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How I Beat My Sugar Addiction | 5 Tips That *Actually* Work

Growing up, I was known to have a really bad sweet tooth. My family ate on the healthier side, so I was never allowed to have sweets at home... but when I went to friends houses - I would go WILD. S'mores poptarts, gushers, Cap'n Crunch cereal... you name it, I would eat it.

Even as I got older, I still preferred sweet foods, but I was trying to be "healthier". So instead of gushers, I would have things like a handful of chocolate chips and instead of Cap'n Crunch, I would have "Panda Puffs". Needless to say, these weren't really significantly better options.

And I was still constantly craving sugar and felt like I was always battling these cravings. Plus, I was experiencing common high sugar intake issues like high anxiety and breakouts around my jawline.

And it wasn't until the last few years that I found "cures" for myself where I honestly don't crave sugar anymore. It's actually amazing.

These tools built upon one another and they're super easy to implement. So today, I'm sharing the exact tips and tools I used to beat my sugar addiction.

how to quit sugar

Stop Eating As Much Sugar

I found that the more sugar I ate, the more sugar I craved. And physiologically, this makes sense. When we eat more sugar, it causes blood sugar levels to skyrocket. This high blood sugar level stimulates the released of our storing hormone insulin, which quickly brings the blood sugar back down. However, it tends to overcompensate and bring blood sugar level below optimal levels. This low blood sugar level triggers cravings for a fast source of energy (aka sugar) to bring it back up. And the cycle continues.

Foods that I cut out (or greatly reduced) included all sources of added sugar (honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, etc.), protein bars, chocolate chips and chips. Chips are tricky because even though they don't taste sweet, they actually have a similar blood sugar response as sugar because it's highly refined.

As a result of greatly reducing my sugar intake, my sugar cravings drastically reduced and my anxiety levels started to improve as well. You can learn more about this tie between sugar intake and anxiety with my video above.

sugar addict

Eat More Protein

Protein has a nearly magical effect on the brain and body by shutting off hunger and sugar cravings when you eat enough of it. When we eat protein, it raises the satiety hormone called peptide YY (PYY) that tells our brain we're full and satisfied and don't need to eat. Often times sugar cravings are caused by simply not eating enough protein to feel satisfied. So as a result, our body looks for a fast source of energy (aka sugar).

I focused on high quality sources of protein such as eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, my zero sugar protein powder, grass-fed beef, chicken, pork and salmon.

But when eating protein, it's important to eat enough for your body's needs, otherwise you won't reap the satiety benefits of it. For example, my husband needs significantly more protein than I do. If he ate the same amount of protein as me, he would be left feeling hungry and experiencing high levels of sugar cravings.

You can calculate your protein needs with my video below.

Focus On Sleep Quality

Quantity is important, but sleep quality is almost even more important. Poor quality sleep increases our stress hormone cortisol and our hunger hormone ghrelin the very next day. This combination also influences our cravings for sugary and starchy foods.

The tools I used to improve my sleep quality included:

  • No caffeine after 12pm: Some people can get by having caffeine as late as 2pm, but I'm pretty caffeine sensitive so I stick to 12pm or earlier.

  • No "tech time" 1 hour before bed: One hour before bed, I turn off all electronics (phone, TV, laptop). This reduces my exposure to bright lights that can turn off the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

  • Evening walk before bed: Right before hitting the hay, I go for a 5-10 minute walk with my husband and dog outside. This exposes my eyes to "darkness" which stimulates the sleep hormone melatonin.

sugar addict

Switching From High Sugar To Low Sugar Fruits

And eating less fruit in general. Fruit can be a great low sugar option to add to smoothies and yogurt bowls, but it's really easy to load up on significant amounts of sugar with fruit. Especially if you're using fruits like dried dates (16 grams of sugar per date) or lots of bananas in your smoothie (about 24 grams of sugar per banana). Other sneaky sources of sugar are dried fruits, which are not only high in sugar but also very high glycemic.

I stuck to low sugar fruits like raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and apricots. And when I do use higher sugar fruits, I stick to small amounts of it such as 1/2 cup pineapple or 1/2 banana.

sugar addict

Eating More (High Quality) Fat

Fat helps to raise satiety hormones in a similar way to protein which can reduce hunger and sugar cravings. But it's important to focus on high quality, whole food sources of fat. Some of my favorite fats to add into meals include avocado, guacamole, cheese, olives, almond butter, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and full fat dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt.

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❤️ Autumn

Autumn Elle Nutrition

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