Do you have an insatiable appetite for sweet things?
Fortunately, I Quit Sugar: 8-Week Program expert Laura de la Harpe has some excellent advice on stopping your sugar cravings and quitting sugar for good.
With sugar reported to be as addictive as cocaine, the road to food freedom is paved with some serious cravings, especially in the first few weeks. The good news: you can break your addiction. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.
The challenge: You can’t say no to that tub of ice cream in your freezer.
The solution: The easiest way to stop cravings is to remove access to the offender. Don’t buy it, walk past it or order it. Sugar cravings are easier to avoid if you can’t see the jar of chocolate spread in your pantry, or don’t have packets of jellies in your top drawer at work, so give yourself the best chance of beating them by not purchasing them in the first place!
The challenge: You’re not ready to dump Saturday night cocktails with the girls, just yet.
The solution: “We all have rituals and people we associate with eating sugar, and although physical addiction only lasts a few days, the habit stays for a lot longer,” Laura says.
“So initially I would change your social habits and create some new ones that are associated with your new lifestyle.”
How? If you can’t resist the choc-chip muffins at the cafe you go to for brunch, pick a place where they’re not on the menu. Better yet, create new habits that don’t revolve around food at all. Book a massage, go for a walk or watch your favourite movie.
The challenge: You’re always so freaking hungry, you reach for the quickest, easiest option to fill up. And usually it’s the sweetest.
Laura agrees: “The satiety receptors in the brain for protein and fats work faster than sugar, and so we feel full and satisfied more quickly and remain that way for longer. We don’t get blood sugar crashes from them either so they don’t lead to cravings.”
The challenge: You just need something sweet. Anything, dammit!
The solution: Did you hear the one about sniffing vanilla essence to beat sugar cravings? No joke, really!
According to Laura, “Vanilla has been proven to have a strong effect at curbing cravings for sugar, by tricking your senses into thinking that the craving has been satisfied and making you feel fuller.”
Also try adding some sweet cinnamon to your sugar-free tea or a spoonful of coconut oil with cacao powder for a fructose-free chocolate hit.
The challenge: You’ve tried everything and still can’t quite quit your cookie craving.
The solution: Try fermented foods. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi and co. can kill cravings quicker than you can spell sauerkraut.
Ferments a little too funky for you?
Listen to Laura and add chromium or magnesium to your diet.
“Chromium and magnesium-rich foods help improve your cells’ sensitivity to insulin to maximise the amount of sugar we are able to burn. The more efficient this process is, the less insulin is needed to process the sugar and helps to prevent a blood sugar crash a few hours later. It is when we have crashed that we crave sugar the most.”
Foods rich in chromium and magnesium include dark green leafy veggies, almonds, pumpkin seeds, romaine lettuce, raw onions, broccoli, green beans and black pepper.
The challenge: Kale just ain’t cutting it for a comfort meal.
The solution: As Laura points out, “People use and crave food for so much more than to satisfy their hunger and feed their body.”
Ask yourself what you really need. If you’re lonely, pick up the phone and talk to someone who will cheer you up. Feeling anxious or angry, try yoga or hit the treadmill. Want to celebrate? Get a manicure.
If nothing but a slice of cake will do, recreate a sugar-free version like this one, made with orange and chia seed.
The challenge: You’re not even sure where to start…
The solution: Join the IQS 8-Week Program. With seasonal (sugar-free!) meal plans, access to experts and an awesome community of fellow sugar quitters to support you, you’ll be showing your cravings who’s the boss in no time.