Sugar Addiction: 5 Steps to Overcome Cravings - Dr. Axe

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5 Steps to Kick Your Sugar Addiction


Sugar addiction - Dr. Axe

Today, I want to share with you my secrets to reduce sugar cravings and food cravings so you can kick sugar addiction. This is a chronic problem in America today. In fact, I would say the No. 1 cause of people falling off diets and something that stops or even reverses weight loss efforts is when people have cravings.

Let’s be honest. A lot of people know what they should eat.

We should eat more vegetables. We should eat more fruit. We should eat organic.

But a lot of times when I’ve asked patients over the years, “Why could you not stick with a diet before?” they would say, “Because of the cravings. I started craving sugar so much.”

Dangers of Sugar

We know sugar is bad for you in numerous ways, whether we’re talking invert sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar or hidden sugar. Research shows consuming too much sugar can contribute to:

  • Heart trouble
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Leaky gut and metabolic disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Mood and brain disturbances
  • And so much more

5 Steps to Kick Sugar Addiction

After you learn how much sugar per day is too much, here are the top ways to reduce sugar cravings. There are really four main steps.

You need to get more fiber, more protein, more healthy fat and consume sour foods. If you follow those steps, and a fifth one we’ll add here, those things will help you overcome your sweet addiction and sugar cravings.

1. Get more protein in your diet

Protein actually will help balance out blood sugar, and so that really helps reduce sugar cravings. That really is the biggest reason there. Some of the best protein foods out there to help kick sugar addiction include:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Whey protein, ideally from raw goat milk
  • Lentils
  • Wild fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, etc.
  • Organic chicken
  • Black beans
  • Natto
  • Raw milk
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Free-range eggs
  • Raw cheese

2. Consume more healthy fats

Your body can burn sugar for energy or fat for energy. If you stop consuming as much sugar, start consuming more fat. Just make sure it’s healthy fats, the kind common in the Mediterranean diet.

Your body will become a fat burner, which will also help weight loss, but that will actually help kick sugar addiction. The best fat for that is actually coconut or coconut oil.

3. Get more fiber

Fiber helps you stay fuller longer. It also supports detoxification and can reduce candida symptoms in your body. Candida is a major cause of sugar cravings.

You want to aim for 35–40 grams of fiber a day. Start consuming more high-fiber foods, especially vegetables and nuts and seeds, like chia seeds and flaxseeds.

Other good sources of fiber include:

  • Avocados
  • Asian pears
  • Berries
  • Coconut
  • Figs
  • Artichokes
  • Peas
  • Okra
  • Acorn squash
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lima beans
  • Split peas
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa

It’s also important to eat a high-fiber diet because fiber is more than just a regulator. Dietary fiber can also help with the following conditions:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Colitis
  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Diarrhea
  • Diverticulosis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Kidney stones
  • Obesity
  • Peptic ulcer
  • PMS

4. Consume more sour or probiotic-rich foods

Things like probiotic yogurt and kefir are, in fact, sour because of the good bacteria found in them. They fight off and reduce candida in your body, which is why you reduce sugar cravings.

So again, consuming probiotic-rich foods, like kefir and yogurt, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi, and also sour foods like apple cider vinegar is fantastic. Using apple cider vinegar on a salad or apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in your water throughout the day can decrease your sugar cravings.

More probiotic foods include:

  • Kombucha
  • Natto
  • Coconut kefir
  • Kvass
  • Raw cheese
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Brine-cured olives
  • Salted gherkin pickles

5. Switch to stevia

Stevia is a no-calorie, natural sweetener that makes good sugar alternatives if you’re looking to overcome those cravings temporarily.

The three main types stevia are:

  1. Green leaf stevia — This is the least processed of all types of stevia, and the leaves have basically been dried and ground into powder form. This stevia is sweet, slightly bitter and isn’t quite as potent as most stevia products. It’s about 30–40 times sweeter than sugar and the type of stevia that I believe is the best option.
  2. Stevia extracts — Some brands of stevia today extract the sweeter and less bitter part of the stevia leaf (rebaudioside), which doesn’t have the health benefits found in stevioside. This type of stevia may be a better option than other regular sweeteners, but there aren’t many studies available yet showing its effects. It’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar.
  3. Altered stevia and Truvia — This is the type of stevia that you want to stay away from and in reality isn’t stevia at all. The problem with these stevia products is the processing and added ingredients.

This point cannot be stressed enough: Not all stevia products are created equal. There is a HUGE difference between consuming real stevia and the chemically processed Truvia.

If you follow those five steps above, you can kiss your sugar cravings goodbye.

Best Sugar Alternatives

Another way to curb your sugar cravings and recover from a sugar addiction is to use healthy sugar alternatives. Try these sugar substitutes instead.

Raw honey

One tablespoon of raw honey has 64 calories and has less impact on glycemic load than a single banana. It’s important to note that these are the benefits of raw honey. Once honey has been pasteurized, it loses the many of the health benefits that raw honey brings to the table.


Dates are loaded with potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and vitamin B6. From the date palm tree, they’re easily digested and help to metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Evidence shows that dates may help to reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood and may reduce the risk of stroke.

Coconut sugar

Now, more and more people are using coconut sugar as their natural sweetener of choice because of its low glycemic load and rich mineral content.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is an outstanding source of manganese and contains calcium, potassium and zinc. Rich with antioxidants, this all-natural sweetener helps to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage. Select darker, Grade B maple syrups, as they showcase more of maple syrup’s nutritional benefits.

Blackstrap molasses

All molasses is obtained from raw cane sugar, made by boiling it until it’s a rich sweet syrup. Blackstrap molasses comes from the third boiling, concentrating its nutrients and providing for its deep, rich flavor.

Balsamic glaze

Balsamic vinegar is rich in antioxidants that destroy free radicals, rich in the enzyme pepsin that helps to promote healthy digestion, and it tastes great.

Banana puree

Bananas are rich in fiber and potassium and a good source of vitamins B6 and C. They’re also naturally sweet with a subtle flavor, making them sugar alternatives.

Real fruit jam

The key here is real fruit jam. Berries, stone fruit, apples, pears and grapes are great replacements for sugar in recipes.

You can use commercially available fruit jam. Just be sure there is no added sugar or pectin.

It’s better to make your own sugar-free jam with organic fresh or frozen fruit. It’s easy and economical.

Gymnema sylvestre

Gymnema sylvestre is an herb that’s known as the “destroyer of sugar” because it helps normalize blood sugar levels and can help reduce cravings. This makes it a great option to help kick your sugar addiction.

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