How did you stop eating sweets? Help!! - Mothering Forums
Nutrition and Good Eating > How did you stop eating sweets? Help!!
KLM99's Avatar KLM99 08:18 AM 12-13-2010

I have a major sugar problem.  It's strange because I eat very healthfully otherwise.  I am vegetarian and strive to eat only whole foods - tons of fruits/veggies, nothing processed, no fake sugars, etc.  I drink only water, tea, orange juice, and some coffee.  I haven't had a soda in ten years.  I love to cook and make it a point to prepare a healthful meal for my family every night.  I am breastfeeding and I think have a high metabolism anyway.  I walk a lot and am on the thin side of normal.  My thyroid levels are normal.


HOWEVER, after every single meal and frequently throughout the day, I crave sugar.  I eat candy or chocolate after every single meal, even breakfast.  Am I just addicted?  I am exhausted all the time being a co-sleeping, night-time breastfeeding, full-time working mom of two.  So maybe I'm just confusing my fatigue with sweet cravings? 


Pleae help me kick this habit.  How did you stop eating so much sugar?  What worked or didn't work?  Any ideas about why I might be doing this to myself?

cristeen's Avatar cristeen 08:29 AM 12-13-2010
Cold turkey is the only thing that worked for me. White knuckling it for a week, and thenthe cravings pass. Plan in advance to have plenty of snacks on hand - high fat and high protein. Drink a glass of water everytime you feel a craving before you eat your snack tohelp you discern between hunger and thirst.

And if you're a boredom or emotional eater, keeping your hands busy is also a big one (knitting is great for this).
Llyra's Avatar Llyra 01:20 PM 12-13-2010
Fatigue can definitely contribute to sweet craving. I'm terribly susceptible to it myself, when I'm tired or worn out. But sugar is addictive, in the first place. It's one of the most addictive substances regularly consumed by humans, actually, according to some sources I've read.

One thing that's helped me kick the after-meal sweet craving is to brush my teeth immediately. For some reason, that really helps. I guess the taste of the toothpaste is sweet enough to satisfy me, or something. I really don't know why it works, but it does.

Does fresh fruit help? I myself never found it helpful, but some people do. I would think that including plenty of protein and healthy fats in your meals and snacks would help, too-- it would prevent you from getting hungry too quickly after eating, at least.

For me, though, the biggest thing has just keeping the stuff out of the house in the first place. If I have to load all the kids into the van and DRIVE to get the sweets, or if I have to get out my bowls and pans and spoons and MAKE something from scratch, I'm a lot more likely to think clearly about how badly I really want the sweet food.
la mamita's Avatar la mamita 05:23 PM 12-13-2010
Sugar cravings, especially when I was veggie, were a sign that I needed more protein and fat in my diet. Getting a sugar craving after a meal, for me, meant my blood sugar was crashing because of too many carbs. I would replace sugary foods with some protein heavy snacks, like peanut butter or nuts or beans & rice. Eating meat again really helped too...but that's probably not the advice you are looking for.
SaraCate's Avatar SaraCate 07:37 PM 12-13-2010

Ditto Llyra's response about keeping it out of the house.  I love cooking/baking, but I do think more about how muc I really want that sweet if I'm dirtying bowls and measuring cups.  Also, the time it takes to make it may mean the craving has passed...


...on the note of making it yourself, though, I often find that if I have something reasonably healthy - like whole-grain, unrefined-sweetener muffins - it satisfies my 'sweet' craving while still providing some nutrition value.  Or HM granola...or sometimes a slice of buttered WW toast with jam...HM whole-grain apple crumble.  I find these often 'do it' for me more than fresh fruit when it's a 'sweet' that I want.

KLM99's Avatar KLM99 07:32 AM 12-14-2010

OP here - great suggestions - thanks!  Since I wrote my initial post (ok...only yesterday, but still!), I haven't had any sweets.  I think after eating a ton of these minty Christmas candies after breakfast, I was so ill it might have been the wake-up call I needed.  I wondered if it does have something to do with the veggie diet.  I will definitely be incorporating more protein and fat - thanks for that.  I generally feel like my body knows what it needs, so I think it very well may be something to do with lacking something in my diet and my body trying to make up for that.  Thanks again!

deditus's Avatar deditus 08:44 AM 12-14-2010

Protein, greens and fat helped me get off sugar. I think I had reactive hypoglycemia and when my blood sugar would drop, I wanted sugar NOW. Make sure you are getting lots of good fats, coconut oil, avocado, butter, some nuts, evoo, eggs. At least 20 grams of protein at each meal. Greens smoothies. Piles of veggies WITH FAT. I think 2-3 t. fat/serving of veggies is what is recommended for adults  For baked goods without the blood sugar spike, I like to use almond flour.

I can barely eat a banana anymore because it is too sweet. Your taste buds can really change, but it does take some adjustment.

gypsymama2008's Avatar gypsymama2008 09:48 PM 12-14-2010

One of the things that really helped me when I went off sugar for awhile was to fry a banana in coconut oil, it's very sweet and totally helped with the sweet cravings.  I also gave myself permission for a couple of weeks to eat other things I enjoy (ie Dubliner cheese, pepperoni, olives, capers, etc) without too much limit.  I totally got rid of the sweet craving in about a week and was fine after that.

shantimama's Avatar shantimama 07:07 AM 12-15-2010

 Three things help me when I find myself craving sweets like this.


1. Eat more protein.

2. Drink more water.

3. A cup of lemon tea (just the juce of half a lemon in hot water) with a spooful of honey every morning. The honey seems to satisfy my taste for sweetness without wanting more all day long. I don't know why it works, but it does, and one tablespoon of raw, local honey helps my allergies too!

plantnerd's Avatar plantnerd 07:15 AM 12-15-2010

Try to switch to really sweet fruits for a while, or a piece of toast with all fruit jam.  That being said, I will indulge my craving once a week or so to keep me balanced.

mumkimum's Avatar mumkimum 11:26 AM 12-15-2010

Eating eggs more often (esp. while breastfeeding) helped me a lot.  I'd have them with veggies and without bread/fruit on the side.  


I was never a regular soda drinker, but flavored sparkling water subbed well for 'something sweet' cravings for me.  I also worked at making it a habit to bake something when I did want something sweet (as opposed to buying junky candies which were what I'd over-do it with before).

KLM99's Avatar KLM99 07:24 AM 12-16-2010

OP here - thanks again for all the great suggestions!  Since I wrote this post I've been trying to eat more protein and realizing that I don't think I get that much.  I've also been wondering if I'm just not eating enough period.  So I've been really thinking about what my body is really asking for and realizing that maybe it's just asking for more calories in general.  Thanks again!

cyclamen's Avatar cyclamen 11:06 PM 12-16-2010

Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post
  So I've been really thinking about what my body is really asking for and realizing that maybe it's just asking for more calories in general.  Thanks again!


This is my experience as well.  I crave sugar hardcore when I am not eating enough.  When I eat a lot of fats and protein, and less carbs, I don't even think about sugar.

nettlesoup's Avatar nettlesoup 05:52 AM 12-17-2010

I had the same problem as you, and was never able to give up sugar. But I recently started taking an amino acid called L-Tyrosine, which has been used for all sorts of cravings; from drugs and alcohol to sugar. The minute I started taking it, my constant cravings disappeared! I couldn't believe it, especially as I had started taking the supplement for a differnt reason. But then my partner tried it for his cravings and it wasn't as effective for him.


But currently I'm on day three of no sugar or grains. Something I never thought I would have the willpower to do, but this time it's so much easier. And I think the longer I'm going without sugar, the less I want it which helps too! Good luck!

Magelet's Avatar Magelet 03:19 PM 12-21-2010

I stopped buying sweets (and if you are willing to whip up a batch of cookies, or brownies, then no baking ingrediants).  Completely cold turkey.  Willpower kept me from driving to the store to buy it, if I didn't have it in the house, but if it was there, I couldn't say no.

The first week or two is the hardest.

zebaby's Avatar zebaby 09:42 PM 12-21-2010


I'm glad I checked this thread! I'm similar to the OP, but really checked to help my DS. Our whole family is a bit of a sugarholic and I would love it if we could cut back. The concept of balancing diet with regards to protein & fat makes so much sense. Although I rarely eat meat, DS seems to go through phases of wanting meat almost every day. I'm sure he is needing more protein/fat than he's getting. I try to get him to eat more fruit, but since his introduction to more candy (thanks to the sweet holidays like halloween & easter), his palate has changed. I do limit his candy, but he definitely craves sweets. 


I think I will try to go cold turkey myself, adding protein to my & DH's diet, and make a conscious effort to balance out DS's diet as well and see how it goes. 

Emalin's Avatar Emalin 12:00 AM 12-22-2010

I was taught that our brains often interpret deficiencies of all kinds as sugar cravings, but that the most common imbalances associated with it are protein deficiency, protein excess and it's resulting deficiencies, insufficient sleep/overwork (especially mental work), and unmet emotional/spiritual needs. Unrecognized thirst can also be a trigger for some people. I used to have terrible sugar cravings and hypoglycemia. The only thing that worked for me was to go cold turkey for several months--not just abstaining from refined sugar, but anything sweet tasting, including fruit, as well as alcohol. After that, I was able to eat fruit and the occasional sweet or glass of wine without being set back on the sugar craving roller coaster. I also started eating eggs, a little fish, and more vegetable protein. Interestingly, I find that, even today, eating anything excessively spicy makes me want sugar, so I try to lay off the chilies. Eating regular meals and snacks also helps a lot. Finally, I think it's normal to be tempted by sweets when we see or smell them--we're biologically wired to love the stuff--so it's best not to keep it around. I've found that even strong sugar cravings are no match for my laziness when I realize that the only way I'm getting sugar will be to bake a cake from scratch.

youngspiritmom's Avatar youngspiritmom 09:45 PM 12-25-2010

Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post

OP here - thanks again for all the great suggestions!  Since I wrote this post I've been trying to eat more protein and realizing that I don't think I get that much.  I've also been wondering if I'm just not eating enough period.  So I've been really thinking about what my body is really asking for and realizing that maybe it's just asking for more calories in general.  Thanks again!

The calories thing could be it for sure. Eat things with more fat. Like the others said, eggs, nuts, peanut butter, banana milk shakes with a bit of cinnamon , olives!! :)

laurdsed's Avatar laurdsed 03:57 PM 01-01-2011

I'm subbing to this thread b/c I also want to cut out sweets and sugar.  My question for you is, what is your definition of going sugar-free?


For me, I want to avoid all sucrose and artificial sweeteners.  I haven't decided yet if I feel it's OK to add a little maple syrup or honey to something (like the granola I make).  Any opinions?  I'm backing off completely for now.  I'm still trying to figure out how to not eat chocolate, though.  

Ahimsa's Avatar Ahimsa 05:50 PM 01-01-2011

I focus on packing my diet with nutrients. I strive to eat a good size salad, a sweet potato or other orange veggie like squash, a serving or two of beans, a few servings of nuts and seeds, a green smoothie, a serving or two of whole grains, a few pieces of fruit, and some cooked veggies everyday. I also drink a few cups of green tea (no sweetner) throughout the day. Often trying to get all that in leaves me full, but if I need something more I will have some dried fruit with nuts or nut butter or a little piece of organic extra dark chocolate.


I notice if I drink coffee or black tea it sets off sweet cravings.

sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 06:24 PM 01-01-2011

I found that I have to avoid grains too in order to not have sugar cravings. If I'm not eating grains, I can have a taste of sugar and be content, but if I've been having too many grains I keep coming back again and again to the sugar.


It also helps a lot to have enough fat. While eggs are awesome at getting the first thing in the morning breakfast sugar impulses down, they last longer when cooked in butter.

MamitaM's Avatar MamitaM 07:01 PM 01-01-2011

I need to join in b/c I also crave sweeties! My main addiction right now is coke and I'm determined to limit it and maybe even get rid of it all together at some point.


I like the idea of eggs in the morning so I'm going to look for some ideas on how to make eggs in a more appealing way then what I do now. I'm also a nursing vegetarian mama.

KLM99's Avatar KLM99 11:30 AM 01-03-2011

OP here - well after a week or so of feeling good about my sugar intake, Christmas and New Years came along and totally ruined it :)  Hoping to try some of these tips again this week.  I worry about it with my kids too - the 15mo doesn't get sweets ever, but the 3yo angles for them constantly.  Seems like we're having one "special treat" every day.  I think I'm going to try to just get it all out of the house.  She doesn't want one unless she sees it.

sosurreal09's Avatar sosurreal09 11:42 AM 01-03-2011

i am a chocolate addict shy.gif

KLM99's Avatar KLM99 02:56 PM 01-03-2011

Haha.  This has become like a support group.  "It has been 2.5 hours since I last ate chocolate."

Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

i am a chocolate addict shy.gif

Pariah's Avatar Pariah 05:47 PM 01-03-2011

I came here to post something very similar. I've wondered if it is possible to be addicted to sugar/carbs. I'm not vegan anymore, but I don't like meat except for seafood. I do like eggs, though. I am thinking of stocking up on some healthy seafood and lots of salad ingredients and veggies (which I love...any kind of veggies, steamed or raw). There has been a lot of suggestions of adding fat to veggies/protein...would roasting veggies tossed in olive oil be good for that? I make good roasted brussels sprouts, tossed in olive oil and herbs and baked until tender. I do the same with carrots.


What about cheese? It is protein + fat, so small servings of it occasionally would be good, right?

Pariah's Avatar Pariah 05:53 PM 01-03-2011

Oh, and I'm not looking forward to the withdrawal from sugar/most carbs...I'm going to be REALLY grumpy for a few days, I can tell.

sosurreal09's Avatar sosurreal09 06:56 AM 01-04-2011

Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post

Haha.  This has become like a support group.  "It has been 2.5 hours since I last ate chocolate."

Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

i am a chocolate addict shy.gif


I just had chocolate in my coffee!! help.gif

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