You've made the tough decision to go sugar free. Congrats! Making the commitment is sometimes the tallest hurdle, and you did it. So far, you've taken a look at your eating habits and examined what adjustments you need to make. All is well, until that first sugar craving hits. You rely on willpower and get past it, but what about the second craving? And the third? Will you be able to power through these sugar cravings as you adjust?
First things first—yes, you are strong enough to resist sugar cravings. But sometimes we need a little bit of help.
Here are some tips to quiet your sugar cravings until they turn into a whisper, and eventually you'll get to a point when you don't have cravings at all.
9 Ways to Resist Sugar Cravings that Have Nothing to Do with Willpower
- Berberine. Berberine has been shown to have potential anti-diabetic properties and may improve insulin sensitivity for some people, and when your insulin sensitivity is improved, you might notice you don't want the sweet stuff. Herbal sources of berberine include goldenseal and Oregon grape root.
- Avoid "naked" carbs. If you're eating simple carbohydrates, it's a good idea to pair them with protein, fat, or fiber every time. Eating carbs alongside other macronutrients could help slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream. "Naked" carbs, or carbs that are eaten by themselves, could spike your blood sugar and you may experience the highs and lows that lead to cravings throughout the day.
- Chromium. Chromium could help regulate blood sugar levels and might reduce cravings for sweets. This mineral is found in foods like ham, orange juice, and turkey breast.
- Plan ahead. If you know you have a busy day or will be in a situation where temptations are high (think travel days or donut deliveries to the office), bring healthy snacks with you. This way, if your craving hits, you have something healthier to reach for instead of succumbing to the sugary treats around you. Some suggestions: bake and freeze a bag of no sugar mini muffins to grab and go, or keep a pack of sugar-free chocolate-covered almonds close by.
- Hydrate. Are you craving sweets, or are you thirsty? Sometimes cravings can be thirst in disguise. Make sure you're drinking enough water throughout the day, and consider a sugar-free electrolyte supplement if you're planning a hard workout, a sauna session, or another activity that leads to sweating and water loss.
- Cinnamon. Adding cinnamon to your meals, beverages, and snacks might help wtih blood sugar levels and reduced cravings for some people in combination with other lifestyle habits.
- Eat protein-forward meals. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar levels and takes longer to digest than carbs, which could be what you need to feel fuller longer, reducing cravings.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep could be linked to increased cravings for sugary and high-fat foods. Prioritize getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
- Make sure it's not boredom. Between tedoius work tasks, sitting in traffic, or waiting for an appointment to begin, boredom happens. Sometimes when you're bored, your brain wants dopamine and floods your mind with images of sweet treats. The best way to combat this? Take a step back and unpack where your cravings are coming from. Try to identify feelings of boredom, or other feelings that your brain wants to mask with sweets.