Now that Halloween is almost here and my bags of candy are already open and fading fast, I am frantically looking for a way to get my cravings back under control. I swear…why is it so dang hard to limit myself to 1 or even 2 Snickers rather than scarf down 5 or 6 at a time?!?!? (they don’t call them fun-size for nothing). I try every year to not open the bags until Halloween but I am just so-o-o we-e-a-k….. Admitting that I am a sugar addict doesn’t make me stop ingesting it by the handfuls either…. sigh….
If you are able to scale back gradually then I applaud you but I, unfortunately, can’t seem to control myself unless I go cold turkey. The withdrawal symptoms are not fun (just ask my husband about my crankiness) but I would rather get it over within 3-5 days than to drag it out for 3 weeks or so…(the going rate for a detox is 21 days)
Either way, here are some ideas to help you get going with your sugar withdrawal: Happy Halloween!!!
Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to hear what Dr. Oz has to say….
From Prevention Guide:
Centered on whole foods, this plan weans you off added sugars and satisfies with lean protein, whole grains, veggies, fruit, and lots & lots of flavor. Once the weight starts to come off and your sweet tooth is tamed, sugar is reintroduced in a balanced way.
Here how the 21 day plan works:
Phase 1: Days 1 – 3 The sugar detox countdown….gradually reduce the amount of sugar intake over the first 3 days.
Phase 2: Days 4 – 7 Ramp up by eliminating all sugar from diet.
Phase 3: Days 8 – 11 Fruitylicious…add fruit and 1 serving of whole grain bread into your diet
Phase 4: Days 12 – 16 Sugar, naturally….reintroduce natural sugars such as honey, dried fruit, & maple syrup
Phase 5: Days 17 – 21 The Sweet Life….Add sugars slowly back into your diet based on how you feel
The taste of sugar releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high,” says Susan Moores, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn.
Sweets just taste good, too. And that preference gets reinforced by rewarding ourselves with sweet treats, which can make you crave it even more. With all that going for it, why wouldn’t we crave sugar?
How to Stop Sugar Cravings: 8 Tips to Use Right Now
If you’re craving sugar, here are some ways to tame those cravings.
- Give in a little. Eat a bit of what you’re craving, maybe a small cookie or a fun-size candy bar, suggests Kerry Neville, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and ADA spokeswoman. Enjoying a little of what you love can help you steer clear of feeling denied. Try to stick to a 150-calorie threshold, Neville says.
- Combine foods. If the idea of stopping at a cookie or a baby candy bar seems impossible, you can still fill yourself up and satisfy a sugar craving, too. “I like combining the craving food with a healthful one,” Neville says. “I love chocolate, for example, so sometimes I’ll dip a banana in chocolate sauce and that gives me what I’m craving, or I mix some almonds with chocolate chips.” As a beneficial bonus, you’ll satisfy a craving and get healthy nutrients from those good-for-you foods.
- Go cold turkey. Cutting out all simple sugars works for some people, although “the initial 48 to 72 hours are tough,” Gerbstadt says. Some people find that going cold turkey helps their cravings diminish after a few days; others find they may still crave sugar but over time are able to train their taste buds to be satisfied with less.
- Grab some gum. If you want to avoid giving in to a sugar craving completely, try chewing a stick of gum, says nutrition advisor Dave Grotto, RD, LDN. “Research has shown that chewing gum can reduce food cravings,” Grotto says.
- Reach for fruit. Keep fruit handy for when sugar cravings hit. You’ll get fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. And stock up on foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, says certified addictionspecialist Judy Chambers, LCSW, CAS. “Have them handy so you reach for them instead of reaching for the old [sugary] something.”
- Get up and go. When a sugar craving hits, walk away. “Take a walk around the block or [do] something to change the scenery,” to take your mind off the food you’re craving, Neville suggests.
- Choose quality over quantity. “If you need a sugar splurge, pick a wonderful, decadent sugary food,” Moores says. But keep it small. For example, choose a perfect dark chocolate truffle instead of a king-sized candy bar, then “savor every bite — slowly,” Moores says. Grotto agrees. “Don’t swear off favorites — you’ll only come back for greater portions. Learn to incorporate small amounts in the diet but concentrate on filling your stomach with less sugary and [healthier] options.”
- Eat regularly. Waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, fatty foods that cut your hunger, Moores says. Instead, eating every three to five hours can help keep blood sugar stable and help you “avoid irrational eating behavior,” Grotto says. Your best bets? “Choose protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains and produce,” Moores says.
But won’t eating more often mean overeating? Not if you follow Neville’s advice to break up your meals. For instance, have part of your breakfast — a slice of toast with peanut butter, perhaps — and save some yogurt for a mid-morning snack. “Break up lunch the same way to help avoid a mid-afternoon slump,” Neville says.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings: 5 Tips for the Long Term
One of the best ways to manage sugar cravings is to stop them before they start. To help you do that:
- Skip artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners may sound like a great idea, but “they don’t lessen cravings for sugar and haven’t demonstrated a positive effect on our obesity epidemic,” says Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
- Reward yourself for successfully managing sugar cravings. Your reward could be large or small. Remember why you’re working on it and then reward yourself for each successful step.
- Slow down. For one week, focus on your sugar cravings and think about what you’re eating, suggests Chambers. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. So slow down, plan, “and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when you’re desperate,” Chambers says.
- Get support. Many people turn to sweet foods when they’re stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn’t solve emotional issues. Consider whether emotions are involved in your sugar cravings and whether you need help to find other solutions to those emotional problems.
- Mix it up. You may need more than one strategy to thwart sugar cravings. One week you may find success with one tactic, and another week calls for an alternative approach. What’s important is to “have a ‘bag of tricks’ to try,” Gerbstadt tells WebMD. To tame sugar cravings, you really need to “figure out what works for you,” Neville says.
Lastly, go easy on yourself. It may take time to get a handle on your sugar cravings. “It’s difficult to shift any system — whether it’s the world economy or your eating,” Chambers says.
From the Bulletproof Staff:
Aim for progress, not perfection
Here’s a free roadmap to the Bulletproof Diet. The more foods you eat in the green zone, the better you’ll feel. The more foods you eat in the red zone, the worse you’ll feel. Foods in yellow may be great for some people and terrible for others, depending on factors like genetics and gut sensitivity. Test them out to see what works for you and what doesn’t. Occasional treats also get classed in the yellow zone.
Some days you may be perfectly in the green. Other days you may eat a couple things from the red zone. That’s fine. Change exists on a spectrum. As long as you’re on a general upward trend, you’re doing well.
And as far as guilt, keep in mind that sugar is like a drug – it lights up the reward and craving centers in your brain , and you fall into withdrawal when you start to cut it from your diet . You’re not a weak person if you slip up now and then. You’re rewiring your brain to be stronger. It’s a process. Be patient with yourself.
Stop sugar cravings with high fat meals
Carbs in general (not just sugar) cause a glucose spike and crash that leaves you with cravings a short while later. High-quality fat, on the other hand, will give you steady energy and keep you full for hours, which makes it much easier to avoid sugar. Your body will adapt to a high-fat, low-carb, anti-inflammatory diet over a couple weeks, at which point your carb cravings will virtually disappear. You’ll probably find your pants are a little looser and you feel better than ever, too. Not sure what to cook? Here’s a complete meal plan with a week of recipes.
Eat especially decadent, flavorful foods when you’re first getting off sugar. Reach for your top-shelf favorites. It may cost you a bit more, but meals that get you excited will curb your cravings better, especially when you’re starting out.
Hit with a craving? Throw a grass-fed ribeye on the grill, drown it in butter, and roast up some Brussels sprouts on the side. Hungry a few hours later? Sear a nice piece of sockeye salmon with a lemon-dill butter sauce, and pair it bacon-cauliflower mash.
Clean out your kitchen (and fill it back up with quality snacks)
Toss anything sugary or carb-heavy. When you don’t have anything in the house, you’re far less likely to drive to the supermarket to satisfy a craving. Then replace those low-quality snacks with better ones. There are plenty of high-fat, low-carb goodies at Whole Foods and similar stores. Keep a few favorites in your cabinet for when the odd craving hits hard enough that you don’t want to cook. Some ideas:
- Dark chocolate (85% or darker), or lighter chocolate sweetened with a quality sweetener
- Grass-fed hot dogs. Applegate Farms makes good ones you can find almost anywhere.
- Pastured salami or pepperoni
- Guacamole (use the pepperoni to scoop it, if you’re feeling bold)
- A stevia- or xylitol-sweetened alternative to soda, like FATwater. Zevia is tasty too, and you can find it in most Whole Foods.
- Grass-fed beef jerky or bars. EPIC makes excellent ones.
- Nuts, preferably raw. Roasting nuts oxidizes the fats, which makes them more inflammatory.
- Leftover Bulletproof cupcakes
Keep your pantry well-stocked to set yourself up for success. A mostly Bulletproof indulgence is worlds better than a pint of ice cream.
Remove other stressors from your life
If you’re working long days and pushing yourself in the gym, all on a few hours of sleep a night, you’re going to have a hell of a time kicking sugar. Whenever you’re making a major lifestyle change, ramp down all the other stressors in your life and add in things like yoga, meditation, sleep hacks, forest bathing, and other stress relievers. Take it as easy as possible on yourself until your cravings disappear.
Curb sugar cravings with supplements
Supplements on their own probably won’t end your cravings, but they can help a bit by taking the edge off. No affiliate links here (except the Bulletproof products, of course); these are just reputable brands.
- Chromium stabilizes blood sugar and curbs carbohydrate cravings, according to a 2006 study . Take 200 mg before meals.
- L-glutamine doesn’t have clinical trials showing that it decreases sugar cravings, but many people say it helps. That would make sense, because glutamine regulates gluconeogensis (the conversion of proteins to sugar when you aren’t getting many carbs) in your kidneys and small intestine. In theory, that would prevent dips in blood sugar, and therefore cravings. Take 500-1000 mg before meals.
- Unfair Advantage makes your existing mitochondria more efficient and supports the growth of new ones. Your mitochondria are the power plants of your cells; when they work better, you have more willpower and energy. That can go a long way for curbing cravings. Take 1-2 ampoules in the morning.
- Brain Octane Oil suppresses appetite and cravings by curbing your hunger hormones.
Dr. Oz reveals easy ways to kick your sugar habit.
Chromium plays an important role in insulin’s regulation of blood glucose, and plays a role in energy production. Chromium prevents the spikes and dips of blood sugar. Take 200 mcg once a day at the start of any meal to prevent the sugar surges that often leave you reaching for more sugar later.
Add Fruit to Your Meals
By adding naturally sweet stuff to your meals, like healthy whole and dried fruit, you can trick your taste buds into thinking they’re getting sweets – shutting down cravings before you reach for dessert. Try adding a spoonful of natural cranberry jam to your turkey sandwiches at lunchtime. Or cut up mango and add it to grilled chicken. You can even throw a handful of raisins into your rice. Use your imagination!
Dr. Oz’s Half-and-Half Rule
If most of your sugar comes from drinks like soda and juice, dilute it with a half a cup of seltzer. This will immediately reduce your sugar intake by half! Continue to reduce the amount of the sugary drinks you consume as you go and, soon, you won’t even miss them.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Combo
This tasty duo will satisfy even the most voracious sweet tooth. Melt a bar of dark chocolate and mix it into a jar of organic peanut butter. Leave it in the fridge so that it cools and the flavors blend. When a sugar craving strikes, have a spoon. One spoonful has 4.5 grams of sugar. Compare this to your average brownie with a whopping 30 grams of sugar, and you’re well on your way to shaking your sugar habit in healthy ways you never thought possible!
(watch the dr oz video) Very enlightening!!!