Practical Tips for Fixing Your Sugar Cravings: A Guide to Curbing Sugar Addiction

In this video, the speaker provides practical steps on how to overcome sugar cravings. They recommend cutting out processed and refined carbohydrates, as well as paying attention to added sugars in packaged foods. They also emphasize the importance of cutting out fructose, as it triggers sugar cravings and suppresses the hormone responsible for signaling fullness. Increasing protein intake and getting enough quality sleep are also highlighted as ways to curb cravings. Additionally, the speaker suggests recognizing emotional cravings and finding alternative ways to fulfill them. Lastly, consuming magnesium-rich foods or taking magnesium supplements can help fight sugar cravings.

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Key Insights:

  • Eating sugar increases sugar cravings.
  • Fructose is the most problematic component of sugar, increasing cravings and activating the brain’s desire for food.
  • Cutting out processed or refined carbohydrates can help eliminate fructose intake.
  • Check the „added sugars“ section of nutrition labels to avoid hidden sugars.
  • Try to limit added sugar intake and focus on natural whole fruits for sweetness.
  • The first few weeks of cutting out sugar may result in withdrawal symptoms, but they will improve with time.
  • Focus on eating high-fiber, minimally processed carbohydrates for sustained fullness and reduced cravings.
  • Consuming one tablespoon of vinegar diluted in water before a meal can help control blood sugar spikes.
  • Increase protein intake to keep cravings at bay and promote fullness.
  • Poor sleep can increase sugar cravings, so aim for at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night.
  • Sugar cravings can often be driven by emotions or habits rather than hunger.
  • Identify if cravings are emotional and find other ways to fulfill those needs.
  • Magnesium can help lower stress and aid in insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Prioritize magnesium-rich foods or consider a supplement.


We all know we need to eat less sugar, but that’s easier said than done. So in this video, I’m going to give you practical steps on how to actually fix your sugar cravings. And I’m going to tell you about my favorite supplements to help keep your sugar cravings at bay. If you follow all the steps in this video for at least 21 days, you will curb your sugar cravings and reestablish a healthy relationship with sugar.

Now, before we start, if you’re taking diabetes medications, especially insulin, or if you’re on blood pressure medications, you’ll need closer monitoring by your doctor during this period. Limiting sugar will probably mean you’ll need to go back on some diabetes medications and even blood pressure medications. With that out of the way, let’s get into it.

One of the biggest factors that drive our sugar cravings is actually eating sugar to begin with. Eating sugar makes you crave more sugar, full stop. And when I say sugar, I’m mainly talking about the different components of sugar like glucose and fructose. And it’s the fructose that is the most problematic.

We have functional brain MRI studies of people ingesting different types of sugar to show that subjects who ingested fructose, as opposed to glucose, had a stronger activation in the visual cortex to high-calorie foods. Eating fructose also showed a stronger activation in the nucleus accumbens, or the region of the brain that drives your desire for food.

So, to put it plainly, the more fructose you eat, the more likely you’re going to notice foods like chips, candy, or ice cream, and you’re going to be less likely to resist them. And to make things worse, eating fructose also suppresses your leptin hormone, or the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full and that you need to stop eating. So, that, in turn, leads to even more hunger and more cravings.

Now, what does cutting out fructose actually look like? Well, the easiest way to do this is to cut out processed or refined carbohydrates, as that’s where fructose and many other types of added sugar are usually hiding. For every food that you consume that comes in a package and has a nutrition facts label, you need to pay close attention to the section that says added sugars.

I am constantly amazed at how many foods that are advertised as healthy are just full of added sugars. Virtually all breakfast cereals, instant oatmeal, breads, mini yogurts, granola bars, or even Clif bars have way too many added sugars. Other places where sugars are hiding are juices, energy drinks, salad dressings, pasta sauces, packaged fruits, and even ketchup.

Now, the American Heart Association recommends eating less than 36 grams of sugars per day for men and less than 25 grams of added sugar for women. But if you’re trying to fix your sugar cravings, I would recommend you try to get the numbers as close to zero as possible.

Now, it’s not sustainable or realistic to keep your added sugar intake that low for the rest of your life, and you never want to get to a point where certain foods are off-limits. But if you cut out eating anything with added sugars just for 21 days, you will recalibrate your brain and your taste palette, and you’ll be amazed at how much better your cravings get after this reset.

Another benefit is that you’ll actually find it challenging to go back to the same amount of sugar you were eating before. And you’ll find that you actually enjoy many more vegetables than you thought. But one important point to bring up is that this only applies to fructose that we consume as added sugars. This does not apply to fructose or sugars that we get from fresh fruits.

Sure, some fruits have more sugars than others, and yes, the fruit that we eat today has been genetically modified to have much more sugar than what our ancestors ate. But, in general, natural whole fruits have a lot of fiber and vitamin C, which blunts the absorption of fructose. And the volume of the whole fruit makes it very hard to overeat.

Another important point is that the first few weeks of cutting out sugar can be daunting, with most people feeling like they’re coming down with a cold. You may get body aches, headaches, nausea, anxiety. But all those feelings do get better in just a few weeks. And depending on how much sugar or refined carbohydrate you were eating to begin with, you’ll also may lose a lot of water weight and along with it, a lot of electrolytes. So, if you experience those, make sure you increase your water intake up to two liters a day, which includes one or two glasses of water mixed with half a teaspoon of salt. And you can also drink a glass of bone broth to help.

But those symptoms are usually seen in people who cut out carbs completely, and you do not need to cut out all carbs to make this work. Just focus on eating high-fiber carbohydrates or minimally processed carbohydrates, the ones that will not give you as much of a sugar spike. So, lean into foods like beans, legumes, dairy, oats, and even sweet potatoes, as eating those will help you stay full and curb your cravings.

And if you are going to be eating a meal that is higher on the glycemic index or a food that spikes your blood sugar, like rice, bread, or pasta, one trick you can use is taking one tablespoon of vinegar, mixing it in water, and drinking it about 15 minutes before your meal. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which inactivates your digestive enzymes like alpha-amylase, resulting in less sugar and starches breaking down into glucose in your bloodstream. Acetic acid also encourages our muscles to be more efficient in clearing excess glucose, so we end up with a blunted glucose spike and insulin release. And that’s important because it’s these glucose spikes that keep you on the sugar roller coaster, and it’s the spikes–or rather, coming off of the sugar spikes–that’s driving your cravings. And it doesn’t matter what kind of vinegar you use, but most people use apple cider vinegar as it’s full of antioxidants and probiotics, and it may help digestion. The only caveat is that vinegar can damage the enamel of your teeth if it’s not diluted correctly. So, I would mix the vinegar in at least eight ounces of water, and I would recommend drinking it with a straw to make sure you protect your teeth.

Another important step to curbing your sugar cravings is to up your protein intake. Most of my patients who report the worst sugar cravings are the ones that do not get enough protein in their diets. You should try to get at least one gram of protein per pound of your weight. So, for most adults, eating at least 25 to 35 grams of protein per meal would be the absolute minimum requirement. Protein will also keep you full, and staying full is what will help you keep the sugar cravings at bay.

Next, one of the most common things driving sugar cravings and weight gain is poor sleep. Most of us do not get enough sleep, and if we do, it’s often not good quality or restorative sleep. Bad sleep and sugar cravings just go hand in hand. Poor sleep increases your ghrelin, or your hunger hormone, which makes you crave more sweets. Bad sleep also affects your mental health and worsens your anxiety and stress, which then triggers your cravings for calorie-dense foods like chips or ice cream.

So, you should aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night and optimize the quality of your sleep. Avoid caffeine 10 to 12 hours before bed and stop eating three hours before bed. Also, try to avoid screens like your phone or your computer at least one hour before sleep.

When it comes to sugar cravings, realize that it’s not always about your hunger. Often, these cravings are just a proxy for a state of mind and unpleasant feelings. What we perceive as sugar cravings or a need to reach for a snack is often just an urge to get that dopamine hit to relieve our stress, anxiety, sadness, and even boredom. And if you find yourself always snacking when watching Netflix or snacking when you’re working on your computer, then it’s the habit that’s driving the cravings. And building new habits or just recognizing this process will help ease those cravings.

To fix this, you first need to identify if you’re actually hungry or if this is more of an emotional craving. A good way to tell is to think, will eating an apple or a vegetable make the cravings go away? And if your cravings are for a particular type of food like sweets or chips, then you’re dealing with emotional hunger, and we need to find other ways to feed it. So, try this exercise: Next time you’re craving something sweet, drink a glass of water and then eat an apple, and then wait 20 or 30 minutes. Even if the cravings are still there, they won’t be as strong, and it will give you a chance to track down what’s actually driving your desire for snacks.

Lastly, an often overlooked mineral that helps you fight your sugar cravings is magnesium. Magnesium helps with sugar cravings in several ways. First, it helps you lower stress. And second, there’s also growing evidence that magnesium can help with insulin sensitivity and glucose control in people with diabetes or at risk of diabetes.

So, prioritize eating magnesium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, avocados, fatty fish, and Greek yogurt. Many people would also benefit from adding a magnesium supplement, as most people do not get enough magnesium in their diets. An average adult would benefit from at least 400 milligrams of magnesium per day, and those needs may vary depending on your other conditions like kidney disease or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Magnesium deficiency is actually a huge topic in and of itself, so I will make a separate video on that down the road.

I hope this was helpful, and I’ll see you in the next one.