How to quit sugar and stop sugar cravings

by Sylvia

How to quit sugar cravings

I still eat too much sugar. As I mentioned in my post on my 10 New Years resolutions,  it’s one habit I will still need to beat and I’m sorry to say that I have not succeeded this year. I’m actually reading a book, which is called Why we get fat. The book is based on years of scientific study by Gary Taubes and has already convinced many people (including me) to quit sugar permanently.

Why do I want to quit sugar?

I feel that sugar is:

  • Draining my energy
  • Causing yeast, diabetes and other health issues
  • Affecting my skin
  • Stopping me from getting healthier nutrients
  • Sugar only provides empty, needless calories that cause you to gain weight. Although I personally do not need to lose weight, you may want to find out if you have a healthy weight at how much should I weigh for my height and age.

Problem is, of course, that I like many things that contain sugar or producce sugar like pasta, rice, licorice, biscuits, sweets and chocolate. So in order to quit those I will need some strong motivators, and I wrote these down a while ago. Perhaps they will help you too (or you may come up with an even stronger motivator) so I thought I would share them with you today. I personally have made some progress in some areas, but still need to work on others.

To stop me from eating sugar here are some strong motivators so you and I can beat the habit.

Health motivators

1. Avoid diabetes

Too much sugar keads to diabetes. Once you have that you REALLY have to put up with a stringent diet. Quite a few people in my direct environment have had this happen to them. Best to avoid the disease altoghether.

2. Avoid yeast

Too much sugar causes too much yeast in the body which can lead to all kinds of health problems like:

  • endometriosis
  • depression
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • autoimmune disorders, and
  • weight problems

Definitely something you want to avoid.

3. Get the body, skin and energy you always wanted

We all know that sugar and too many carbohydrates can add the pounds. It can also have adverse effects on your skin and energy levels. Is sugar really so important that you’ll let it take away your good looks and energy?

Visual motivators

4. Watch the sugar cubes

Would you really eat or drink those sugary products if you knew how much sugar was in it? Have a look at this website to see how many actual sugar cubes you are consuming with your favorite foods and drinks. Actually visualizing the amount of sugar may actually stop you from consuming those products.

Practical tips

5. Shop when not hungry

Only shop when you are not hungry. Perhaps straight after lunch. Then only try to buy the healthy foods and don’t buy any sugary snacks or drinks.

6. Replace refined pasta and bread with wholegrain options

Wholegrain bread is delicious so that’s an easy one for me to switch to. Wholegrain pasta is more of an acquired taste but it comes in lots of varieties these days and it’s a lot healthier than regular pasta.

7. Drink lots of water or herbal tea

Water helps to make you feel full. In a recent study it was also found that drinking water before diner can actually help you lose weight. I personally like to drink a lot of herbal  and green tea.

8. Break a bad habit (one at a time)

Try to figure out what your worst habit is when it comes to sugar. Do you add sugar to your tea or coffee? Do you drink sodas when going out? Start with one bad sugar habit and try to change it. I was very succesful with eliminating sugar from my tea. It only took me 2 days to get used to it. Now I wouldn’t dream of having tea with sugar; much too sweet! Start with the habit that is easiest to change and then continue with the next one.

9. Exercize more

Exercize takes your mind away from sugar cravings. It also helps with your metabolism and will generally make you feel better. Instead of drinking a sugary or chemical sports drink, try coconut water instead to replenish your first and get more energy.

10. Sleep well

Getting enough sleep is hugely important. Enough sleep will give you lots of energy throughout the day so you will not feel the need for the artificial (and temporary) energy provider of sugar.

Well, that’s it for now. Let me know how you go with battling your sugar addiction and please share your tips!

Update: I have since read the book and I written a short summary and conclusion in this article.  I now believe that cutting carbohydrates is the key to losing weight with sugars being the main culprit of weight gain.

Sarah Wilson offers an excellent 8 week programme that helps you quit sugar and teach you how to create delicous meals without it. 

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Marla

I don’t know if it is possible for me to give it up. I love it so much, especially in my coffee. I know it’s not good for me but it is so hard.

Sylvia

yes, that’s why I still can’t quit it. Let’s hope this new book can persuade me too, finally.

Kathy Johnston

I do love sugary things and desserts. This is my experience with sugar in coffee. I used to have one or two sugars in my coffee. A number of years ago, I decided to give up sugar in my coffee and I just stopped. It actually wasn’t too hard and the coffee actually tasted better. I think that I could really taste the coffee which I like the taste of, and I could also smell it better. Now if I’m ever served coffee with sugar, I have to throw it out because it just tastes too strange with the sugar blocking the taste of the coffee. I do like the taste of cream in my coffee but at home I have low fat milk to cut down on calories. You might want to try just giving up sugar in your coffee and maybe you’ll even enjoy your coffee more!

Sylvia

Great tip Kathy. It’s always good just to start with one thing.

Suzanne

I’ll be interested to see how this goes for you and see if you notice any of the benefits that they mention.

Bisous
Suzanne

Sylvia

I’ll keep you updated Suzanne!

Rita

I quit all added sugar 18 months ago, cold turkey, including anything with sugar listed on an ingredients label (salad dressings, cereal, pasta sauce, crackers, etc.). I read an article linking cancer to sugar consumption and that was it for me. I cook a lot more fresh foods now, relying on very little packaged stuff. It’s remarkable how after a while your taste buds completely change. If I take a bite of something with sugar in it now, that’s more than plenty, then I need to brush my teeth. Good luck!

Sylvia

Well done Rita. See, that’s what I hope will happen to me when I read the book. Have you noticed any changes in your health? Do you feel better?

Rita

Thanks! I lost about 8 lbs over the course of about 12 months and my skin seems clearer, but other than that I haven’t noticed a huge difference. I just have an overall sense that since I’m eating better, I’m healthier. The biggest difference is my taste preferences. Now things with sugar in them taste “muddy” to me (the flavor is drab and muted), whereas good, whole fruits, veggies, nuts, and cheese taste clean and bright. It is an interesting experiment. You can do it! 🙂

Greetje

I think I am quite moderate with sugar. Probably not, but that is what it feels to me. I take a sugar replacement in my coffee after I tried to drink it without sugar. Everybody had predicted that I would prefer coffee without sugar after 2 months but that was a disappointment for me. I still prefered it with sugar after 6 months. I was very careful in choosing the right sugar replacement (Sukrin).
And I eat fresh food 6 out of 7 days. Etc. I don’t gain weight, even lost some lately. So I am not doing bad in this area.

Tangobabe

I love everything sweet and everything with lots of carbs. Being skinny most of my life (50 kg with 1.72 m height) these cravings were no problem for my weight. But the last 15 years I steadily gained about 15 kg.

One year ago, weighing 65 kg, I was diagnosed with diabetes. (a predisposition that runs in the family).
I was in shock and went on a strict diet… cold turkey. With that I managed to get and keep my bloodsugarlevels low. This diet is for life, of course. I lost 13 kg, and now my weight is stable since some months.

I do not feel better, nor look better, only skinnier with good lab results;-).
Eating and food have lost a lot of its attraction for me, since I cannot eat what I really like and I do not like what I am allowed to eat. After a year this is still the case.

The prospect of a (possibly) longer life with a healthier body is my sole motivation and reward. So far it is a really strong motivator, so I succeed to stick to my new regime and I don’t fuzz or complain.

Maybe my story is a warning and motivator for all those with a sweet tooth: prevent getting diabetes, because once you have it there is no cure.

Sylvia

A good warning to us all. I guess I need to have my sugar and cholesterol levels checked!

Tangobabe

That’s always good, but you are slim and do sports. If there is no family diabetes I guess your bloodsugar will be ok. But you never know…

Mary Walker

All very good advice!

Heather Fonseca

Ug! Can’t do it. I can cut back but i can’t eliminate sugar from my diet. I don’t eat as much pasta as I once did, but I have pretty much switched over to all whole grain bread. I still need one measly teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, and I still drink milk. And oh chocolate! Life is too short to live without a few sweets sometimes.

Sylvia

I’m not sure if I will ever be able to do it either. Certainly after reading Anja’s comment. But I better keep it under control so I don’t get diabetes which makes your food consumption very limited….

denton

May I introduce you to this article. Hey, it’s free!
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html

This had a huge impact on me and convinced me to give it up, or at least as close as possible. I was eating way too much, including ice cream, pastries, soda, etc.

The strangest thing happened, without it being my intention, I started dropping weight. I lost 20 lbs in a couple of months. (My wife even got mad at me and said, how much more weight are you planning to lose? lol)

I have to say it’s practically impossible to get rid of sugar altogether, but I probably reduced it 90%. I never ate much in the way of processed foods anyway. Any that I do buy, I pay attention to the ingredients. My wife loves to bake fruit pies, but I’ve got her to cut the sugar by 50% by buying riper fruit and just cutting it back. If anything, they taste better.

Also these companies are playing games with ingredient names these days… ‘organic evaporated cane juice’ is white sugar. And hi-fructose corn syrup is equally deadly.

Sylvia

Thanks for pointing me to this article Denton. It’s actually written by the same author as the book I mentioned. Great that it worked for you and that you managed to cut your sugar consumption drastically!

Greetje Kamminga

I read the whole article (9 pages) and made a summary for my husband. Thank you Denton.

Buckle Button Zip

Hi Sylvia,
Great food for thought and I’m going to read the NYT article that Denton passed along. I love sweets and try to keep them in moderation, but if they’re around I rarely pass them up. Thanks for motivation.
x Laura

Chris

Hi Sylvia,
Two years ago, I came across Gary Taube’s book ‘Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It’. I was 48 years old, and 25 lbs overweight. First let me say – I am completely against dieting per se, and believe it ultimately does not work, and often leads to weight gain. Having said this, I succeeding in losing 25 lbs in three months, and am back to my weight of my 20’s. I am a lifelong vegetarian, so eat a modified version of the low carb diet outlined in this book. I cheat regularly when out with friends, and with gusto. My strategy is to keep junk food out of the house, and stick to a healthy menu routine most days. I am EXTREMELY grateful to Gary Taubes and his thorough research. I want to emphasize, I have maintained this weight loss with ease for two years, and I am not constantly thinking about food.

Sylvia

Thank you Chris for this feedback. Great to know! I have now finished the book as well and will write about it this week.

Susanne

This is a battle for me. I eat healthy and buy products without sugar. Most meals are simply a protein and a veggie. My weakness? Sugar with my tea in the morning. Two spoonfuls. More like tea with my sugar!

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