How to Stop Sweet Cravings

Nov 08, 2019

Question: I had too much leftover Halloween candy. Thankfully, my hubby was one step ahead of me, and he hid the rest of the candy from me! I’m having really bad sugar cravings right now, though. Is there an effective way to stop the cravings? 

A: One of the best way to get past a sugar craving is to not engage with it, not give into it, just keep living your life. Many people say they are plagued with cravings after eating too much candy on Halloween or Christmas, but within a day or so of getting rid of the candy (or those darn leftover cookies!) and reducing their sugar intake, the idea fades and they are fine enjoying their usual healthy whole foods.

So think of these cravings as short-lived, and you'll come out the other side soon! 

You might find that less-intense sweet things, like flavored yogurt or fresh fruit are enjoyable without being so habit-forming and craving-inducing than manufactured processed foods (which are designed to give a maximal dopamine hit). I also find using sugar free hot cocoa or something sweetened with low calorie sweetener is useful as a helping hand in getting the sweet taste without the triggering the thoughts of "more, more more!" (Sugarless sweeteners can be rewarding to the brain but are less potently reinforcing than sugar)(1). 

You can also experience the craving differently, by relabeling it as "my brain wants a reward". When you treat the sensation this way, candy or sugar isn't the only answer, you can go get your heart rate up with some exercise, meditate, play a video game, or play some music, all of which can also trigger the same reward circuits and relieve the craving (2-5). It never hurts to find some romantic action either, if the time and place are right (6). 

Sources: 

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003688/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27956050

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11958969

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9607763

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25773636

 
 

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