Five Tips to Control Sugar Cravings

Sugar consumption is related to an increased risk of obesity. It's also associated with a predisposition to diabetes.
Five Tips to Control Sugar Cravings
Eliana Delgado Villanueva

Written and verified by the nutritionist Eliana Delgado Villanueva.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Sugar doesn’t just affect your weight, but also your mood. When considering reducing sugar consumption, it can prove more challenging than anticipated because it’s common to have sugar cravings. So, how can you control them?

Believe it or not, a person can easily develop a dependence on sugar. This has a huge impact on his or her health and is considered an addiction, as stated in an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Refined sugar can create a chemical dependence where we feel the need to consume it daily.

Below are some tips on how to control sugar cravings.

The consequences of not controlling sugar cravings

Not controlling sugar cravings has several health consequences. Below we’ll go over the main ones.

1. Sugar deteriorates your teeth

Carole Palmer, a professor at the School of Dental Medicine at Tufts University (USA) explains that the bacteria that create cavities in the teeth feed on simple sugars. Then, they produce an acid that can destroy tooth enamel.

2. It can lead to uncontrollable hunger

Some studies have found that fructose (a type of simple sugar) influences leptin, a hormone that controls the sensation of hunger. These studies found that the chronic consumption of fructose causes a resistance to leptin, which contributes to a person losing control over hunger.

3. Weight gain

A woman deciding between her sugar cravings and an apple.
Foods rich in simple sugars disproportionately increase their caloric content.

While foods with high sugar content are also high in calories, they have little ability to satisfy hunger. Conversely, food that contains few sugars decrease the sensation of hunger more.

People who want to lose weight are advised to start by reducing their consumption of foods with high sugar content. With this in mind, scientists and medical personal are in agreement that obesity is a multifaceted disease and not only the excessive consumption of sugars contributes to it.

4. It increases your chances of diabetes

One major factor in developing diabetes is the consumption of soft drinks, energy drinks, sweets, and other sugary foods. People who consume one or two of these drinks daily are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Apart from diabetes, the consumption of these overly sugary drinks also causes weight gain, according to a study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition.

5. It can lead to malnutrition

People who obtain over 18% of their calories from sugary consumption suffer from deficiencies in essential elements that the body needs like folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin A and C.

Tips on how to control sugar cravings

Some fruit smoothies to satisfy sugar cravings.

1. Eat more protein to control sugar cravings

Replacing the consumption of sugary foods with protein is one of the best ways to stabilize blood sugar levels. In fact, depending on the food, a meal rich in amino acids can reduce sugar absorption and prevent glucose spikes, which reduces your cravings.

However, eating more protein doesn’t mean that you need to eat steaks all day. You can also eat legumes, lentils, beans, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

2. Increase your fiber intake

It’s very easy to opt to eat fiber-rich foods. However, to decrease sugar cravings, you should choose foods that are high in natural soluble fiber like nuts, flaxseed, fruits, and vegetables.

The fiber in these foods slows down the speed of digestion, which in turn stabilizes blood sugar levels. Furthermore, this effectively reduces sugar cravings and the risk of diabetes.

Another benefit of a high fiber diet is that you will feel full longer since this food is digested slower.

3. Choose bitter foods to reduce sugar cravings

When you crave something sweet, one of the best ways to combat this craving is by eating something bitter. Furthermore, many bitter foods are high in probiotics or organic acids, which help good bacteria grow.

Adding lemon or lime to water can also be a good solution. This is because the acids in these fruits help slow down digestion, which helps maintain blood sugar levels and prevent sugar cravings.

4. Rest and sleep well to prevent sugar cravings

When we’re tired, we tend to eat sugary foods to combat exhaustion. Therefore, if you rest well, you will eliminate a factor that helps create sugar cravings.

5. Distract yourself

A woman reading in a hammock.

Finally, every time you have a craving for something sweet, try to think of something else. These cravings generally last 10 to 20 minutes, so if you manage to distract yourself, the craving will disappear. In addition, the more you practice this habit, the easier it will be to forget about any unwanted cravings.

Adopt better habits to reduce your sugar cravings

Overall, the excessive consumption of sugar is harmful to your health. These five tips can help control your sugar cravings and reduce your overall sugar intake.

Having a varied and healthy diet is a good way to prevent the development of complex diseases. Furthermore, combine this with regular physical exercise to optimize results.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • DiNicolantonio JJ., O’Keefe JH., Wilson WL., Sugar addiction: is it real? A Narrative review. Br J Sports Med, 2018. 52 (14): 910-913.
  • Johnson RJ., Sánchez Lozada LG., Andrews P., Lanaspa MA., Perspective: a historical and scientific perspective of sugar and its relation with obesity and diabetes. Adv Nutr, 2017. 8 (3): 412-422.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.