How to Get Rid of Sugar Cravings

Dr. Janet Zand

April 19, 2024

It’s no secret that sugar is terrible for your skin.

It accelerates the aging process, causing wrinkles, sagging, and a dull complexion.

But cutting back on sugar is really hard. In fact, researchers have found that sugar stimulates your brain’s “reward” center in a way that’s similar to recreational drugs!

Meanwhile, most articles about sugar are giving you the same unhelpful advice, like “track your sugar intake” or “eat a carrot instead of a cookie.”

If it were that easy, everyone would already be doing it!

But here’s good news: you can actually make your sugar cravings disappear, so that you don’t feel deprived or have to rely on willpower.

Here’s how to do it...

#1 Stop sugar cravings in 60 seconds

You know that feeling when you’re rummaging through the fridge, looking for a sugar fix? You want something sweet, even though you swore you’d cut back on sugar.

Well, try gymnema sylvestre. Gymnema is an herb that’s found in the tropical forests of India, Africa, and Australia. In Hindi it’s called gurmar, which means "sugar destroyer."

Researchers found that people who took gymnema had less desire for sweet foods compared to those not taking it. That’s because the herb contains gymnemic acid, which temporarily blocks the sugar receptors on your taste buds. It takes about a minute to work and lasts a couple of hours.

You can find gymnema online or at a health food store, and it’s available as a capsule, powder, or liquid extract.

#2 Stop a long-term sugar habit

Sometimes, eating too much sugar one day turns into days, weeks, or even months of too much sugar.

And it’s really hard to stop cold turkey, given how addictive sugar is. So how do you get back on track?

Try the mineral chromium.

The best form to take is chromium picolinate. When researchers gave chromium picolinate to a group of overweight women, the women had significantly fewer cravings ... and they even lost weight!

If you want to give it a try, start with 200 mcg twice per day. Do this for 2-3 weeks, and you should notice your cravings subside. 

Just make sure you consult with your doctor first. Certain drugs, like beta-blockers and anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), may interact with chromium.

#3 The hydration factor

I know you’ve heard this before, but I’m going to repeat it anyway. You really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day so you can stay hydrated. 

Not only is it important for the overall health of your skin, but it’s essential for beating sugar cravings. Why? Because when you don’t have enough fluids, your body can’t properly metabolize glycogen (a form of stored sugar) for energy. And without enough glycogen, your body will crave sugar for an energy boost.

If you’re having trouble drinking the recommended 64 ounces per day, here are some strategies to try:

1. Fill a 64-ounce container with water each morning, then make it your goal to finish it by the end of the day.

2. Set reminders on your phone to drink 8 ounces of water every hour.

3. If you’re bored with plain water, try infusing your water with citrus or cucumbers.

If you don’t drink enough water, your skin will suffer ... and so will the rest of your body.

#4 Prioritize protein

You probably know that proteins are the building blocks of your skin. But here’s another reason to make sure you’re getting enough protein: it keeps you feeling full.

And feeling full reduces cravings for a candy bar or other sugar fixes in between meals.

So make sure you eat some protein at each meal. Healthy sources of protein include fatty fish, lean meats, eggs, beans, legumes, and nuts.

You can also keep little snacks in your bag, like a small bag of nuts, pumpkin seeds, or a low-sugar protein bar.  

#5 Don’t fight it; plan for it

A lot of people crave sweets in the afternoon. Others crave something sweet after dinner. So if you notice that you crave sweets during a certain time of day, don’t fight it. Accept it, and then plan ahead for it. Here’s how...

If you usually crave chocolate, make sure you have some dark chocolate on hand. Or make chocolate milk with cocoa powder and all-natural, sugar-free monkfruit sweetener.

If you usually crave a cold, carbonated drink, try a stevia-sweetened version, like Zevia.

If you usually crave cookies, try a protein cookie, like the Quest Protein Cookie or Catalina Crunch Keto Sandwich Cookies.

This way, you can enjoy something sweet without feeling totally deprived. And since you’re not actually eating sugar and feeding the addiction, you’ll also notice your cravings lessen over time.

As you can see, there are many ways to reduce sugar without relying on willpower or feeling deprived. So try these tips, and let me know how it goes!

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