The festive season can be a difficult time for those of us with sugar cravings. Sugar is everywhere at this time of year and it’s almost impossible to avoid eating it.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with indulging your sweet tooth every now and then and enjoying celebrations with family and friends. The problem is, some people with a sweet tooth don’t do moderation! One piece of candy is too much and 20 are not enough! Once they start eating sugar they can’t stop.

If this describes you, this article may help you. I’ve found these strategies extremely effective for killing sugar cravings in my patients and helping them get back on track with healthy eating again.

Why is sugar so damned addictive?

Eating sugar makes you want more sugar, whereas avoiding sugar for several weeks generally means you’ll lose the taste for it and stop craving it as much.

Eating sugar triggers your pancreas to release insulin and if you eat sugar regularly, you’ll have chronically elevated blood insulin levels. This isn’t good because insulin promotes fat storage, inhibits the fat burning enzymes in your body and fuels hunger. A pretty terrible combination for anyone wanting to lose weight.

Here are 13 ways to beat down the sugar monster:

  • Try to get plenty of sleep. If you wake well rested and refreshed, you are far less likely to reach for sugar throughout the day. A lot of people use sugar as a bit of a first aid remedy to get them though an exhausting day.
  • Drink lots of water or herbal tea. You can also drink some tea and coffee, as long as they don’t contain sugar. You can sweeten them with stevia instead. If you feel hungry, often you can quell the hunger just by having a drink of a non-sugary beverage. This is particularly true on a freezing cold day; you may be ravenously hungry and a hot cup of tea is really all you needed to take the hunger away.
  • Breathe deeply. Stress, anxiety and tension drive a lot of people to eat and sugary foods tend to be their favorite. When you have a strong craving, stop and monitor your breathing. Take 10 slow deep breaths and you’ll be less likely to binge.
  • Eat adequate protein. I’m amazed by the number of people who go through each day basically living on starch and fruit. Good sources of protein include eggs, poultry, red meat (preferably grass fed), seafood, whey protein powder, nuts, seeds and legumes. Protein helps to stabilize blood sugar and in that way reduces hunger and cravings. Why not grab yourself a Synd X Slimming Protein Shake? It is extremely high in protein and extremely low in carbohydrate. It is sweetened with stevia and when you make it with coconut milk you are adding in healthy fats which will help stop carb cravings. Besides that, it is really delicious! Try this shake recipe or this delicious breakfast idea.
  • Eat adequate good fats. Fat makes you full and satisfied and far less likely to crave sugar. People who follow low fat diets typically spend a lot of time each day fantasising about sugar. Examples of good fats include avocado, olive oil, organic coconut oil, pastured butter and raw nuts and seeds. The fats to avoid include margarine, seed oils (sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, soy, canola and corn), as well as deep fried food.
  • Take a supplement to help stabilise your blood sugar. Chromium, gymnema, bitter melon, carnitine and other nutrients are combined together in Glicemic Balance capsules. All these nutrients help to reduce hunger and cravings and reduce your blood insulin level if it is elevated. That means your body will be more efficient at burning fat.
  • You may be magnesium deficient. Long term stress depletes your body of magnesium because stress hormones cause you to lose magnesium out through your urine. Chocolate is actually quite a good source of magnesium, therefore taking a magnesium supplement really helps to reduce chocolate cravings in most people. This is especially true for women who feel they MUST eat chocolate in the week before menstruation.
  • Use non-edible items that smell like confectionery. There are some divine smelling chocolate or vanilla body washes, soaps, perfumes, candles and other items available. Some of them smell just like chocolate frosting and seem almost good enough to eat. Our sense of smell is a funny thing and you can often trick your brain into thinking you ate these foods when really all you did was inhale their glorious scent.
  • Get some exercise each day, preferably outdoors. It doesn’t have to be anything gruelling and exhausting; it could just be a gentle walk around the block or to the park. Getting some movement is a great way to clear your head, calm your mind and take your thoughts away from your troubles or your cravings. Even if you are feeling quite exhausted, a short and gentle walk can give you a burst of energy.
  • Eat some chocolate, but only the good stuff. There is some amazing, high quality chocolate available. You can buy sugar free chocolate that has been sweetened with our sugar substitute Nature Sweet or xylitol (both natural sweeteners). You can also make your own chocolate using cacao powder, or make a hot chocolate drink or add cacao powder to your whey protein powder smoothie. You’ll get all the flavour and health benefits of cacao beans but none of the sugar. Here is an example of a healthy chocolate recipe.
  • Include fresh herbs in your salads. Don’t eat bland food. Your meals should be incredibly tasty and leave you feel completely satisfied. Include herbs such as arugula, cilantro, parsley, watercress, dill or basil in your salads and dress them with extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil or avocado oil, along with lemon juice or vinegar. There is no need to ever eat a boring salad.
  • Dress your salads with vinegar. This follows on from the point above. Apple cider vinegar is the healthiest variety, but all vinegar improves digestion and it helps to stabilise blood sugar. It is very beneficial for diabetics as it reduces blood sugar levels after meals. This is a good way of reducing the desire to eat sweets after a meal.
  • Just don’t eat sugar. The only people who crave nicotine are smokers and the only people who crave sugar are the ones who eat it. If you follow our recommendations and stick to a sugar free diet for at least three weeks, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier and you miss sugar less and less.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.