I Quit Sugar - 6 Foolproof Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings

 

Quitting sugar is not actually as daunting as you may think, and when I say ‘I quit sugar’ I am actually talking about the high GI ‘free‘ sugars that wreak havoc with your health, causing disease and illness, and not the healthier sugars like those found in whole fruits.

In this post we will take a look into refined sugars and their effects, and the 6 foolproof ways to curb sugar cravings.

 

The High Price of too Much Dietry Sugar:

 

We’ve heard it said so many times that sugar is bad and that we need to cut down or pay the price, that we’ve all become a bit desensitized to all the scaremongering. But a high price it can actually be. Too much refined sugar in our diet can contributed hugely to not only type 2 diabetes, but also heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Knowing all this really should be the catalyst to give this highly addictive refined grain the heave ho for good, but it’s not always easy, especially when it’s just SO highly addictive!

 

FACTS ABOUT SUGAR – FREE SUGARS

Not all sugar is created equal – firstly we have the kind of sugars that come under the term offree sugars‘, ‘fast sugars’, and ‘high GI sugars’. These are basically any sugar that has been fractionated from its original state (such as when oranges are made into fruit juice). This same method applies to white and brown table sugars, icing sugar, coconut sugar, fruit juices, and syrups such as maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup and honey.

As you can see, there are some ‘free sugars’ on here that are considered healthy, and some of them ARE actually “healthier”, like maple syrup and honey, as they also contain other nutrients. And you might also be interested to know that brown rice syrup is actually low GI, though more research is currently being done into its true healthful benefits and whether it is a viable sweetener for long term use.

 

Sugar is stored as Dangerous Belly Fat

 

Although the so called ‘healthier‘ free sugars do also contain nutrients, they will unfortunately still act in the same way as any other free sugar in the body, causing a sudden sugar spike and then the subsequent insulin release to clear those sugars from the bloodstream (usually they are stored in fat cells as these refined carbohydrates are more likely to go on as dangerous belly fat). This means sugar must only be consumed in very small doses.

 

WHOLE ‘UNFRACTURED’ SUGARS:

Now these guys are so much better for us and come in the form of whole fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and anything else that hasn’t had the fibers and bulk of the plant removed.

The reason they are healthier is because those fibers and other nutrients slow down their sugar release, making them much lower GI. (GI is short for glycemic index, which is a number associated with the amount of carbohydrates/sugars in food. The lower the better)

 

How To Use Them

bowl of dried dates

You can use these wholefood sugars in your cooking, and to sweeten other foods. For instance, by adding a ripe banana into a green smoothie, or using dates and other dried fruits to sweeten cakes and biscuits, You will get that sweetness you crave without the side nasty side effects.

In fact there are so many ways you can use whole sugars to sweeten your diet, that actually you need never use refined free sugars again.

 

HERE’S WHERE IT CAN GET COMPLICATED

ALL refined carbohydrates, which includes not only sweet things but also white flour, white rice, white pasta, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, confectionery, and basically anything that contains free sugars are all considered medium to mostly high GI foods.

plate of healthy food

BUT, and here’s the complicated bit, you can slow these sugars down with the addition of proteins and healthy fats in the same meal. So by using this method you can have high GI free sugars and get away with it a lot more than if you were to eat free sugars on their own. The addition of healthy fats and protein will ‘slow down‘ the sugar release but will NOT make the food healthy as such, just a ‘healthier‘ way of consuming it. It’s by nomeans a ‘get out of sugar free card (if only), and still needs to be used in moderation.

 

Low GI Carbohydrates

Even whilst eating lower GI carbohydrates such as unsweetened dried fruits, normal fruits (especially the higher sugar tropical fruits, like mango, pineapple, bananas and papaya), and starchy vegetables, it is always wise to have some healthy fats and/or protein with them like a handful of nuts and seeds, OR avocado and coconut oil. This will slow down the sugars, making for a more filling and substantial snack, and will also keep your blood sugars more stable afterwards.

 

SUGAR ADDICTION – WHEN SUGAR TURNS UGLY

sachets of brown and white sugar

I guess I didn’t really know I was in the grips of a sugar addiction until I tried to give it up. I went cold turkey as an experiment for 1 month. And when I say cold turkey – I mean COLD TURKEY! I didn’t have any high sugar fruits, milk or cheese (because of the lactose which is another type of sugar), and definitely NO free sugars, refined carbohydrates, yeast or alcohol. In fact nothing that would cause that addictive cycle of a sugar spike and the inevitable crash.

I kid you not, the first few days were just horrendous and the only thing that got me through was sucking on a few sugar free sweets when things got really bad. I didn’t sleep very well, had terrible brain fog, was highly irritable, and had severe cravings, I even had the shakes at some point. Sounds familiar right? Well these are all signs of an addict coming off of any other drug.

 

So What’s Going on?

Well this was exactly what was happening, because sugar is a drug that has been said to be more addictive than cocaine, and after my experience I can believe it. Although I am not saying for a minute that it was as bad as coming off of hard drugs, of course not but it was still not a nice experience.

woman sleeping with white douvet

BUT…after the initial 3 to 4 days of feeling crappy something magical started to happen, and I started to notice changes, the most prominent being my sleep. I had always suffered insomnia, but on the sugar free diet I slept more deeply and soundly than I can ever remember – well since I was a kid anyway. In fact I could go to sleep at will, something that I’d never been able to do before, plus my skin looked a million times better and I could think more clearly.

 

Anxiety and Depression – A Hidden Link

I also noticed I didn’t feel as stressed in situations that would previously have stressed me out, so it’s obvious to me now that sugar keeps you hyped up, wired and on edge –  and you don’t even know it’s happening when you know no different. What a revelation I had!

 

The sugar free diet kept me calm and chilled out – a state of mind that cannot coexist with anxiety and depression and the reason why I believe it is 100% worth the time and effort of  cutting free sugars from your diet as much as possible.

You probably don’t have to go to the extremes that I did. Just cutting out the free sugars and keeping the natural sugars is fine, you will still notice a huge difference in your health and vitality.

And you will notice an even bigger difference still with anxiety and depression if you exercise, you do some yoga, and find time for meditation. You may find my post to the ‘Ultimate Healthy Lifestyle’ interesting if you suffer from these problems.

 

Almost Everybody is Addicted to Sugar!

Even people who say they are not a ‘sweet person‘ are more than likely addicted to sugar, as it can come in under your radar in so many forms. Just look at most of the so called savory items in your kitchen cupboards and you will see exactly  what I mean – sauces, pickles, gravy powder, stock cubes, potato chips, and most convenience foods ALL contain sugar in some form, and more than likely disguised under a term or chemical name that you won’t recognise.

For help to clear these hidden sugars out of your cupboards, and your life for good, please read my post ‘Eating Clean in 10 Easy Steps’.

 

Cut Down Slowly for a Higher Chance of Success

I know I may have gone to extremes with my no sugar diet, but that’s just me and part of my research. I would recommend you cut down slowly, or just cut down your refined sugars and still eat fruits etc. I didn’t stick to this extreme way of eating for good, even though I felt fabulous and learnt a lot about myself.

However it did stand me in good stead, because learning new ways of eating without added sugar really changed my taste buds, and helped me to build healthier food habits for life. I have never since gone back to eating refined sugars, except on very odd occasions.

I QUIT SUGAR – 6 FOOLPROOF WAYS TO CURB CRAVINGS

Here are some of my favorite ways to cut down sugar, and nip those cravings in the bud. They always work for me and have helped me transform my health AND my body for the better.

 

1. KEEP BLOOD SUGAR STABLE

Possibly the most important rule of all because if your blood sugar is stable then you won’t be on that roller coaster of sugar cravings. To keep your blood sugars stable always eat low GI foods, which means no refined sugars or carbohydrates, and try to food combine correctly. Making sure you eat proteins, low GI carbohydrates, and a little fat at every meal or snack, will all help slow down those sugars.

The Brilliant Avocado!

The very best foods for keeping blood sugar stable (and I know I go on about them too much in my posts, but they truly are a wonder food) is the avocado. In fact, an avocado in the morning keeps me from craving sugar practically ALL DAY and is on my list of super foods.

Coconut Oil

Another great thing to incorporate into your diet is coconut oil, and all things coconut for that matter – such as raw whole coconuts, the dried flakes (make sure they have no added sugar), coconut cream, milk, and coconut water. I know you may be thinking “what about the calories and fat!“, but when you eat these things in moderation, and on a low sugar diet, you should not gain weight. It’s SUGAR that makes us fat more than anything else!

 

 2. DRINK LOTS OF WATER

It’s surprising how thirst can trick us into thinking we need an energy boost from sugar, when actually we are just plain dehydrated. When you are dehydrated your body gives you the signal that it needs energy before it gives you thirst signals (thirst signals seem to be one of our body’s less evolved mechanisms). In fact we can already be severely dehydrated before we actually feel thirsty,

Try to drink at least 1.5-2 liters of pure or filtered water daily. When you do this you will be fascinated to see lots of other little health niggles clearing up – and your skin will be just AMAZING.

 

3. SLEEP

This is another biggy, and something I notice every time I don’t get a good nights sleep: when we’re tired we crave quick sugars for energy, and cravings are easy to give into under these circumstances as you also have low willpower when you’re tired. Make sure you try to get a good 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night (or whatever amount you know your body thrives best on as we are all different).

 

4. CINNAMON

A wonder spice! Cinnamon has been PROVEN to control blood glucose levels AND reduce sugar cravings. It reduces the insulin spike after meals that can often lead to you to craving even more sugary foods.

You can add cinnamon to many of your meals, hot drinks, or herbal teas etc. (Always buy good quality cinnamon of the flaky bark variety as shown in the picture, and not the hard rolled sticks, as they are not the same and do not have the same benefits). To be sure you know what you’re getting it’s a good idea to buy the bark and grind it yourself, either in a coffee grinder or pestle and morter.

There is so much more to cinnamon than you would imagine, and it can be a super weight loss enhancer. Read more about how you should add more cinnamon to your diet to get these super weight loss effects in my postCinnamon and Fat Loss’.

 

5. PROBIOTICS AND FERMENTED FOODS

fermented white and red cabbage sauerkraut

These will help keep blood sugars under control by keeping your good bacteria healthy and proliferating. When you have too much bad bacteria in your gut (which is the stuff that makes you crave sugars as sugar is what it feeds off) you will feel out of balance and want more and more refined carbohydrates and fast sugars.

Taking a good probiotic may help this but eating lots of gut friendly foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickled vegetables, kefir and plain yoghurt will also help keep the gut in balance.

In fact, it is super easy to make your own sauerkraut at home and you can make it in big batches, plus it will have the added bonus of being a completely ‘raw’ food. (see video)

 

 

6. CHROMIUM PICOLINATE

Chromium picolinate is a chemical compound that is sold in supplement form, and is often used to treat diabetes and help with weight loss. This is because of its ability of keeping blood sugar under control by helping to enhance the effects of insulin. Taking this supplement may help you with your sugar cravings, especially alongside all the above on this list. Find out more on the benefits of chromium picolinate here.

 

TO CONCLUDE:

You can see that in order to quit sugar for good you will need to eat a low GI diet, as stable blood sugar is the VITAL secret to stopping sugar cravings. Everything is underpinned by stable blood sugar, including diseases like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. For more in depth information on starting your healthy low sugar diet the easy way please read ‘Starting A Healthy Diet’.

 

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Stefanie Taylor

I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.

22 Comments

Prabakaran · 10/12/2017 at 6:06 pm

Stefanie
Thanks for your wonderful article.
I am a type 2 diabetic and you have given very practical ways to come out from sugar cravings. This is the first I have heard about Avacados, Probiotics, fermented food. and chromium picolinate controlling diabetes. I have few questions. What type of probiotics should we take? Does Chromium Picolinate have any side effects?
Thanks for your useful article.

    Stefanie Taylor · 10/12/2017 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Prabakaran,

    Thank you for reading and I am glad you found the article useful. As you are a diabetic you should definitely read my post on low GI foods Low Glycemic Food List as this will help you massively in controlling your diabetes. And yes, I really do urge you to eat at least half a large avocado a day, preferably at breakfast or lunch to help stabalise your blood sugar for the rest of the day. This really works, just try it and see.

    As for chromium picolinate, perhaps you should speak to your doctor about it first to discuss possible side effects, especially as you are also diabetic. Usually if you stay within recommended guidelines and stick to quality brands you should not have a problem…but please check first.

    As far as probiotics go you should go for one that contains the strains lactobacillus and bifidobacterium as these are both highly effective. I hope this helps you, and please feel free to get back to me with any further questions you may have.

olina · 10/12/2017 at 6:20 pm

Great post, I absolutely agree with you, I quit my sugar intake about six months ago and I have never looked back. I have more energy, excellent nights sleep, and my weight is stable. Occasionally, I have a sugar craving, but it is not very often.
So I am very happy with my decision. I need to check CHROMIUM PICOLINATE that you mentioned and may start to take this supplement too, Thanks!

    Stefanie Taylor · 10/12/2017 at 10:47 pm

    Hi there, I’m really pleased you managed to quit sugar as I know what a hard challenge it can be, so I am happy for you. You are having all the same wonderful effects that I have, all of which make it 100% worth the effort.

    Yes, you may find chromium picolinate helpful if you are still getting cravings. It may not work for everybody but is certainly worth a try. Please feel free to let me know how you get on. Thanks

wildfind · 10/12/2017 at 8:24 pm

Great read! I would like to add that adding good fats like coconut, lard, and your dear avocado feeds our brain thus inhibiting sugar cravings.

Also the first two weeks is the hardest part as we quickly realize how much sugar has been silently added to our foods! Grocery store — all around the perimeter of the store little to no sugar…. the rest of the store all sugar laden!

    Stefanie Taylor · 10/12/2017 at 10:39 pm

    Hi there, yes you are so right. I find that now I have given up refined sugars and also gone plant based, there is only a small section of the supermarket that I shop in. In fact, I can wizz around and do my whole shop in like 10 minutes. Which is great!

    Yes I know, avocados and coconut oil are great for stopping sugar cravings in their tracks. Works every time.

Radha Narayanan · 10/12/2017 at 8:43 pm

I found this article very interesting. I am definitely a sugar addict and it is exciting to hear about the positive effects on your health when you went cold turkey on sugar. It motivates me to try such a thing in my life.

    Stefanie Taylor · 10/12/2017 at 10:42 pm

    Hi Radha, I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and yes you really should try giving up, or at least cutting back on sugar. It really is worth it I promise you. And you will be slashing your risks of so many nasty diseases. I wish you lots of luck with this.

Penelope · 10/12/2017 at 11:29 pm

The cool thing about cinnamon is that it’s already in a lot of desserts, and so we all have that association with it being a dessert/sweet thing. But it’s not, so it’s a way to trick our brains into thinking we’re getting some. Very cool article, thanks for sharing your experience detoxing from the drug of sugar. I hope to do the same, too – it’s just poison and there’s no reason to keep eating it.

    Stefanie Taylor · 11/12/2017 at 10:11 am

    Hi Penelope, yes I just love cinnamon and I always buy the bark and grind it myself because it just tastes a million times better that way. So much fresher and totally different to the pre-ground stuff. I wish you well on your detoxing from sugar, you really should do it as you will feel a million bucks trust me. Just takes a while to reprogram your brain and get rid of the cravings, but with a bit of time and willpower you will. Good luck.

Marques Pizarro · 29/01/2018 at 2:11 am

I m a teenage bodybuilder and I must say it is hard to ignore sugar! I can see you put so much effort into this article because you gave so much detail. I will start drinking more water, sleeping more, (I am very inconsistent), and I will add cinnamon in my protein shakes. Thank you for sharing this, will come back for more knowledge like this.

    Stefanie Taylor · 29/01/2018 at 2:11 am

    Hi Marques, I’m glad you learnt something new with my post. It’s great you are into body building and looking after yourself from such a young age. You will go a long way. Getting enough sleep and drinking enough pure water are the two most vital tings for life, strength, and health so make sure you focus on those, and yes please revisit any time and if you have any more questions then I am happy to help.

RN Didi · 07/02/2018 at 3:48 am

Hi there!

Awesome post with hands-on tips on how to cut sugar cravings and God knows it is needed in this world where everything has sugar added to it!
I would add another way that worked for me: go on a plant-based, natural food diet for ten days.

I swear I’ve been addicted to sugar for at least ten years of my life. I’ve recently tried the Daniel diet, which consisted of eating raw food for ten days, and my addiction to sugar has vanished. I’m in awe of how quick it was for me.

I’ve also, like you recommended, increased my intake of probiotics and I love cinnamon in my herbal teas and morning oatmeal.

Thanks for those great tips!

    Stefanie Taylor · 07/02/2018 at 9:38 am

    Hi there, I am glad you enjoyed my post. I am a plant based eater too and it definitely helps with sugar cravings (though I do like my dark chocolate on occasion I must admit), but raw is a whole new level and does make you feel awesome. I actually did a fully raw food diet for about 2 weeks once and it totally changed everything about the way I felt and looked. I don’t know why I couldn’t stick to it for longer but I remember it being winter and I was craving hot foods. It’s hard to do I must say.

    However more and more now I have started adding raw foods into my diet, I often go raw all day until dinner so I’m getting there. it’s a big change emotionally as well as everything else.

    Thank you for your input, it is much appreciated!

Lawrence · 25/03/2018 at 9:39 pm

Hi Stefanie. I’ve just come from your banana page to this one.
Gosh you have a lovely site with some great (and honest) info.
I just don’t get how people cannot understand that sugar is a big problem in our world. I think it is the #1 poison and the cause of many illnesses and of course obesity.
Don’t even get me started on artificial sweeteners!
We need more people like you spreading the word of health.
Thanks once again

    Stefanie Taylor · 26/03/2018 at 10:38 am

    Hi Lawrence, yes I totally get where your’e coming from about sugar – it really is a poison, but unfortunately a very powerful and big business and so they will keep spinning it out to the masses with no regard for the consequences. I gave up sugar myself and adopted a more plant based diet and the results just blew me away!

    I cannot even put into words how much better I feel and I know this feeling is something most people have never experienced, which is why it is my absolute passion to help others to feel great too. So yes, I am spreading the word as much as I possibly can and hopefully I can help to slowly be part of the change which I know is going to happen as we all start waking up.

Matts Mom · 25/03/2018 at 11:16 pm

Another great post filled with great information. I didn’t know that the avocado was so good for keeping the blood sugar level stable. I also love yogurt so two great options for me. My son tends to have too high of blood sugar, and again he loves avocados. Glad I found this information!

    Stefanie Taylor · 26/03/2018 at 10:28 am

    Yes avocados are definitely the way to go in terms of blood sugar. I’ve found a great combination of things that I do every day now that all culminate together to keep me slim and I know this is down to blood sugar as I haven’t changed my diet at all. I always have every day half an avocado (at least), half a grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon.

    All of these work together to keep sugar cravings under control and burn fat. I have left a few links so you can delve further into how these work.

Agnes · 26/03/2018 at 3:46 pm

Hi Stefanie,
As I much as I hate to admit it, staying away from sugar is exactly what I need. These days there is sugar in everything!!! Going to a supermarket is a nightmare for me. I try so hard to pick the right foods, vegetables and fruits to keep my family healthy. I definitely learned a few new things from this post, thank you. Knowledge is power to change if you choose to.

    Stefanie Taylor · 26/03/2018 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Agnes, I know how hard it is to give up sugar I’m afraid. We just don’t realise how addicted we are until we try to stop eating it, well that was my experience anyway so I’m presuming it will be the same for everyone. The trouble with sugar is because it is everywhere and we’ve always always been conditioned to eat it and think it’s fine we don’t even think about what it’s actually doing to our bodies. What a nightmare!

    Anyway, I’m glad you learnt some new tips and information and hopefully you can get your family on board. Good luck.

sarah · 17/04/2018 at 10:26 am

This is again an amazing post from Stefanie, who I follow regularly for more useful posts. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us. My parents are diabetic and my sister too, they have to limit their sugar intake and I am going to share this super superb article with them to read and will ask them to share with others too.

    Stefanie Taylor · 17/04/2018 at 10:45 am

    Thanks Sarah, that’s a great compliment and I m glad I am of help to you. It’s unfortunate that your parents and sister are diabetic as this could mean it runs in the family so you should for sure take extra care with your diet to be on the safe side. I too have this disease in my family and I am always nagging them to eat healthier.

    It is now known that type 2 diabetes is not only preventable, but also may be completely manageable and even curable through diet and exercise alone. This is an astounding finding and it just goes to show that we can have the ultimate power over what happens to us. Yes, it would be really great if you could share this article with your family as they may find it useful. Thanks.

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