How to Stop Sugar Cravings: 5 Tips for the Long Term
One of the best ways to manage sugar cravings is to stop them before they start. To help you do that:
- Skip artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners may sound like a great idea, but "they don’t lessen cravings for sugar and haven’t demonstrated a positive effect on our obesity epidemic," says Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
- Reward yourself for successfully managing sugar cravings. Your reward could be large or small. Remember why you’re working on it and then reward yourself for each successful step.
- Slow down. For one week, focus on your sugar cravings and think about what you’re eating, suggests Chambers. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. So slow down, plan, "and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when you’re desperate," Chambers says.
- Get support. Many people turn to sweet foods when they're stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn't solve emotional issues. Consider whether emotions are involved in your sugar cravings and whether you need help to find other solutions to those emotional problems.
- Mix it up. You may need more than one strategy to thwart sugar cravings. One week you may find success with one tactic, and another week calls for an alternative approach. What’s important is to “have a ‘bag of tricks’ to try,” Gerbstadt tells WebMD. To tame sugar cravings, you really need to "figure out what works for you," Neville says.
Lastly, go easy on yourself. It may take time to get a handle on your sugar cravings. "It’s difficult to shift any system -- whether it’s the world economy or your eating," Chambers says.