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7 Strategies to Overcome Sugar Addiction and Control Cravings Effectively.


Embarking on the journey to break free from sugar addiction? Start with these proven tactics.



Breaking free from a sugar addiction isn't a simple "move more, eat less" equation. The reality goes beyond mere taste preferences; it delves into the intricate realms of our brain's chemistry and hormonal responses, deeply influenced by the machinations of powerful food corporations. Despite our conscious understanding of the mechanisms driving sugar cravings, the battle against these potent forces is intensified by the overwhelming influence and tactics employed by these corporate entities perpetuating this biological disorder. The daunting prospect of completely abandoning sugar appears formidable, yet it's entirely plausible to relearn habits and diminish sugar's dominating influence on our daily lives. Here, we present proven tactics to aid in breaking the shackles of sugar addiction once and for all.


Understanding Recommended Sugar Intake?


The daily recommended sugar intake differs based on gender, with an approximate guideline of six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men. When it comes to children, the allowance should be significantly lower than six teaspoons per day, advises Nicole Avena, PhD, a specialist in neuroscience research, food addiction, and author of What to Feed Your Baby and Toddler. Approximately four grams of sugar equate to one teaspoon, translating to an advisable daily limit of no more than 25 grams for women and children (especially those under 2 years old, who should avoid added sugar altogether) and 36 grams for men [1]. Avena emphasizes the lack of nutritional value in sugar, stating that it provides empty calories without vitamins, minerals, protein, or fiber.


Yet, the average American's sugar consumption alarmingly exceeds these guidelines, with adults averaging 77 grams daily and children 81 grams [2]. These excessive figures, highlighting the pervasive sugar intake, and underscore the urgent need to reevaluate dietary habits for better health outcomes.


The journey to reduce sugar consumption involves implementing carefully devised strategies, ensuring a gradual and sustainable transition toward healthier eating habits.


Navigating Sugar Substitutes with Caution!


While sugar substitutes offer potential benefits and safety, they have the potential to disrupt metabolism and trigger hunger [3]. According to Avena, these substitutes can aid individuals on diets, those managing diabetes (as certain artificial sweeteners do not cause sharp spikes in blood sugar), and those concerned about dental issues related to sugar [4].


Avena emphasizes the importance of primarily deriving calories from whole foods, highlighting that incorporating artificial sweeteners alongside whole foods is an acceptable approach. 


1Prioritize Quality Sleep for Craving Control.


Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, highlights that inadequate sleep increases the intensity of sugar cravings [5]. Consistent and quality sleep, ranging from seven to nine hours per night, positively impacts hunger hormones, aiding in reducing cravings [6].

Developing good sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a restful environment, and practicing relaxation techniques before bedtime, can significantly contribute to improved sleep quality and reduced cravings.


2Distinguish Between Cravings and Genuine Hunger


Sometimes, what we interpret as hunger is actually just a craving. How can you tell the difference? Next time you're tempted to grab that slice of cake, ask yourself: 'If my only option right now was a handful of almonds, would I eat it?' If the answer is 'no,' chances are it's a craving, not genuine hunger. Hunger allows for more flexibility in food choices, while cravings tend to be more specific. When faced with a 'no' response, try waiting for 20 minutes before acting on it. Most times, the craving tends to fade away; if not, consider a mindful indulgence.


Dr. Kien Vuu, a performance and longevity expert and author of Thrive State, suggests replacing cravings with healthier alternatives. Personally, when experiencing a craving, he opts for a walk or enjoys sparkling water. Dr. Vuu finds that delaying the response to his initial craving often leads to its natural dissipation.


When alternatives like flavored water aren’t effective, Samantha Cassetty, a nutritionist, recommends substituting regular desserts with options such as Lily's Sweets. These chocolates are sweetened with botanicals and contain no added sugar, making them exempt from your daily added sugar intake. However, it's essential to note that even botanically sweetened treats, such as those sweetened with stevia, should be consumed in moderation, as previously mentioned.


3Enhance Breakfast with Protein for Prolonged Satisfaction.


A protein-rich breakfast positively influences sugar cravings throughout the day. Incorporating protein into breakfast meals leads to reduced brain activity associated with craving responses [7]. Additionally, protein aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels, providing sustained energy and reducing the likelihood of subsequent sugar cravings.

Including a combination of protein sources like eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, or lean meats in breakfast meals enhances feelings of fullness and satisfaction, effectively reducing the desire for sugary snacks later in the day.


4Adopt Structured Dietary Habits.


Establish a structured approach. Instead of fixating on cutting out sugar, consider a shift in perspective towards enhancing your diet with healthier choices. Strive to regularly include protein, healthy fats, and high-fiber carbohydrates such as non-starchy vegetables on your plate, advises Rachel Paul, PhD, RD, the founder of This method helps maintain satiety and prevents excessive hunger, which often triggers the craving for fast-acting carbohydrates like sugar.


5. Enhance Breakfast with Protein for Prolonged Satisfaction.


Given that sugar addiction is rooted in biology rather than emotions, this method might not resonate with everyone. Not everyone can adhere strictly to the concept of "three-bite rules," but experimentation could prove beneficial without any negative consequences. One effective strategy involves purchasing high-sugar foods in individual serving sizes to aid in controlling portions immediately, suggests Paul. For instance, if you limit your supply to no more than four cookies at home, you'll naturally restrict your intake to that amount or you can lock the rest of your cookies in a safebox and use the app.


6. Mindful Reduction of Hidden Sugars in Foods.

If you're finding it hard to give up ice cream and chocolate, consider cutting back on ketchup and salsa. "Sugar is in many condiments and sauces, and one must be careful not to assume that because it's not a dessert or a sweet food it must not have sugar," emphasizes Ilene Ruhoy, MD, PhD, a physician specialized in pediatric and adult neurology and a member of the gut council for Jetson. "Sugar is found in many kinds of ketchup, mustards, salsas, marinaras, and other sauces. It can also be found in some meals such as sushi rice and polenta."


In reality, as Dr. Drucker points out, sugar is deliberately added to around 74 percent of packaged foods![8] "Sugar is the most popular ingredient added to packaged foods; a breakfast bar made with 'real fruit and whole grains' may contain 15 grams or more of added sugar—sugar is literally hidden everywhere in our food supply. Adults, children, toddlers and even babies are unknowingly conditioned to desire sugar." Developing a habit of scrutinizing ingredient labels will unveil the extensive presence of sugar in some of the most unexpected food items.


7. Hydrate with More Water.


Dr. Vuu attests that satisfying cravings for sugary foods with water can be effective, as people often mistake thirst for hunger. "One simple way to manage a sugar addiction is to drink more water," advises Cassetty. "It's an excellent replacement for other drinks and it helps with feelings of fullness, which may prevent unintentional snacking on sugary foods. In one study, people who increased their daily water intake decreased their daily sugar intake."[9]


Similarly, it's important to recognize that sweetened beverages like soda, lemonade, and sports drinks are the primary sources of added sugar in our diets. "One of the best things you can do is to trade your sugary drink for an unsweetened one," notes Cassetty. "If you have trouble doing this, you can start by cutting the amount you drink, for instance, by having a soda every other day instead of every day. Then, continue to reduce the amount you drink each week until you've dropped the habit." If you've decided to limit access to only certain days, try the app


What if the craving is always too strong?


TimePasscode is an innovative app designed to assist individuals in managing their cravings effectively. With the app's features, users can use his safebox to store snacks or beverages they wish to limit access to.


Utilizing TimePasscode, users can set a personalized passcode to lock the safebox, restricting immediate access to the stored snacks or beverages. This adds an extra layer of control and accountability, allowing individuals to resist impulsive consumption by intentionally locking away temptations until a later, more appropriate time.


By integrating technology and willpower, TimePasscode empowers users to make conscious decisions about their consumption habits, fostering healthier choices and aiding in overcoming cravings by providing a simple yet effective solution for impulse control.


  1.  Vos MB, Kaar JL, Welsh JA, et al. Added sugars and cardiovascular disease risk in children: a scientific statement from the American Heart AssociationCirculation. 2017;135(19):e1017-e1034. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000439
  2.  American Heart Association. How much sugar is too much? Date Accessed May 5, 2022.
  3. Pepino MY. Metabolic effects of non-nutritive sweetenersPhysiol Behav. 2015;152(B):450-455. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.06.024

  4. Gupta M. Sugar substitutes: mechanism, availability, current use and safety concerns-an updateOpen Access Maced J Med Sci. 2018;6(10):1888-1894. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2018.336

  5. Zurakait FM, Makarem N, Liao M, St-Onge M-P, Aggarwal B. Measures of poor sleep quality are associated with higher energy intake and poor diet quality in a diverse sample of women from the go red for women strategically focused research networkJ Am Heart Assoc. 2020;9(4):e014587. doi:10.1161/JAHA.119.014587

  6. Henst RHP, Pienaar PR, Roden LC, Rae DE. The effects of sleep extension on cardiometabolic risk factors: a systematic reviewJ Sleep Res. 2019;28(6):e12865. doi:10.1111/jsr.12865

  7. Leidy HJ, Lepping RJ, Savage CR, Harris CT. Neural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast-skipping teens: a pilot fMRI studyObesity (Silver Spring). 2012;19(10):2019-2025. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.108

  8. UCSF, Hidden in Plain Sight. Date Accessed May 5, 2022.

  9. An R, McCaffrey J. Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005-2012J Hum Nutr Diet. 2016;29(5):624-632. doi:10.1111/jhn.12368


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