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Home Learn 25 Health Experts Reveal Reasons You Crave Sugar (And How To Stop Sugar Cravings)


25 Health Experts Reveal Reasons You Crave Sugar (And How To Stop Sugar Cravings)

Unlike other unhealthy habits that people try to avoid, eating sugar is very common in the diets of both adults and children, and many of them aren't aware of the side effects they face.

For this article, we wanted to do something different. We reached out to 25 experts in nutrition and healthy eating and asked them to express their opinions to the following questions:

  1. What are your best tips to quit sugar and curb sugar cravings?
  2. Which vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause sugar cravings?
  3. Which vitamins and minerals would help curb down sugar or help quit sugar?

Even when you aren't hungry, you may feel the urge to reach for something sweet. Eating a lot of refined sugar can impact your health in negative ways, including weight gain, increased blood sugar levels, and increased risk of diabetes.  

If you regularly deal with sugar cravings, eliminating sugar from your diet may not be easy. Thankfully, there are some easy things you can do about it. 

Keep reading to learn the actual reasons why you might crave sugar and how you can actully fix it.

Summer Yule

Summer Yule

  1. My top tip is to make sure you are eating enough at meals. When we under-eat, or eat meals that don't contain sufficient protein, fiber, and fluid volume, we may be more likely to reach for snacks between meals. The aim should be to get more of your daily calories from nutritious meals so that you are grazing less on sugary snacks between meals. 

If there is a certain time of day that you tend to reach for snacks, pay attention to what you had at your last meal. Was the meal too small? Was it low in protein? Try to figure out what you need to do to configure your meals to feel more satiating.

If you don't want to eliminate sugar entirely, another thing to try is to switch to reduced sugar or low sugar versions of your favorite foods. This may help your taste buds become acclimated to foods that don't contain excessive sugar.

  1. Sugar cravings are often tricky, as they don't typically lead you to the foods that are the best choices for a particular nutrient. 

For example, chocolate cravings are often blamed on magnesium deficiency. However, pumpkin seeds or chia seeds are much richer sources of magnesium than chocolate.

  1. Eating a balanced diet of mostly whole foods with sufficient calories and that meets your needs for the essential nutrients should help you feel satisfied with what you are eating. Hopefully, that will help you to crave sugar less.

Paula Sturm - Radically Nourished

Paula Sturm

  1. My biggest tip is to tell yourself you are allowed to have sugar, you just CHOOSE to have it or  not. Put the power into your hands and take away the “should” or “shouldn’t” which can just  propel you to want sugar more. 

Have you noticed the minute you tell yourself you “can’t” have something is the moment you really want it? 

Moving away from restriction into allowance can be super powerful because now you get to make a decision at the moment and choose to do the best thing for your body in that situation, it’s more self-care at this point rather than punishment. Coming from a state of punishment never works anyway. 

Also, give yourself permission to have a little sugar here and there. When you know you are allowed to have it in the near future it’s much easier to say no at the frequent temptations. Creating that balance between diligence and allowance is a healthy, sustainable way to live a healthy lifestyle.  

  1. I don’t believe sugar cravings are related to specific vitamin or mineral deficiencies specifically.  However, not getting a balanced diet overall could! 

What can set us up for sugar cravings is an imbalance in our blood sugar, where we swing up and down frequently throughout the day. 

Keep our blood sugar as stable as possible throughout the day is really the key! If you start your morning off with coffee and a scone, for instance, you’ll create a big blood sugar spike shortly afterward which will be followed by a big blood sugar dip, which leads you to seek more sugar and once this cycle starts, it’s hard to stop. 

Your best bet is to get a balance of protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and something colorful (veggie or fruit) at every meal. 

Protein, fats, fiber,  and color will keep your blood sugar stable and lead to fewer cravings because your blood sugar remains stable and you are more likely to meet your vitamin and mineral requirements to prevent sugar cravings.  

  1. If we aren’t meeting our nutrient needs in our diet by getting a proper amount of colorful produce, proteins, fiber, and healthy fats we may run the risk of being deficient in certain nutrients which could increase our sugar cravings. 

For instance, if our diet is lacking in B vitamins or the mineral chromium we may have a harder time managing our blood sugar balance and therefore we may crave more sugar. 

A deficiency of Omega 3 fatty acids may also increase our sugar cravings, so make sure you are getting enough fish, seafood, walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds in your diet.

On occasion, you may need to supplement with these nutrients depending on your individual biochemistry so seek out recommendations from your healthcare provider or dietitian. 

Yelena Deshko - Timeless Health Clinic

Yelena Deshko

  1. High sugar consumption has been linked to many negative health outcomes including obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease. 

However, removing sugar from your diet can prove quite challenging, especially if you experience frequent sugar cravings. Sugar cravings often manifest when the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream starts to drop beyond a certain threshold. 

This signals to the body that you need to replenish levels ASAP, which creates cravings for sugar-rich foods for immediate glucose hit. To help curb the cravings, it is important to prevent blood glucose levels from becoming too low in the first place. 

To do this, it is important to consume foods that are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Protein, fat, and fiber all slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed and metabolised, ensuring that blood glucose levels remain stable for long periods of time. 

At each meal, try to make at least a quarter of your plate protein such as chicken, fish, or tofu, and half of the plate non-starchy vegetables.

Then add a healthy fat source such as 1/2 an avocado, some olive oil, or nuts, and you have a balanced meal to help stabilise blood sugar levels for hours to come.

  1. A number of mineral deficiencies are linked to sugar cravings including magnesium, chromium and zinc. 

All these minerals are involved in glucose metabolism and a deficiency can often manifest as unstable blood sugar levels resulting is cravings.

  1. Supplementing the minerals that are crucial for glucose metabolism can be helpful when making an effort to kick the sugar habit. A number of scientific studies examined the effects of these minerals on blood sugar levels and glucose control. 

A 2008 study showed that supplementing with chromium helped obese women reduce food intake, hunger levels, fat cravings, and body weight (1) 

If you find yourself frequently craving chocolate, this may be an indicator that your magnesium levels may need replenishing. 

New evidence shows that almost two-thirds of the population in the western world don’t achieve the recommended daily allowance for magnesium, a deficiency issue contributing to different health conditions. 

Several studies examined the effect of magnesium on blood sugar levels and concluded that magnesium supplementation had beneficial effects on glucose control in both diabetic and non-diabetic people.

Zinc is another critical mineral shown to help stabilize blood glucose levels in both diabetic and non-diabetic people. 

Feel Multivitamin includes 12.5mg of Zinc, known for its potential to tackle sugar cravings.

Carlotta Petti - My DNA

Carlotta Petti

  1. It is well established that the preference for sweet taste is in part due to genetics. There are some genetic variations that may predispose individuals to higher sugar consumption due to their lower ability to perceive sweet taste.

There are also gene variations that simply predispose people to a higher preference for sweet foods, due to a dysregulation of their appetite control.  

So, the best advice is firstly to take a DNA test to see whether you may have these variations. 

According to the evidence, when people become aware of their genetic predisposition, they are more likely to take further action, change their behaviour and improve their lifestyle. 

Once you know whether sugar cravings are written in your DNA, these are some of the things you can do to keep yourself from eating too many sugary foods:  

  • Eat enough protein at each meal: protein can keep you feel fuller for longer and limit the urge to snack. 
  • Ensure a balanced energy intake: skipping meals or not eating enough nutritious meals throughout the day puts you at higher risk of reaching for sugary snacks to get a quick energy boost. 

Beware that after the high, your energy will drop even lower than before. Try instead to keep your energy levels (and sugar levels) stable throughout the day by ensuring a balanced nutrition. 

  • Choose the sugar in fruit, not sweets: fruit contains natural sugars which are coupled with fibre and other important nutrients. Often people with prominent sweet taste tend to also like the sweeter fruits and vegetables. 

So, when you are tempted to reach for the biscuits or ice cream, pick a fruit instead. Slowly that will become a new habit that will help you steer away from sugar cravings. 

  • Fibre and protein snacks: fibre, as well as protein, can help curb appetite and of course has many other great health benefits. 

Choose a snack that is high in fibre and protein to combat your urge to get sugar will make you feel satisfied and stop that craving. 

  1. The evidence around micronutrient deficiencies causing sugar cravings is not well established.  

Considerable data though show that individuals who eat too many foods rich in sugars (and fats) often lack dietary fibres, vitamins, and minerals, which are contained in wholesome,  natural foods. 

So, your own eating pattern may self-fuel your sugar cravings. And there are also other factors that can cause you to crave sugar: 

Forcing yourself to avoid certain foods and viewing them as “forbidden” can actually result in the opposite effect of intensifying cravings for them. There is no “evil food”, everything in moderation is the key. 

Stress and the desire to get comfort from food play a big role in craving sugar. The key is to work on your stress and manage it with mindfulness.  

Poor sleep can impact your hormone regulation and increase cravings. 

  1. Having a balanced, wholesome, and nutritious diet, as well as managing stress and sleep hygiene can go a long way. 

Not only a balanced nutrition will ensure your vitamin and mineral levels are in check, but it will also provide you with the energy you need in your day. 

This coupled with improved sleep quality will give you the ability to manage your stress appropriately and overall you will be much less inclined to reach for the biscuits to fill the gap.  

Instead, most of the time you will naturally start choosing the healthier snacks that curb the cravings.

Donna Rose - NonasNutritionNotes.com

Donna Rose

  1. Do you crave sugar, or sometimes just "need something sweet"? Food producers do their best to market foods, such as sugary sodas, as something you must have, or will make your day better! 

Sugar cravings are common and can be just a bad habit. But what about an underlying deficiency? Is there a clinical reason we love sugar?

  1. Some people believe sugar cravings are the result of a nutrient deficiency. Magnesium is often to blame but there is little evidence to support this. Others argue if this is the case, why not crave other magnesium-rich foods such as nuts and beans.

Some suggest sugar cravings are the result of not enough protein in your diet. Since protein foods digest more slowly, you do feel full longer and blood sugar levels do not rise as quickly. 

Evidence supports eating frequent higher-protein foods results in improved appetite control and therefore may delay a desire for sweets.

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that appears to play a role in mood, emotions, and appetite. 

Sugar triggers an increase in serotonin which is often decreased in illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Research suggests low serotonin levels may result in a desire for sugar.

Here are some tips the next time you crave sugar:

  • Drink water; dehydration is a stress on the body and brain and may be a factor in depression
  • Exercise; it not only diverts your attention, but it has also been shown to increase serotonin
  • Practice mindful eating; make yourself pay attention to what you consume and avoid distracted eating and snacking without thinking about it
  • Say "ok" to a small bit of sugar; remember it's not all or none.
  • Chew gum; if you just need a bit of sweetness and are comforted by having something to “chew on”

While there is little conclusive evidence that vitamin or mineral deficiencies cause sugar cravings, supplements may not be helpful. However, a multiple vitamin that contains zinc and magnesium and a diet with protein-rich foods may be helpful.

Amy Roskelley - Health Beet

Amy Roskelley

  1. If your goal is to quit sugar or cut back on cravings, finding sugar substitutes can bridge the discomfort of going without your favourite foods.  

Baking with sugar substitutes like swerve, stevia, xylitol or other zero calorie sugars have come a long way in the past decade. They taste so much better today than they ever did before. 

Most can be switched 1:1, without changing the texture or flavour of your food. I recommend trying different brands until you find the one that tastes the best to you.  

Beyond baking, zero calorie sauces, syrups, dressings, and condiments can enhance the flavour of foods like pancakes, salads, oatmeal, or even potatoes!

  1. In my experience, not eating enough calories contributes more to cravings than any specific vitamin or mineral. Eat sufficient protein, carbs, and fats, and you'll see your cravings reduce dramatically. 
  2. Taking a good multi-vitamin will be your best defense against cravings. Getting sufficient calories from a variety of sources should take care of any deficiencies you might be experiencing. 

Elizabeth Girouard - Pure Simple Wellness

Elizabeth Girouard

  1. Research has proven that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine – so don’t beat yourself up. As an Emotional Eating Coach, I’ve seen clients struggle with both physical and emotional sugar cravings. 

The most efficient way to end your sugar addiction is to quit 100% - go cold turkey. Remove all the added sugars from your diet for a minimum of 3-5 days. Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms like headaches, flu-like symptoms, energy slumps and moodiness. 

To relieve these symptoms, hydrate your body with lots of water to flush the toxins from refined sugars out of your system, take an Epsom salts bath and get lots of sleep.  

If that seems too drastic, take baby steps to avoid withdrawal symptoms. For example, start by reducing from 2 sugars to 1.5 sugars in your coffee until you are down to zero. Use spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to increase the sweetness of your foods without any added sugar.  

Another trick is to relieve your sugar cravings with real foods, like cherries or pineapple, rather than a candy bar.

It takes some time to retrain your palate, but once you are used to eating real sweet foods, rather than processed sweet foods, your taste buds will adjust and no more refined sugar cravings.

To curb your sugar cravings for the day, start your day with a healthy breakfast like a vegetable omelet. The combination of protein, healthy fat and fiber will keep you satiated.

If you start your day with a bowl of sugary cereal or a bagel, your blood sugar will spike, causing you to crave more sugar throughout the day.

  1. Sugar cravings, in particular cravings for chocolate, can be caused by a magnesium deficiency.
  2. Add more magnesium rich foods to your diet like raw cacao, nuts, seeds, beans and fatty fish to combat sugar cravings.  

Alexandra Tran – Schimiggy

Alexandra Tran

  1. I find alternatives. I use monk sugar in my recipes and beverages.
  2. Food nutrients can cause cravings. If you're deficient in these vitamins: magnesium, chromium, and tryptophan in your diet, you may experience sugar cravings because these help to regulate the storage and use of carbohydrates.
  3. Co Q10 enzyme is a key element of mitochondria (part of our body’s cell’s that produce our energy). 

This supplement balances the use and storage of energy and helps utilize carbohydrates for increased, sustained energy levels and preventing blood sugar crashes that may lead to sugar cravings.

Pam Sherman - The Perfect Balance

Pam Sherman

Go cold turkey! This from many of my clients is the best way to go. The first 3-4 days is uncomfortable as your brain is telling you to get some sugar. But this is a habit and once you follow through and not eat it, it's great. I know many that feel freedom once they overcome this craving/addiction

Every time you want sugar, eat an apple! The sugar from fruit(while not chocolate) can still be satisfying. An apple takes much longer to eat than a sugary treat and is far more satisfying as the fiber can help keep you full. Think about eating multiple cookies- easy right? Now think of eating 3 apples? You just get full.

Eat more healthy fat like avocado. You may be craving sugar because your brain is looking for some healthy fat! Include some with each meal.

Get more sleep!!!!! When our brains are tired they CRAVE sugar. Rest when you can during the day if you get tired and make sure you are getting adequate sleep(6-8 hours) at night. This can make a tremendous change in our cravings.

Adam Kemp Fitness

Adam Kemp

  1. Sugar cravings are strongly correlated with blood sugar levels, so to control sugar cravings, your goal should be to control your blood sugar from the start of the day until the end. 

Sugar consumption puts your body on a “blood sugar rollercoaster” as consuming sugar rapidly raises, and then rapidly drops, blood sugar levels.

  1. A great way to control sugar cravings is by eating low glycemic index foods from the start of the day until the end. Generally, foods that are higher in fat, protein, and fiber are better for controlling sugar cravings. 

There are multiple vitamins and minerals which play a role in controlling sugar cravings, such as magnesium and potassium, but a more simple goal is to prioritize consuming whole, plant foods that contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and protein.

  1. For those who are consuming an overall healthy diet, magnesium is a useful supplementation option to look at because it is correlated with improved insulin-sensitivity, which can reduce sugar cravings.

Jinan Banna

Jinan Banna

  1. Identify sweet treats you enjoy that contain little to no added sugar. For example, you can see if you enjoy plain yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts, and/or seeds. This may satisfy your sweet tooth and provides calcium, protein, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants (from the fresh fruit).

Work toward cutting out sugary drinks. Drinks such as soda are very high in sugar. Diets high in sugar have been shown to have the potential to decrease the microbial diversity in the gut after just 1 week's time.

Loss of microbial diversity in the gut microbiota has been shown to be associated with most of the human diseases affecting westernized countries. 

There are many alternatives, such as drinks made with a little apple cider vinegar, as well as sparkling water and naturally sweet cinnamon tea. 

Think twice about what you add to your coffee. Some of the creamers on the market contain quite a bit of added sugar, and you might find that you are just as satisfied with some creamers that contain little to no added sugar. 

Experiment with different types of plant-based milk and full-fat organic creamer to see if you might enjoy your coffee in a different way. 

  1. Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in blood sugar regulation, so a deficiency may trigger sugar cravings.
  2. Sufficient magnesium is important to control cravings and help one to cut down on sugar.

Hope Zvara - Mother Trucker Yoga

Hope Zvara - Mother Trucker Yoga

  1. The first thing to do is recognize that added sugar is in just about everything. It’s in your bread; it’s in your salad dressing; it’s in your yogurt. 

Try to focus on and reduce the foods that have added sugars in them and stick to whole foods with naturally occurring sugar like berries, apples, and peaches these foods pack a fair amount of fiber to help offset the natural sugar they contain.

And as a result, help you balance your blood sugar more steadily giving you fewer cravings.

  1. Our body is always telling us what it needs. When you crave something, think of it as your body is begging for what can fill that void. And when we crave sugar, more sugar will not fill that void. Zinc is a trace mineral our body needs, and when we are lacking, we can crave sugar! 

We need zinc for our metabolic processes and speed up recovery, and help fight colds. Magnesium is another mineral that our body often asks for in the form of sugar. 

Magnesium helps our muscles, our metabolic processes and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Those swinging sugar cravings could be a cry for magnesium. 

After years of struggling with an eating disorder, I felt firsthand the repercussions of lacking proper nutrition and its toll on the body. It was no wonder I loved sugar so much; my body was crying out for so much more.

  1. Before you focus on vitamins and minerals, let's address the possible dehydration that might be affecting you. Our body can't function when it's dehydrated. And roughly 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. Your body is water-based. And water helps the systems in our body move essential nutrition where it needs to go. 

Dehydration makes us crave all sorts of things that we don't want or need. Before you reach for a bite to eat or a bottle of vitamins or minerals, consider grabbing a glass of water first and then see how you feel afterward. That water will help your body fully utilize that added nutrition as well.

I like to encourage others to focus on drinking more water first. 10-20 ounces right away in the morning and shoot for 64 ounces throughout the day. If you want to up your water game from there, use the formula: .6x your body weight in ounces to maximize your hydration efforts. 

Dr. Lisa Young

Dr Lisa Young

  1. My best tip would be to be sure to eat a balance of healthy fiber-rich carbs, protein, and good fat at each meal. Fiber, protein, and healthy fats aid in satiety and help stabilize blood sugar. This is very important to curb cravings. 

When craving sugar, opt for sweeter fruits like pineapple, cherries, or grapes. Frozen grapes taste great! So do frozen blueberries. 

  1. A lack of the minerals magnesium or chromium may cause sugar cravings. Magnesium may also help to curb sugar cravings. Food sources include nuts and seeds, beans, broccoli, and dark leafy greens. Getting ample protein which helps to stabilize blood sugar is important. Examples include chicken, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, soy, beans, and nuts.
  2. While there's no quick fix to junk food and sugar cravings, there are simple ways to combat these types of unhealthy eating habits.

Often sugar cravings come from a spike and ensuing drop in blood sugar, known as a "blood sugar crash." When experiencing a crash, our bodies naturally want to get our blood sugar levels back up by craving sugar and refined carbohydrates. 

The best way to avoid this type of scenario is to plan ahead and eat meals that stabilize your blood sugar levels. A diet balanced in protein, fiber, healthy fats and greens keeps your blood sugar stabilized and makes it much easier to avoid cravings.

Another important aspect to consider is that sugar is very addicting and the more you consume, the more you will want in the future. 

It's very easy to unknowingly develop a habit where you reach for sweets in the afternoon, late at night or after meals. Breaking the cycle of sugar can be tough at first but it becomes easier as time goes on. 

My personal strategy to avoid excess sugar in my diet is to drink a cup of unsweetened herbal tea or a glass of water with fresh lemon juice whenever I feel a sugar craving. 

Often we just have an oral fixation we need to satisfy and a healthy beverage will suffice until the sugar craving subsides.

Finally, make sure you're eating a healthy diet filled with whole foods and drinking lots of water.

Amanda Webster

Amanda Webster

  1. Make sure that you are managing your stress by avoiding unnecessary stressful situations and people when possible and strengthening your stress management skills through mindfulness, exercise, and balanced nutrition.

Also, look for natural sweeteners, such as monk fruit, on labels, or for baking. Consuming sugar (and not only 'sugar' but any of its counterparts that end in 'ose' or 'ides') only continues the vicious cycle of wanting more.

Artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda or Sweet 'N Low, cause changes in the brain by reducing dopamine which actually intensifies the craving for the real deal. 

  1. There are ten prominent nutrients, most notably Omega-3, B6, and B12, that affect your ability to manage stress, causing symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as sugar cravings for the boosts of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. 

Magnesium regulates glucose and insulin levels, as well as dopamine. A deficiency will cause intense sugar cravings, especially for chocolate. 

A good rule of thumb to avoid deficiencies is to "eat the rainbow" every day. In other words, make sure you are getting a variety of grains, pulses, fruits, and vegetables.

  1. L-glutamine is an amino acid that balances blood sugar, which helps reduce and often completely stop cravings. You can supplement with it daily or even just take some when a sugar craving hits. 

Allison Jackson Fitness

Allison Jackson Fitness

  1. Go for fresh, healthy fruits like grapes or watermelon when you’re craving sugar.  

Don’t hide your fruit in the refrigerator drawer. Make it easily accessible by storing it on the middle of top-shelf.

Try chewing a piece of gum which can reduce cravings. 

Keep your stress levels in check since when your cortisol rises, so does the urge to grab a sugary snack.  Get up and move to reset the mind and body.

You can’t eat what you don’t have. The easiest way to eliminate the need for sweets is to not bring them into the house. 

  1. Zinc helps the body to metabolize glucose and insulin and a deficiency can cause the body to crave sugar. Common foods with Zinc are almonds, chickpeas, yogurt, oatmeal, lobster, and beef. 

Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels and is partly responsible for the levels of glucose in our body. Common foods with magnesium include salmon, halibut, brown and white rice, spinach, almonds, cashews, walnuts, kidney beans, lima beans, edamame, chicken breast, and beef. 

Chromium helps regulate blood sugar regulation and insufficient levels can intensify sugar cravings. Grab a glass of grape or orange juice or add these foods to your diet: apples, bananas, turkey breast, broccoli, green beans, garlic, or basil.  

Chromium is an ideal nutrient for balancing blood sugar, which is why we’ve included 12μg in Feel Meal Replacement.

  1. Some studies have shown that taking a cinnamon extract can help the body’s cells better respond to insulin. This allows sugar into the cells which lower blood sugar.

Sometimes a sugar craving can stem from a yeast imbalance. Taking a daily probiotic helps promote good bacteria which can ultimately lower sugar cravings. 

Katrina Love Senn

Katrina Love Senn

On my weight loss healing journey, I lost over 60 pounds naturally without diets, drugs or deprivation. To do this, I focused on holistically healing myself. Here are 3 tips that helped me to reduce my sugar cravings and keep my weight off for good... 

Tip #1 - Eat 80% Real Foods 

On my weight loss healing journey, I focused on eating real foods and avoiding fake foods. I aimed to eat 80% real foods and 20% lightly processed foods.

I substituted out fake foods that my body didn't recognise and instead focused on eating a wide range of vegetables, fruits, meats, seeds, nuts, herbs and fermented foods. As I increased the nutrition in my diet, my sugar cravings reduced naturally.

Tip #2 - Use Healing Tools to Reduce Stress

On my healing journey, I discovered that my sugar cravings correlated to the stress in my life. I also discovered that I could reduce my sugar cravings by reducing the stress in my life. Experiment to find a daily practice (such as yoga, meditation or breathwork) that you enjoy doing on a regular basis. Creating a sense of inner calm can quickly affect how you feel and also how you deal with stressful situations.

Tip #3 - Express Your Feelings

The more I expressed my feelings, the less I needed to suppress them with sugary sweet foods. As I found the courage to express my true feelings, I was surprised to discover that other people, and even the world around me changed for the better.  

With time and practice, I began to set healthy boundaries for myself and my life. To reduce sugar cravings I encourage you to gently experiment with expressing your feelings and saying what you truly want.

Vitamin B's and magnesium deficiencies are common reasons for sugar cravings. Besides vitamin and mineral deficiencies, other reasons for sugar cravings can be an imbalance in gut health. If so, you can rebalance it using different healing protocols such as a liver detox, parasite cleanse or colonics.

Some of my favourite supplements for curbing sugar cravings are chromium, probiotics, Vitamin B, magnesium, astragalus, ashwagandha and milk protein hydrolysate with theanine.  

In my best-selling book 'Losing Weight is a Healing Journey' I share that when we are healthy and in balance, sugar cravings are not present. 

So, if you are regularly experiencing sugar cravings, just know that your body is out of balance in some way. But, you can bring yourself back to balance by focusing on healing your body, your mind and your emotions. 

Wes King - Tahoe Trail Bar

Wes King - Tahoe Trail Bar

  1. Nuts are rich in proteins, fiber, and healthy, energy giving fats. Not only are they good for your heart, they are also very effective in keeping your stomach full and satisfied. Maintaining a nut-rich diet will help you control your sugar cravings.

You can combine a wide variety of nuts. For instance, cashew nuts, peanuts and almond nuts can be mixed into a bowl. But nuts are also super delicious when they’re combined with fresh or dried fruits, seasoning or wholemeal foods. There are a wide array of nuts and fruit recipes you can explore. 

For instance, you can blend dates and tigernuts; coconuts and oranges; apples, avocados and peanuts. Coconuts can be paired with whole grain wheat bread. Not only are these combinations delicious, they’re also healthy and super filling.

Experts suggest that consuming nuts will help to replace sugar as the default energy source for the body. Instead of sugar, your body will burn up stored fats as an energy source. You’ll shed excess body weight, while winning the battle against sugar cravings.

  1. However, a deficiency in chromium, zinc, Vanadium, and magnesium can jeopardize your efforts to overcome your sugar addiction.
  2. Raisons, hazelnuts, almonds, pumpkin seed, cashew fruits and nuts, walnuts, coconut, peanuts and dates are rich in zinc, magnesium, chromium and vanadium. What’s more, they promote blood sugar stability and sugar cravings reduction.

Besides nuts and fruits, these minerals and vitamins.can be gotten from food supplements and healthy trail mixes.

Melissa Eboli - Via Melissa

Melissa Eboli - Via Melissa

  1. One of my best tips for cutting out sugar and to curb cravings is by eating a clean diet loaded with healthy fats and proteins. 

You should also omit starchy foods and high glycemic carbs. You can still eat low glycemic cards such as oats or quinoa. 

By increasing your intake of healthy fats and proteins, this will give you a sense of fullness and satiation, resulting in less sugar cravings. 

Some healthy fats I recommend are coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

  1. A chromium deficiency can cause sugar cravings. People become deficient in chromium from eating refined foods such as white flour and sugar. 

Lack of sleep is another major contributor for sugar cravings. Your body blood sugar is depleted when you are on limited sleep, therefore you will crave sugar and carbs throughout the day for energy to make up for a sleepless night. 

  1. Chromium, which is an essential mineral,  helps to maintain normal glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. This helps to support blood sugar levels, curbs sugar cravings as well as assists with weight management. 

Another item that can assist with sugar cravings is bitter Mellon. This is used in Chinese medicine for blood sugar regulation.

Ted Kallmyer - Healthy Eater

Ted Kallmyer - Healthy Eater

Before people seek to quit eating sugar, I think it's important for people to make the distinction between added sugars and natural sugars found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Sugar isn't essentially "bad" and your body actually runs on the sugar glucose as its preferred fuel. 

The problem occurs when people eat added, refined sugars which cause insulin spikes because this type of sugar digests and enters the bloodstream too fast.  Yes, it's a good idea to give up or greatly limit added sugars in your diet, but, don't try to eliminate ALL sugar. 

Sugars naturally found in fresh fruits and vegetables are good for your body because they are found in foods rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. These foods are essential for good health. 

If you have a sugar craving, eat a piece of fruit, carrots, mini sweet peppers, or another veggie that will satisfy that sweet tooth. Also, make sure that you are eating enough to support your body and the exercise you do. 

Often cravings come because people restrict their calories too much in order to lose weight and it's your body's way of convincing you to give it some more energy. The main takeaway here is to focus on a diet that is whole food based and avoid processed foods. 

Processed foods are typically high in added sugars so avoiding them helps to solve the problem of giving up added sugar. 

  1. If you are deficient in magnesium this could make sugar cravings more intense. This is an easy mineral to supplement and can help you cut back on the added sugar that you consume. 
  2. Take about 500 mg per day if you suspect that you aren’t getting enough from your diet. 

Dan Stephenson - Daily Crunch Snacks

Dan Stephenson - Daily Crunch Snacks

  1. The easiest way to quit sugar and control sugar cravings is switch to plant-based wholemeal foods. Legumes, grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts are examples of plant-based superfoods and they are all rich in fiber.

Ingesting fiber-rich foods helps your body to adjust to the dietary changes. Because they take more time to digest, your stomach feels fuller long after your mealtime. 

They also promote the slow release of glucose which your body converts to energy, thereby suppressing the release of ghrelin--the hunger hormone. Your stomach feels full for longer periods when you eat high fibre wholemeal foods.

What's more, plant-based foods promote the regulation of blood sugar levels thereby curbing or eliminating sugar cravings. 

Aim to eat a combination of different plant-foods, experts recommend that a total of 30 -50 different plant based foods be ingested each week. Adhering to these guidelines will make it easier for you to get all the necessary vitamins you need to suppress your yearning for sugary foods. 

  1. A deficiency in vital vitamins like B Complex, zinc, magnesium, L-glutamine etc. can lead to a poor regulation of insulin levels and glucose ranges. The inevitable consequence of this is an intense craving for processed sugars.
  2. Eat plant based foods that are rich in Lipoic acid, magnesium, fish oil, D-phenylalanine etc. These minerals and vitamins are effective in promoting insulating sensitivity and blood sugar stability.

Leafy green vegetables, potatoes, almonds, beans, lentils, oats, pumpkins and so on are packed with these essential minerals and vitamins.

Feel Meal Replacement includes 112.5mg of Magnesium, 30% of your recommended daily intake; perfect for minimising sugar cravings.

Tommy Vekhayn

Tommy Vekhayn

  1. My best tip to quit sugar and curb sugar cravings is to actually take a somewhat realistic approach and replace it with artificial zero-calorie sugars. 

For instance, Coca-Cola has a ton of sugar, nearly 52g of sugar per bottle. The Diet Coke has zero calories and replaces that sugar with artificial sugars. These sugars, while they aren't the healthiest, are far better than the sugar alternatives. 

Plus, with zero calories, it will help keep off the weight, with the caffeine content making you less hungry throughout the day!

  1. Truthfully, the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that generally cause sugar cravings are the SEVERE deficiencies. 

For women, an iron deficiency is super common and can cause serious sugar cravings, feelings of exhaustion, and more. But generally for athletes, common deficiencies include zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin D. 

When you are seriously deficient in these critical vitamins and minerals, you will feel incredibly sluggish, have delayed muscle recovery, and have those cravings for junk food. 

So I've always recommended taking a multivitamin in order to ensure you aren't critically deficient in any of these and can keep those sugar cravings away.

  1. Generally, when it comes to vitamins and minerals that would help curb down sugar or quit sugar, you want to look at a vitamin/mineral that boosts your mood and balances out your testosterone levels. 

A good vitamin D and Zinc vitamin and mineral combination will be sure to make sure your hormones are regulated, your mood is good, and you're less tired which will push away those sugar cravings.

Alex Johnson - Medmunch

Alex Johnson - Medmunch

  1. Having pre-made healthy meals or snacks on hand (such as fruit, nuts, yogurt or hummus) is a great way to reduce cravings. These sorts of foods can help you feel satiated whilst helping you stop cravings. 

Protein-rich foods can also be great for reducing cravings, so meat, eggs and fish can also help keep you stay full and feel like you don't need to snack heavily on sugary foods.

  1. Magnesium, tryptophan and chromium may be able to help alleviate cravings.
  2. You can find these in all sorts of healthy foods like eggs, poultry, beans, broccoli and grains.

Robert Herbst - W8lifterusa.com

Robert Herbst - W8lifterusa.com

  1. When I need to stop eating sweets because I need to cut weight, I simply stop eating them. 

While it takes some discipline and might be uncomfortable, I do it anyway because it just becomes another marginally unpleasant part of my training, like stretching or doing heavy squats on a Friday night after a long week. 

The choice becomes binary. Either eat sugar or don't and I pick don't and that is the end of the discussion with no looking back.

Each day I take a multivitamin, 400 IU of E, 1,000 mg of C, a 150 mg. B complex, and a multimineral, so I have a strong nutritional background. 

I also take amino acids and have a meal or protein four times a day, so my energy levels are steady. 

I don't take anything to reduce my sugar cravings, but perhaps one could say that since I have a good nutritional foundation, it is easier to have the discipline to do without sugar.

Katy Malkin - Leaner Vegan

Katy Malkin - Leaner Vegan

  1. Cravings are driven by your brain’s need for a “reward” — not your body’s need for food. If you can have only one bite and stop there, indulging a little when you get a craving is absolutely fine. 

But if you tend to binge and overeat as soon as you get a taste of sugary foods, then giving in to the cravings is the worst thing you can do. I recommend 3-4 weeks completely off refined sugar to retrain your habits, and then occasional treats.

But how do we actually get through that 4 weeks?

Make sure your meals are adequate, healthy and filling - I'm talking protein rich with lots of veggies or fruit, especially at breakfast time. 

You can also choose a healthier snack that’s similar - such as fruit or trail mix. These have natural sugars that will help to curb the cravings while nourishing you. 

One other overlooked tip is to stay hydrated! Being thirsty can exacerbate sugar cravings. Studies have shown a clear link between thirst, increased cravings and increased body fat. 

  1. Magnesium is really important for our body. It regulates our glucose, dopamine and insulin levels. Deficiencies have been shown to increase sugar cravings drastically, and especially for chocolate. Try eating nuts, seeds, whole grains and bananas for your daily fix of magnesium.

Did you know that an iron deficiency can also exacerbate your sugar cravings? This is because a lack of iron causes tiredness and weakness. This causes your body to crave a quick burst of energy to fuel itself.  

  1. The most important thing to do is to eat a healthy amount of protein and add more complex carbs and high-fiber foods (beans, chickpeas, other legumes) to your diet. This will give you energy without the blood sugar spikes that can cause sugar cravings.

Lisa Goodwin - 2 Share My Joy

<Lisa Goodwin - 2 Share My Joy

1.The best way to quit sugar is by implementing small adjustments to your diet. 

Start by counting all the added sugar you consume per day and see which one is the easiest to cut out or reduce. Let’s say you eat a doughnut for breakfast with a coffee that contains 4 tablespoons of sugar. You consume 28 g of sugar. 

Instead, add 3 tablespoons for a few days and if this becomes easy to do then only add 2 tablespoons of sugar to your coffee, and so on. The reduction method is much easier than cutting it all out right away (like completely stop eating doughnuts for breakfast). 

If you bring yourself to drinking coffee without sugar (or very minimal) you can continue by eating only half the doughnut and adding some sweet fruits. 

Then it is important to identify your biggest obstacle when trying to quit sugar. If you really love that candy bar in the afternoon, working on the reduction of the candy bar might be overwhelming to the point where you just give up.

It might be easier to skip or reduce the sugar in other areas of your life (the coffee, for example) instead of tackling your biggest obstacle too soon. 

  1. It is not so much a vitamin and mineral deficiency that causes sugar cravings but more so an imbalance in macronutrients. I see this happen often when people go on low-carb diets. Whole grains or beans are rich in carbohydrates but also contain lots of fiber.

The fiber found in these whole carbohydrates will help you feel full and provide lasting energy, which in turn helps you to avoid cravings for bad carbs (simple carbohydrates like cookies).

  1. Again, it is not about vitamins and minerals. Protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats are nutrients that help you feel satisfied after a meal and stay full for longer. Fueling your body with the right nutrients will help curb sugar cravings. 

I always recommend filling half of your lunch and dinner plate with vegetables, one quarter with a source of lean protein, and the last quarter with whole grains. Then top the plate with a whole food source of fat like avocado, a dressing, or a dip made from cashews or tahini.

Thank you so much to all the experts that have contributed to this expert roundup! Please share this post with your friends and family on social media.

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About the author
Katie Hipwell - Katie is an AfN Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) with a specialism in food and is Head of Nutrition at Feel. Katie has worked in the food supplement industry for 10 years. She has completed a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and an undergraduate degree in BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition.
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