How to Beat Sugar Cravings

A couple of years ago, Alex and I watched the documentary Fed Up, which highlights the negative effects that sugar has on our bodies. You know sugar isn’t exactly a superfood and that donuts are the healthiest breakfast, but you might not know that sugar is hiding in nearly everything. We gave up sugar for a month and as a result, we learned a lot about the sweet stuff, the places it hides, and how to deal with sugar cravings. So here are a few tips, in case you’re trying to get off the sugar train.

Wondering how to quit sugar? Here are a few tips to help you beat your sugar cravings!

Find where sugar is hiding

The first thing you have to do is find where sugar is hiding in your diet. You might not realize that there is added sugar in your pasta sauce or in your canned green beans, so the first step is knowing where it’s coming from. Things like yogurt and granola bars might be obvious ones but salad dressings and soups might have more sugar than you think. If you’re trying to cut out sugar completely, you have to check the labels carefully!

Know the other names for sugar

When you’re scouring an ingredients list, you probably won’t see “sugar” listed. But you might see things like high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, and others. There are over 60 different names for sugar! Keep an eye out for the sugar code names!

Get plenty of sleep

When you’re lacking sleep, you’re more likely to reach for sugar. Initially, you’ll get some energy from that candy bar, but an hour later you’re going to crash hard. That means you’ll be craving more sugar.  (See how easy it is to get caught up in this cycle?) If you’re well rested, you’re more likely to resist temptation.

Sprinkle on the spices

Cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg can all sweeten your food naturally and they help balance your blood sugar. This reduces your craving for sugar. Skip the sugar in your coffee and try a sprinkle of cinnamon instead!

Reduce your stress

I know, I know, reducing stress is easier said than done, but often times we crave sugar when we’re stressed. Try taking a walk, talking with a friend, or even just taking a few deep breaths. Less stress = less cravings. If you just can’t resist some comfort food, go for a creamy piece of cheese or

Drink plenty of fluids

When you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to reach for a sugary snack. Instead, keep a water bottle with you so you’re never thirsty. Add a little lemon in your water for flavor or sip on unsweetened green tea.

For more tips on reducing your sugar intake, check out my sugar-free grocery list recommendations!

sugar free foods

How do you beat your sugar cravings?


  1. Love this! One of the benefits of tracking my food for several years was that I would realize where sugar was hiding and it was definitely eye-opening. It’s pretty ridiculous how much companies will put sugar in stuff, especially items that don’t need sugar to begin with!

  2. Great tips Liz…I can’t imagine a month without any sugar…but I guess I can think of way worse things!

  3. Sugar is hiding everywhere! It is really hard to avoid it. I am also trying to reduce the intake the easiest way is just to make everything yourself 🙂

  4. This is why I’m so hesitant to buy any store bought soups or salad dressings. If I’m going to indulge in a sweet treat, I’d rather it be a cookie than poured over my kale salad!

  5. This may sound stupid simple, but when I don’t think about sugary foods, I don’t crave them. But the minute I think about something sweet, I want it!

    Great post!

  6. I couldn’t agree more! Sleep and stress are big ones for me. I also found when I was marathon training I craved way more sugar than usual. I’m sure a big part of that was being really tired (and hungry)!

  7. I love all of these tips; I wouldn’t say that I’m always craving sugar, but when I’m craving a lot of it, I usually need to go to bed, eat a big nutritious meal, or go do a good workout, or just rest. 🙂

  8. I *just* wrote a post on this for The Kitchn. We have a couple similar tips. Staying hydrated is definitely key! My coworker and I gave up sugar for January and I’m at that point right now where I want something, but don’t need it. Almost over the hump!!

  9. Its crazy to think that sugar is in almost every packaged food! Even tomato sauce! Reading ingredient labels have helped me to become aware of all the places sugar is hiding. Great tips, thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. I really enjoyed that documentary too! It’s amazing how much sugar is in things that you dont even think about being “sugary” like breads, pasta sauces, etc.

  11. These are awesome tips! I’m doing the Whole30 this month so I have been reading labels like crazy and it is amazing where you can find sugar hiding!

  12. These tips are great! I’m trying to eat less sugar so this definitely helps!

  13. It’s truly amazing how much sugar is hidden in our foods! My husband and I are starting Whole 30 tomorrow, it’s about to get real! 🙂

  14. Great article!! I try to deal with my sugar cravings by reducing the amount of free sugars i consume, or add natural sweetness to my water with fruit and a piece of dark chocolate!!

  15. Great tips and timing since I’m staring at chocolate right now. Sugar is hiding everywhere and in so many things. I’ve cut it out before but sweets always seem to sneak back in. I just think being conscious when you’re eating it. I like to avoid it in things when I don’t need it like cutting it out of coffee a couple years ago although I have a coffee shop drink with it every now and then. I really need to watch that movie.

  16. I remember when you guys started the sugar free month. It motivated me to do that as well. Honestly, I always feel better when I give up sugar…it’s just really hard LOL.

  17. Great info! It is crazy to me how much sugar is in so many things!
    Trying to convince my husband to let it go and def the challenges that go along with it.

  18. This is all very thought provoking, thanks for sharing your pointers! Becoming aware of the other names for sugar is something that I have never done and something I definitely need to get into the habit of. Perhaps a sugar-free length of time would be smart to try out…

  19. when I’m short on sleep I definitely crave sugar much more. These are all great tips and yes, cutting down on refined sugar has so many health benefits.

  20. I pretty much stay away from added sugars as much as I can. I know during the holidays I can tell when I have had too much too.


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