The introduction to my new book talks about Jennifer Lopez and her fiancé, New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, and their New Year’s challenge for themselves a couple of years ago to give up sugar and carbs for 10 days.
These are two of the fittest, most disciplined human beings on the planet, and guess what happened?
They struggled from day 1 through day 10, and then quickly fell off the wagon. Their sugar cravings were far too strong, even for a professional athlete and performer.
You can read more about this in the book, but bottom line – sugar cravings are no joke! And yet, so many people feel guilty for the same trap that these two stars fell into.
The good news is that it is possible to overcome your sugar cravings. Today, we’ll talk about WHY you crave sugar – the root causes – and how you can prevent it, as well as what to do when a craving strikes.
Sugar is a source of so much heartache and pain in our world, from weight gain to diabetes, acne to cancer.
As important as I believe it is to curb your sugar cravings – and end your sugar addiction if you have one – this article is absolutely NOT going to tell you to quit sugar.
Why? Quitting cold turkey doesn’t work, just as Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez found out. If you’ve tried this tactic before, you know what I’m talking about. And you’ve probably felt guilty about your inability to quit one of the most addictive substances on earth.
Quitting like that doesn’t last, and it’s not sustainable. There’s no need to feel guilty.
It never worked for me and that’s certainly NOT how I overcame my lifelong addiction to sugar. I was trapped in a vicious cycle. If you’ve been addicted to sugar, you know what I’m talking about.
One week I was devouring sugar, and the next week I was swearing it off.
Summoning that kind of will power is enough to get you motivated, but it’s not enough to keep it going. Deprivation never works.
Especially when you’re surrounded by it each and every day in tempting treats everywhere you look. It’s not hard to understand why Americans eat DOUBLE or even TRIPLE the daily recommended limit of sugar 365 days a year.
At the same time, sugar actually hijacks our hormones to make you not just crave more sugar, but actually need it on a cellular level.
Like any true addiction, it’s almost impossible to beat with willpower alone. And we wonder why it’s so hard to quit sugar!
But again, there’s good news in all of this… It IS possible to overcome your sugar cravings. I did it, thousands of my patients in my wellness clinic did it, and you can do it too.
I’m going to share my 10 best tips here, which you can read in much more detail in my new book, but my advice up top is to take this slowly. Start with one of these and work on only that until you accomplish it. Then take on the next challenge. That’s what’s going to make it sustainable, so you can kiss sugar goodbye for good.
10 Tips to End Sugar Cravings
Tip #1: Eat 3 Green Foods Each Day
This is the single most important key to stopping your cravings. Seriously, you won’t believe how powerful it is.
Some foods encourage cravings, and some foods fight cravings. When you think of foods that fight cravings, think foods that are high in magnesium – the mineral that fights sugar cravings – like dark, leafy greens including watercress, kale, and spinach.
By eating 3 of these per day, you’re going to get much more magnesium and other minerals into your system, taking away the cravings naturally.
To eat more of these foods, incorporate lots of:
- Sautéed greens
Tip #2: Eat Healthy Fats at Every Meal
In addition to greens, you’ll also want to eat plenty of healthy fats. This will help boost your metabolism, nourish the brain, keep your blood sugar stable, and reduce sugar cravings.
Overall, go for about 10 servings daily of healthy fats, which works out to 2 to 3 per meal. You can add coconut oil to your smoothies, dressings, sauces, soups, and stir-fries. Top salads or bowls with chia, flax, and hemp seeds. And eat the occasional high-omega-3, low-mercury fish like wild salmon, mackerel, or anchovies.
And don’t forget to supplement with a good quality fish oil like our Alkamind Daily Omega-3. It’s the ONLY fish oil on the planet with the ideal 2:1 ratio of EPA to DHA in a highly concentrated form. So you can take less and get more healthy fat benefit from it.
Tip #3: Eat Mostly Alkaline (Including Proteins)
You want to aim for what I call the 80/20 alkaline lifestyle, which will supply your body with the alkalizing, anti-inflammatory foods it needs to fight sugar cravings.
Go for 80% of what you eat to be a mix of healthy fats (mentioned above) and dark green leafy veggies, and veggies like the ones listed below, along with 10-15% plant-based or fish protein, and 5-10% vegetable carbohydrates like sweet potatoes.
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Brussels sprouts
- Red bell peppers
- Lentils and beans
- Chickpeas and hummus
- Almonds and macadamia nuts
Tip #4: Add in Herbs and Spices
Another quick tip to curb cravings with healthy foods is spice up your meals! These spices will not only naturally sweeten your food, but also will help balance your blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings as you shift away from excess sugar, carbohydrates, and protein, eat more and more leafy greens, vegetables, and healthy fats:
Tip #5: Stop Eating 3 Hours Before Bedtime
If you go to bed at 11:00 pm, the last thing you eat should be by 8:00 pm, other than drinking water and taking supplements. That’s going to help stop late night sugar cravings, as well as shift your body into fat burning mode as you go more hours without eating (known as intermittent fasting).
For more on how to incorporate the tool of intermittent fasting into your diet plan, read: How Not to Break an Intermittent Fast.
Tip #6: Add in Supportive Supplements
When I got rid of sugar in my diet, I kick-started it by ADDING a great mineral supplement and a great greens supplement, and just by making that one change, my cravings dissipated very quickly (within weeks, and we’re talking about a life-long addiction here).
By the way, I’m not recommending magnesium tablets or capsules, as they don’t work well and can actually irritate your stomach. I recommend a mineral powder you add to water that contains your 4 most crucial alkaline minerals – magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium bicarbonate.
You definitely want to make sure the supplement you choose has both magnesium and calcium (at a ratio of 1:1) in order to prevent a deficiency in either mineral.
By starting your day with a greens powder, like Alkamind Daily Greens, which has 5 full servings of mineral-rich vegetables in every scoop, and ending your day with Acid-Kicking Minerals every night, you’re ensuring that you get plenty of high-quality magnesium, as well as the right balance of calcium, potassium, and sodium bicarbonate, all from quality sources unlike most other supplements – plus you’ll sleep better too.
Tip #7: Track Your Progress
It helps to see how all of your effort is paying off. So track before you make a change, while you’re transitioning, and then continue to track once you’ve transitioned so you can celebrate your accomplishment. When you assess, you will have success!
Tip #8: Use Natural Sweeteners When Cravings Arise
This is the part of my sugar-busting strategy that makes it really easy. You don’t have to deprive yourself!
You can actually eat sweets whenever you want, even for breakfast. IF and only if you know how to do it.
And if you think I’m talking about putting Splenda in your baked goods or coffee drinks, think again! It might seem like it’s a good idea to replace sugar with chemical alternatives, but artificial sweeteners are the #1 worst “food” you can eat on the planet!
And believe it or not, they’ll actually increase your craving for sweets. They fool the body into thinking it’s eating something sweet, so your insulin spikes, which leads to you craving sugar even more.
Here's what I recommend instead…First, natural stevia extract in the organic liquid dropper. It’s 100 times sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way. We use an unbitterized form of stevia in our Acid-Kicking Coffee Alkalizer products and it’s delicious.
And second, lo han, otherwise known as monk fruit. It’s what we use in several of our supplements. It’s very sweet with no bitter taste, but has a zero glycemic index. It’s a little harder to find in stores, but worth it.
Last but not least, ChocZero sugar free maple syrup, which has only 1 net carb.
With those sweeteners, you can choose from any of the desserts or smoothies on our blog to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Here’s another quick tip… Do you crave sugar in the form of chocolate? Use 85% or higher dark chocolate to ease the cravings. It doesn’t actually contain much sugar and once your body has adjusted to an overall lower carbohydrate level, it will taste plenty sweet.
Tip #9: Stay Hydrated
The final part of the puzzle is not letting yourself get dehydrated, as that’s when sugar cravings are bound to strike.
Dehydration can mask itself as food cravings, and sugar cravings in particular. And it’s not just in your head – when you’re dehydrated, your liver can’t release glycogen, a necessary hormone for energy. As glycogen drops, it sends a signal to crave water and sugar. This was good for our ancient ancestors, but bad news for us.
So drink lots of water and herbal teas when you are wishing for a sweet beverage. Add a slice of lemon or lime to your water to improve the taste and make it more alkaline-forming. Your water has to be filtered, ideally with a pH of 8 to 9.5.
Tip #10: Investigate Your Cravings!
Often when you’re craving a food, there’s a chemical reason behind it. Your body needs something, but not necessarily the food you’re craving. For example, craving ice cream means you really need an avocado or another food high in healthy fats.
There’s a whole section in my new book about what your cravings – for sugar and other foods – are trying to tell you. I encourage you to investigate what’s really behind your cravings, get to the bottom of it, and feed your body what it really needs.
GET OFF YOUR SUGAR: 7 Steps to Crush Your Cravings, Boost Immunity, and Fire Up Your Fat-Burning Engine removes the blame and guilt that so many of us feel for the sugar we eat day in and day out.
Here’s an excerpt: “Sugar is not just ingrained in our brain, it’s baked into our culture. We turn to sugar when we’re celebrating and when we’re sad; when we need a pick-me-up in the afternoon and when we’re relaxing in the evening with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.”
But it’s not just that. Sugar hijacks your hormones and your brain, making you not just crave more sugar, but actually need it on a cellular level. Like any true addiction, it’s almost impossible to beat with willpower alone.
Ditch the mindset of depriving yourself and get the powerful yet easy-to-follow program with practical tips to kick the sugar habit in your real life that I’ve used successfully with 120,000 patient visits in my wellness clinic in Manhattan.
Get your copy now!
GET OFF YOUR ACID!