Over the years the food industry has turned us all into sugar junkies. Hidden sugars are everywhere and our body got used to this white powder. Some people even say it is as addictive as cocaine.
Just as with a drug addiction, the more you munch on sugar, the more your body will crave sugary snacks and beverages. It is true that those simple carbs can quickly satisfy hunger and provide your body with an energy boost, but this won’t last long.
And your body isn’t helping. Sugar raises the feel-good hormone serotonin, which makes us euphoric after eating a meal high in sugar. This high of a sugar rush is only temporary and after an hour, or even minutes, you start to crash and you become tired, hungry, and moody. So our reaction is to reach for another snack or soda….
And that’s how people get trapped into the vicious circle of a sugar addiction. The good news is that it takes only a few days to dramatically reduce your cravings and dependence on sugar.
The first few days you are trying to get off sugar can be very intense, so hang in there. It will be worth it.
Why You Should Detox From Sugar
Although we all know that sugar is bad for our health, I wanted to state the most important health risk here just to get you motivated to get off this highly addictive legal drug.
- Sugar creates an addictive cycle of hunger, fatigue, and moodiness.
- Sugar increases insulin levels which causes more sugars to get stored as fat.
- Sugar can cause inflammation, the culprit of many diseases like diabetes, cancer, autoimmune problems, and cardiovascular issues.
- Sugar is high in calories, but not filling. Hence why people tend to binge on the sweet stuff.
- Sugar can cause tooth decay.
- Sugar stimulates the release of human growth hormone, which speeds up aging.
15 Powerful Ways To Fight A Sugar Addiction
1. Eliminate processed foods
Sugars are added to processed foods to enhance their flavor. Even the ones that you wouldn’t expect to be a sugar snack are often loaded with it. Make sure to read the labels and try to eliminate all processed and junk food from your diet.
2. Eat regularly
If you wait too long in between meals your blood sugar drops and you are more likely to binge on sugary, fatty foods to satisfy your hunger. Opt for 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks or 5 smaller meals at regular time intervals. Choose fresh, whole foods high in protein and fiber like whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruit, and veggies.
3. Fruit and Veggie Detox
When you feel up for it, do a whole food fruit and veggie detox. Eliminating all sugars for 5 to 10 days often decreases the need for sugar and will stop sugar cravings.
If you are interested in detoxifying your body, you can find my 10-day whole food detox program that won’t leave you short in nutrients here.
4. Emotional Eating
When we feel down, bored, stressed or worried we tend to eat sugary snacks to find some comfort. Be aware of this emotional connection to food and sugar. Try to find another way to get your emotions under control. Go for a walk, meet up with a friend, listen to music, practice yoga or do something you love instead of binging on ice cream or candy bars.
5. Mineral Deficiencies
Deficiencies in certain trace minerals can intensify sugar cravings, as some of those are involved in glucose metabolism and insulin production. Make sure to eat enough healthy foods to meet your body’s needs. Here’s a list of minerals you should pay attention to.
- Chromium: whole grains, asparagus, sweet potatoes, apples, organic eggs, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- Magnesium: spinach, quinoa, cashews, pumpkin seeds, beans, Swiss chard, almonds, raw cacao and mackerel. Click here to learn more about magnesium deficiencies.
- Vanadium: mushrooms, parsley, whole grains, dill, and shellfish, carrots, cabbage, olive oil, garlic, and onions.
- Zinc: seafood, chickpeas, almonds, oatmeal, yogurt (unsweetened), raw cacao, cashews, and spinach
6. Get Enough Sleep
Fatigue or a lack of sleep is what makes your body crave for sugar to give an instant energy boost. People who don’t sleep enough tend to eat more calories, much of them being sugary or fatty foods.
7. Don’t Keep Sugary Foods At Your Home
For me this is the most important rule. I was a sugar addict and cookie monster in the past. When we had cookies or candy in the house, I ate them all. This simply stopped when I stopped buying these tempting comfort foods. We often buy cookies, candy, or ice cream for unexpected visitors or for the kids, but at the end it is always you who eats them….Am I right 😉 ?
8. Reach For Fruit
When you crave sugar have a piece of your favorite fruit instead of grabbing a candy bar. Fruits are packed with fibers and sweetness that will fill you up and curb your cravings.
9. Take A Walk
When your craving hits, get on your feet and take a walk (or run) around the block or building. This will also increase endorphins or feel-good hormones and may help to turn your cravings off.
10. Eat More Veggies
Instead of having bread, pasta or other refined carbs eat more veggies instead. Simple carbs like bread are easily converted into sugar compared to the complex carbs found in leafy greens and other vegetables. These complex carbs take longer to digest and keep your cravings at bay. Cut vegetables are the perfect snack in between meals, and can be taken to work in a small container or Ziploc bag. So no excuses there…
11. Drink More Water
Swap fizzy drinks and sugar-laden tea or coffee for water. If this is too boring for your try lemon water or infused water instead to make things more interesting. Water makes you feel full and helps to flush more toxins and sugar out of your body.
12. Sweeten Things Up With Cinnamon
Cinnamon reduces sugar cravings and keeps your blood sugar levels in check. Works well in hot beverages or plain unsweetened yogurt or coconut yogurt.
13. Coconut oil
Coconut oil’s medium chained fatty acids are directly send to your liver as an instant source of energy, just as sugar and simple carbs, but without causing sugar spikes. 1 to 2 tablespoons right after lunch will fill you up and you won’t be hungry for the coming 4 hours. I often scoop coconut oil in my morning smoothie to keep me full until lunch. Not too fond of the taste of pure coconut oil? Try and mix it with a little raw cacao powder to enhance the taste.
14. Raw Cacao
Just as cinnamon, raw cacao is an excellent way to sweeten things up without the need to add sugar. I love avocado chocolate mousse. Click here for the recipe.
Although I’m not a huge fan of supplements, as they are processed and all nutrients can be found in a balanced whole food diet, some people have shown some great results from taking L-glutamine supplements to get off sugar. L-glutamine is an amino acid (building block of proteins) known to ease sugar cravings. It can be used as an energy source for the brain, instead of glucose, and keeps blood sugar levels stable. It may take a month to get off the sugar with L-glutamine, but after that you will not need it any longer.
As a last piece of advice… don’t substitute refined sugar for other more “healthy sugar alternatives” like honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or molasses. They may be healthier than refined white sugar, but at the end they are also sugars. Use fresh stevia leaves or stevia extract instead.
Many people who were able to cut out sugars (or dramatically reduce them) from their diet lose weight more easily, have a clearer and vibrant skin, feel more energy and live a happier and healthier life.
You’ll see the first days are hard, especially if you are going cold turkey, but I know you can do it. You’ll see once you get past the first few days your body will stop craving sugar and things will get easier.
If you are serious about detoxifying from sugar without feeling hungry and living on a shot of lemon juice a day, click here