction, most of which were personally tested by me!
Sugar’s Effect on the Brain
Our brains are driven by the need for a reward. It’s fair to say that most of us will look for the easiest way to achieve a reward, or put simply, minimal effort for maximum reward.
Food producers know just how addictive sugar can be and often load their products with sugars to trigger the dopamine receptors within our brains.
Our brains will release the chemical dopamine for various reasons naturally, such as when we engage in sex. It can also do the same thing if we take specific kinds of drugs. And we’re not talking about the type you’ll typically get from your Doctor.
Sugar also triggers the same biological response and is flavored which makes it an easy method for our body to obtain dopamine. Excess sugar consumption builds up our body’s tolerance to the point where we need larger and larger amounts to release the same dopamine hit.
A study published in 2015 details that rats would choose sugar over other substances such as nicotine, heroin, and cocaine a majority of the time. All the more reason why you need to be conscious of sugar when kicking the addiction!
Sugar’s Effect on the Body
Sugar not only affects our brain but our bodies as well. Eating sugar causes our glucose levels to spike and fall. This rapid change causes a false sense of hunger, especially for more sugar.
Eating a high sugar diet has also shown an increased risk of illness due to a weakened immune system. There is a twofold effect where the bacteria that cause illness will eat the excess sugar to build up its strength while you are missing key nutrients to support your immune system due to excess sugar consumption.
There are also other side effects to eating too much sugar, such as;
- Increased tooth decay rate
- Accelerated aging
- Increased stress levels, and
- Decreased cognitive ability.
Excess sugar can also have more dire consequences on the body. Prime examples would include diabetes, obesity and increased risk of heart disease.
Dietary ways to stop sugar addiction
Cravings for sugar are going to occur during the quitting process. There are a number of dietary changes you can make to assist yourself in managing cravings and stopping your sugar addiction.
Remove all sugary goods from your house
By removing all the sugar available, you will force yourself to look for other alternatives when sugar cravings occur. These cravings can be satisfied in a number of ways:
- Eating organic fruit – This will not only satisfy the sweet cravings but also receive the benefits of all the added nutrients such as fiber. Fruits could include apples, strawberries, or blueberries.
- Eating high protein/high-fat snacks – Eating foods such as almonds, coconut flakes, avocado, eggs, or high-fat meat can help reduce sugar cravings. These are also great to have when fasting or if you are on a keto diet.
- Avoid processed carbohydrates – Eating processed carbohydrates can cause abrupt spikes and falls in blood sugar levels, tricking the brain into wanting sugar to correct the imbalance.
Become conscious of your cravings
When cravings occur, be conscious that they are happening and elect to eat a healthy meal or snack. By replacing sugary foods with healthier alternatives, you can train your body off sugar while receiving the benefits of healthier food. Keeping a food diary can also assist you as you can look back at what types of food are causing the strongest cravings.
Your body’s craving for sugar may just be a sign that your body is craving minerals. Try adding Celtic sea salt or Celtic lake salt to a glass of water, or by taking/ingesting magnesium. Sugar slows the body’s ability to absorb magnesium and calcium, and a deficiency of these two minerals leads to higher sugar cravings.
Have alternative foods and beverages ready to combat sugar cravings
When the cravings come it pays to be prepared. While we can eat healthy and fulfilling meals full of proteins and fats, sometimes the cravings can come on hard and sharp. Making yourself a nice cup of tea, which is known to reduce cravings, especially green, cinnamon and ginger varieties, can help. Eating sweet fruits are also a much better alternative.
Lifestyle ways to stop sugar addiction
There are a number of lifestyle changes or adjustments you can make that will assist you in stopping your sugar addiction:
Write down your goal to stop your sugar addiction
Physically write down a goal for yourself to stop eating sugar. Be specific on the goal and list things like how long you will be cutting sugar out for. Also, give it an emotional attachment by writing why you want to cut out sugar, and why this goal is so important for you to achieve. Once done, sign it and date it, then put it somewhere you will constantly see it (inside the pantry where sugary foods were kept might be an ideal place!)
You want to let people know your plan for quitting sugar. By having others around you who know your goal, you can leverage off them to help encourage you and to also keep you on track when things get tough. It may be your family, friends, colleagues, or even a support group who has similar goals. By creating accountability, you place a note in your mind that others are watching your actions, helping to drive you not to fail.
Look at ways you can reduce the stress in your life. While stopping your sugar addiction, see if family members or friends could help you with any tasks causing you stress. Maybe asking your partner to mind the kids for 10 minutes while you meditate, or dedicate 20 minutes each night to focus on de-stressing through yoga or stretching.
Based on my experience and feedback from others I have helped with cutting sugar, it will take around a week for your body and mind to adjust to the change. The average lifespan of a taste bud is 2 weeks, and it takes around 3 weeks to form a new habit. This means while stopping your sugar addiction can happen in as little as a week, there are additional factors that will help to strengthen your resolve as you continue.
As a final note, once you have stopped your addiction, you can still enjoy the occasional sweet. Maybe it’s a bit of chocolate after dinner once a week or a slice of cake when out with friends for a coffee. Your job at this point is to manage your sugar intake and sugar cravings from here on out!
Check out our recipes in the main menu for some inspiration on making things that will help with a sweet tooth. The best part is they don’t have any refined sugar added to them!
Has this article empowered you on to take control of your sugar consumption, and how to stop sugar addiction? You should check out some of the other awesome articles on Detox and Cure or like us on Facebook to stay up to date!