nutritionist talk about sugar cravings

Tips to Reduce Sugar Without Craving It

What are some tips for reducing sugar without craving it?  First off, what is life without sweet treats, birthday cakes, and the occasional comfort food?  Treats are a must a life but most Americans consume 77 grams (1 tsp = 4 grams) of added sugar a day when the daily recommendation is no more than 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men. It’s obvious that we need to cut added sugar.  Let’s first talk about why we need to reduce and then I’ll share some easy tips.

Why do we want to reduce sugar?

In many studies, we see that just cutting added sugar alone results in weight loss.  Conversely, consuming more sugar promotes weight gain.  Of course, with weight gain, follows all sorts of disease such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, lower HDL, higher triglycerides, heart disease, and increased inflammation.  As a result of increased inflammation, we see links to arthritis, gastrointestinal issues, memory loss, and cognitive decline.  Lastly, we know sugar increases your chance of getting cavities; the lesson we often teach children.

Where can I reduce sugar?

It’s so easy for added sugar to sneak in.  Here’s a list of examples:  flavored yogurt is easily 19-28 grams, granola = 11 grams, barbeque sauce = 8 grams, salad dressing = 5 grams, energy bar = 21 grams, teriyaki sauce = 5 grams, marinara sauce = 4 grams, frozen yogurt = 10 grams.  So, one can easily eat nearly 100 grams of sugar in one day without even binging on sugar.  And there’s the obvious, empty calorie, sugary drinks that is the worst for your body.

How can I reduce sugar without craving it?

1.     Go slow.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  Wean yourself off slowly by adding less sugar in your coffee/tea each time.  Your palate will get used to it and you’ll soon think “it’s too sweet.”

2.     Where’s the weakness.  Where do you get the most added sugar? Is it in desserts, bars, breakfast, drinks, etc.?  Start reducing there and it’ll make a huge difference.  Also, don’t forget to look at the added sugar line in the nutrition labels.

3.     Watch those bars.  I’m not a fan of bars, so much added sugars and tons of junk ingredients too.  Don’t forget those flavored yogurt too.

4.     What do you drink?  Drinks are the worst, full of empty calories and enormous amounts of sugar.

5.     Get sleep.  Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your hunger hormones and makes you crave sugar.  Plus, you tend to eat more too.

6.     Sugar is everywhere.  Sugar (and salt) is hidden in so many places to make us love the taste but also as a preservative for longer shelf life.  Check out your drinks, sauces, breads, milks, ketchup, dressing, baked beans, jerky, snacks, etc.

7.     Use less.  Use less sugar when you bake.  Use natural sweeteners such as bananas, other fruits, dates, raisins, etc.  Add more flavor to things so you need less sugar such as cinnamon, vanilla, fruits, etc.

8.     Use complex carbohydrates.

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~ Samantha Hua, Online Nutrition Coach & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA