We’re all guilty of this at some point: sneaking an extra cookie out of the box or another scoop of ice cream from the sink after you’ve told yourself you’ve had enough. While sugar plays a role in giving your body the energy it needs to live, when consumed in excess, it can lead to some serious side effects — and sugar cravings.
“Sugar is linked to fatigue, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, inflammation and general malaise,” he explains. Susan Pierce Thompson, Ph.D., a cognitive and brain scientist specializing in the psychology of eating, founder of Bright Line Eating, and author of Rezoom: Powerful reframing to end the crash-and-burn cycle of food addiction. “The biggest problem with sugar is that it’s as addictive as cocaine – so scratching the itch only increases the itch,” says Dr. Thompson.
If food freedom and true prosperity are your goal this year, consider giving up sugar and ditching those cravings to live a longer, healthier life.
To do this, you can either eliminate all added sugar from your diet for good (keep reading for Dr. Thompson’s tips) or consider a short detox.
“If you have a long history of sugar cravings, consider eliminating sugar entirely. It is really true that for some people, with some substances, nothing is easier than some. But if you are aiming for a period of detox followed by reintroduction Give yourself eight weeks to reset your system. Your taste buds will adjust after two weeks, and the addiction centers in the brain will follow with a major recovery after eight weeks,” says Dr. Thompson.
Read on for Dr. Thompson’s science-backed, results-oriented tips anyone can implement, and for more information on how to eat healthy, don’t miss the best foods to crush sugar cravings and lose weight fast.
Sorry, but you have to go for cold turkey if you want to curb sugar cravings for good. “Just like rebooting a new non-smoker’s addiction with a first puff, when it comes to sugar, there is nothing easier than some,” says Dr. Thompson.
She recommends creating a “shiny line” for sugar: a “shiny line” is a clear limit you can’t cross. If you’re firm with your bright streak, it won’t take long for the cravings to subside,” she explained.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to swear by all things sweet to curb sugar cravings. Dr. Thompson talks about added sugars here, not natural sugar: “All-natural sugar, fresh fruit is good—fiber slows digestion and protects the system from the spikes and crashes you get from fruit juice, smoothies, or dried fruit.”
Reducing sugar cravings involves more than just cutting out added sugars. Dr. Thompson says you also need to cut back on sugar substitutes, such as artificial sweeteners.
“Our taste buds have direct connections to addiction centers in the brain, so stimulating them with artificial sweeteners (some 600 times sweeter than sugar) keeps cravings alive. Plus, artificial sweeteners lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiome, resulting in poorer regulation glucose and insulin,” says Dr. Thompson.
Yes, it is possible to achieve your goal in just 14 days! “The good news is that every single taste bud cell in our tongue will die, disappear and be replaced by a completely new cell in just two weeks. So after you quit sugar and stop assaulting your taste buds with fake sweetness, in just two weeks. Everything you eat will taste sweeter. !” says Dr. Thompson.
Related: The #1 Best Supplement for Breaking Sugar Cravings, Says Science
…particularly suitable protein and large amounts of vegetables. “The need for fuel can turn into cravings; when the tank is full, you are less likely to fall prey to a combination of hunger, stress and a cue for a sugary snack,” says Dr. Thompson.
Here’s a tip: “If people don’t comment on how much you eat (vegetables in particular), you’re not eating enough!”
While you’re cutting out sugar for two weeks, don’t overdo it with long, in-depth recipes. Try to make your meals as simple and easy as possible.
“[Eating simple meals] You’ll keep your food cravings low, even as you lose weight and get healthier,” she says. Simple food has been shown to direct the brain to lower the obesity set-point so that it doesn’t fight you off with a hormonal bombardment as your extra weight comes off. In fact, when researchers simplified people’s diets to the max, feeding them one tasteless food for all of their calorie needs, weight faded and both hunger and cravings dropped to zero,” Dr. Thompson explains.
“By following these suggestions, research shows that food cravings will steadily decrease for eight weeks until reduced when cravings are reduced or absent anymore!” Dr. Thompson says.