“And you have quite a sweet tooth, don’t you”, my hairdresser commented the other day as we chatted about the recipes on this website.
“Oh!”, I laughed. “I suppose I do. But nothing like I used to”.
Suddenly I had a blinding flashback of the ‘rock bottom’ of my sugar addiction.

I was about 23 years old and had begged my then-boyfriend to stop into a shop on the way home so I could buy a chocolate bar. Inside, I quickly grabbed three bars and made for the register.
“What?!”, he exclaimed as he attempted to grab them from my hands. “One, not three. Put them back.”
NO!“, I hissed as I clung to them for dear life. Seeing the look on my face (and no doubt wanting to avoid a scene), he let go. Filled with shame, I fought back tears as we made our way through the checkout. I felt completely out of control.
Sugar is a sizzling hot topic right now with the release of new documentaries The Men Who Made Us Fat and Fed Up, and I for one am tickled pink to see it gaining so much attention.

Sugar has been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It’s a leading factor in excessive weight gain, inflammation and unhealthy skin conditions.
And as for mood swings, podgy middle sections, bloating, and 3pm energy slumps?
Yup, our sweet little friend strikes again.

If your inner 3-year-old is throwing a tantrum and screaming ‘But it tastes sooooo goooood!’, you’re not alone, beautiful. Humans are genetically programmed to enjoy sweet foods and the white stuff is highly addictive. The key to controlling cravings is moderation and balance, and for that we’re gonna need a Game Plan…

10 Ways to Conquer Sugar Cravings

1. Reduce Caffeine

If you read my last post, you know I enjoy a cup every now and then too, but the ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings, which can cause sugar cravings to become more frequent. Just another reason to limit your cup of Joe to one (or less) per day.

2. Drink More Water

Soft drinks, soda, energy drinks and packaged fruit drinks are typically loaded with sugar. Plus sometimes sweet cravings are just a sign of dehydration. Before you reach for the sugar, drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens. You might find it passes right on by.

3. Eat Sweet Vegetables

Pumpkin, corn, beetroot, carrots and sweet potato are naturally sweet, healthy, and delicious. Packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, they’ll keep you satisfied for longer and will help curb your cravings for added sugar.

Experiment with herbs and spices too. Coriander, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and help reduce cravings.

4. Choose the Most Natural Form

Let’s get real. It’s unlikely that you’re going to avoid desserts forever. So if and when you do treat yourself, avoid chemical, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar. Instead experiment with natural sweeteners like dates, organic maple syrup and coconut sugar.

5. Ditch the Fat-Free / Low-Fat Labels

These foods compensate for the lack of flavour from fat with high quantities of sugar, which will send you on the roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Foods high in natural fat (like coconut, avocado, nuts and seeds) actually kill sugar cravings, while balancing hormones and feeding the brain and skin. Forget the marketing hype and get friendly with the good stuff.

6. Reduce Your Consumption

The less sugar you eat, the less you’ll crave. Eventually your tastebuds will change and desserts you used to enjoy will taste too sweet. Hurray! Focus on getting your sweet fix from whole fruit instead.

7. Move Your Body, Lady!

Even if it’s just simple activities like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boosts energy, clears the mind and reduces tension, which will eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar.

8. Catch Some zzzzz‘s

Get more sleep, rest and relaxation. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, are the most readily usable forms of energy for an exhausted body and mind. If you’re in a chronic state of stress and/or sleep deprivation, your body will crave the quickest form of energy there is – sugar. Ensuring you get enough rest will save you from this toxic, never-ending cycle.

9. Find Sweetness in Non-Food Ways

Cravings – especially for sweets – often have a psychological component. If you find yourself craving or eating too many sweet things, ask yourself if your cravings are the symptom of something deeper? Are you really craving more fun, adventure, affection, or freedom in your life?

Bust out your journal, take a deep breath, and really explore the topic. What feels out of balance for you right now, beautiful? What small steps could you take to address this? How could you better deal with emotions you might be trying to comfort with sweets?

When life becomes sweet enough itself, you don’t need additives. ♥

10. Tap it Out

Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as EFT or Tapping) can be a huge help in reducing sugar cravings. Check out this demo video from Gabby Bernstein.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Do you suffer from sugar cravings? What triggers them for you? How do you deal with them?
10 Ways to Conquer Sugar Cravings

6 Comments on 10 Ways to Conquer Your Sugar Cravings

  1. Patricia
    June 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm (7 years ago)

    As usual, you are right on the money, Bex. Oreo cookies were shown in a study using lab mice to be 8 times as addictive as cocaine. Never done drugs, but I sure have done Oreos.

    I know when I was a sugar binger I would go through such horrible withdrawal that I would have to get my sugar high on again. Detoxing was tough but now I just look at the doughnuts and other foods I used to gorge on and go, “Yech!” The same thing happened when I was in a bar the other night watching a World Cup soccer match. It was amazing to see what people were eating, and not in a good way. The best way to not crave sugar is to not eat it. If I do, the crying jags I have withdrawing have ruined it for me, thankfully. I check my sugar grams before I buy a packaged product to make sure they aren’t through the roof.

    • Vegan Sparkles
      June 23, 2014 at 10:10 am (7 years ago)

      I absolutely agree, Patricia. The less we eat, the less we crave. Those sugar withdrawals can be so distressing – I’m so happy to hear you’ve come through the other side happier and healthier without it.
      It’s such a great idea to check all packaged products too – some of the strangest items have insane amounts of added sugar in them, as I’m sure you’ve noticed! x

  2. An Unrefined Vegan
    June 19, 2014 at 10:21 pm (7 years ago)

    Sharing to spread the love :-).

    • Vegan Sparkles
      June 23, 2014 at 10:06 am (7 years ago)

      Thanks so much, beautiful Annie! 🙂 x

  3. Laura $
    August 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm (7 years ago)

    This is a very timely article for me. I have been in sugar craving denial for some years! I always felt that because I err on the side of savoury that sugar wasn’t a problem. Of course, I know that ‘low fat’ isn’t wise and that I was eating a lot of it in the form of corn chips, salsa, etc. After writing a food diary, however, I noticed that I DID eat a lot of chocolate and ‘the occasional biscuit’ was much more frequent than I cared to admit. I haven’t tried to completely come off of sugar in earnest, yet, but it is something I will be embarking on in the very near future. Thank you for your tips, I’ll give you my feedback when I start on it properly!

    • Vegan Sparkles
      August 10, 2014 at 6:06 pm (7 years ago)

      Yes, that sugar can be a sneaky little critter – hiding in so many packaged foods! Food diaries can be so helpful for figuring out exactly what we’re eating. I’m so happy to hear it’s given you clarity, Laura, and I would love to hear how your sugar-free journey unfolds! x