Body & Fitness

10 simple steps to curb sugar cravings

Follow these simple steps to help curb sugar cravings and enjoy a healthier life.
10 tips to cut-sugar-cravings

You know you eat too much sugar when you wake up every morning promising yourself, today, you’ll cut right down on the sweet stuff. But by the time afternoon rolls around, all you can think about is that chocolate bar or piece of cake, and the urge for sugar is so strong you give in to it.

Researchers have found that overdoing sugar may lead to changes in the brain similar to those seen in people who regularly use drugs such as cocaine and heroin. When we eat carbohydrates, including sugar, they stimulate the release of the brain chemical serotonin, which makes us feel good. Our bodies get used to having lots of serotonin and can end up craving glucose to keep the levels high.

When we eat too much sugar, combined with the glucose we get from other carbohydrates in our diet – such as bread, pasta and cereals – we can end up with glucose overload. And that can lead to all sorts of serious health problems, including diabetes.

Cutting down on sugar makes sense but if you’ve overindulged for some time, it is not as easy as simply deciding to stop eating it. Here are some tips to help.

Feature image: Julie Crespel/


Eat foods that contain chromium. This mineral regulates blood-sugar and cholesterol levels, and helps to reduce sugar cravings. Good sources of chromium include lean meats, asparagus, cheese, broccoli, kumara, apples and wholegrains.

Image: David Hahn/


Make sure you’re getting plenty of magnesium. Being deficient in magnesium makes sugar cravings worse. Try eating more dark, leafy greens such as spinach, brown rice, oat bran, soy beans, quinoa, avocado, and nuts and seeds.

Image: David Hahn/


Get enough zinc. Eating too much sugar is linked to low zinc levels. Because zinc plays a part in how food tastes, if you have low levels, your taste buds want more flavour, which can lead to you craving sugar – so it is a vicious cycle. You’ll find zinc in beef, pork, wholegrains, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, yoghurt, chickpeas, eggs and oysters.



Have healthy fats with your meals. Fats not only help to keep blood-sugar levels stable, they can also make you feel full. Good sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil and natural fats found in animal products such as salmon and eggs.

Image: Rob Shaw/

Curb sugar cravings withy yoghurt

Eat fermented foods. Fermented and cultured foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchee (an Asian-style fermented cabbage) and yoghurt, can help beat sugar cravings because their sour taste overcomes the desire for something sweet.

Image: Phillip Castleton/

Curb sugar cravings with cinnamon

Use cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Adding these spices to your cooking will not only sweeten your food naturally, but they can also help to balance blood-sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings.

Image: Sarah Callister/

Curb sugar cravings with water

Drink plenty of water. It’s important to drink adequate fluids as dehydration is linked to food cravings. We often mistake dehydration for hunger, and eat when we should be drinking.


Curb sugar cravings with sleep

Get adequate sleep. When we’re tired and lacking in energy, we look for a quick boost – and often turn to sugary foods. Getting enough sleep will help you to avoid this.

Image: Jason Hamilton/

Curb sugar cravings with supplements

Try a supplement. L-glutamine is an amino acid made by the body that can help curb cravings for sugary foods (and alcohol). It prompts the body to suppress insulin and stabilises blood sugar.


Curb sugar cravings by eating often

Eat regularly. If you miss a meal, when you get hungry, your blood sugar drops, making it more likely you’ll want something sugary to boost your energy levels. Try to eat regularly, and if you snack between meals, opt for fruit or a high-protein snack such as nuts.

Image: Andrew Finlayson/

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