How to Control Sugar Cravings: 14 Practical Tips
As a guy who falls prey to the temptations of a Krispy Kreme doughnut just as much as the next guy, I’m working on getting some control over my sugar cravings. While there’s no scientific evidence that having a sweet tooth is tantamount to addiction, I wanted to dig around to answer the question: “How can I control my sugar cravings?” I’ve arranged them from the more simple, straightforward tips to the more elaborate ones.
Eat regular meals, as this helps to level out your hunger by keeping blood glucose levels stable.
Ditch caffeine, because drinking caffeinated beverages creates a desire to overeat later.
Chew gum. I’m trying different kinds to figure out what works. Really strong, minty gum makes more of an impression keeping cravings at bay than fruit or bubblegum flavors.
Eat the largest apple you can find. It’s easy to gobble down a thousand calories by eating nuts, chips or crackers, but an apple will fill you up without adding very many additional calories.
Take a nap. My therapist John shared his strategy for beating back cravings: “You can always go to sleep, Sam.” Simple, but I’ve actually been doing it this week, and it’s just one less hour of the day you spend snacking. You could also go for a walk, or take a shower. The idea is that you change your environment.
Drink a quart of fresh water, or if water isn’t your thing, you can also heat up some organic vegetable or chicken broth from Trader Joe’s. You can drink an entire quart of vegetable broth which nets you only 20 calories! “The key is to get organic vegetable broth that does not contain excitotoxins,” says health blogger Mike Adams. “These are ingredients that cause neurological disorders because they overexcite and harm nerve cells. Those ingredients are MSG, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, and other similar ingredients.”
Eliminate or reduce refined carbohydrates from your diet. This means any food that ranks 35 or higher on the glycemic index. Or you can try the South Beach Diet, (a heart-healthier version of the Atkins Diet) which pretty much casts out all the sugary foods for you.
Give yourself a cheat meal once or twice a week when you can eat what you want. It may allay some cravings that you otherwise might have. But be careful if you notice your meal avalanching into an entire day, or weekend. That may be a signal that you need to forgo cheat meals until you can get your cravings under control.
Crystal Light. Aspartame-wary people, this one isn’t for you. The idea is to drink lots of sugary-flavored things that are actually sugar free. A glass of super-sweet Crystal Light after dinner, or in the place of dessert. But beware: artificial sweeteners can trigger sugar cravings in some people. And drink a lot of water. Thirst can sometimes masquerade as hunger.
Offensive maneuvers. If your spouse likes ice cream, buy a flavor that you hate, but that he might like. You’re less likely to eat it. This works with other food items, too.
Watch your language. The ways in which you talk about something reveal a lot about how you really feel about it. Rather than: “I can’t have candy” or “that’s bad for me” consider recasting your self-talk in a more positive light: “I’m choosing not to eat candy” or “candy is unhelpful.” Casting the behavior in a bad/good light is judging the behavior, which may cause you to rebel against your own bad self.
Watch your mouth. Trying a technique I call “Zen cheating.” You can eat whatever you want, but you have to sit in front of a mirror and actively watch yourself eating it.
Eat emergency banana pudding. You won’t find this pudding in a grocery store. Instead, whip up your own at home by following Mike’s recipe.
The amino acid l-glutamine and the substrate hoodia gordonii may help reduce cravings.