Sugar is sweet—obviously—but refined sugar isn’t all that good for people, especially if consumed in large quantities. Most sugar junkies bent on ditching the habit are confronted with the usual suggestions. Don’t keep high-sugar foods around, break unhealthy eating patterns, focus on nutritious foods, eat more good stuff, cut back on refined carbs, get enough sleep and exercise more. Nothing is wrong with these suggestions. Unfortunately, they don’t always work to stop sugar cravings. Don’t worry, there are other ways to kick a sugar jones, including some sweet psychological techniques. Learn how to stop sugar cravings with these seven options. Read on.
For those not in the know, EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. The technique involves visualizing a sugar-heavy food, stamping it with a craving number rating and then spouting a series of phrases that effectively acknowledge the craving, the reasons behind it and affirming self-love. While stating these phrases, a person must repeat cycles of finger-tapping on bodily meridian points that go from the head to collarbones and underarms. The maneuver has to be repeated until the craving is gone.
Delay Means Discard
Sometimes simply holding off on surrendering to a craving will offset the urge—and with it the sugar-based consumption. This works because just thinking about diving into a sugar craving generates the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, which only serves to heighten the urge to gobble down some sugary item. The good news is these ghrelin-increased urgings don’t last long—maybe 15-30 minutes max. So, the ability to hold off for a little while can defeat cravings.
Distract & Conquer
There are mixed opinions on whether fighting a craving is a win-win solution. Some research indicates that outright denial may even accelerate a person’s sugar urge. If true, this means resistance is futile. One possible option to outright resistance is distraction. When a sugar craving hits, jumping into an engaging activity may be the solution. This technique goes hand in hand with the delaying technique.
Mind Over Cravings
This approach refers to imaginal retraining, which is reportedly easily implemented. The technique is based on the notion that people have innate and learned associations involving approaching desired things (think sugar) and distancing themselves from negative things (think sugar again). German studies reveal that cravings can be decreased when people simply imagine themselves moving away from something they want, like sugar.
Hypnosis may be old school, but there is growing evidence that it can strengthen a person’s ability to make conscious choices—like eliminating sugar cravings. It does this by jettisoning harmful beliefs and connections and generating alternative behaviors. For the record, it doesn’t involve a hypnotist taking over a person’s willpower.
Avoid Sugar Magnets
Some sugary items are known as hyper-palatable foods. These foods are dangerous because they trigger hypothalamic dopamine-based reward mechanisms, stimulating appetite-related hormones, like ghrelin. Sugars can also lead to insulin jolts that at first feel great and then subside. When that happens, unjustified rebound hunger can be triggered to offset the feel-good slide. The bottom line is that people with sugar cravings need to avoid hyper-palatable foods because they can trigger unhealthy cycles. Move to protein snacks and water to cut these problems short.
Out Of Mind—Out Of Tummy
Obviously, keeping sugary foods out of reach is a good idea. If they are not available, they can’t be eaten. But there is another benefit to removing craved items. The practice can cut cravings in general. It is a matter of classic conditioning. Making these goods hard to get decreases their positive attraction. In turn, healthier less sugary foods become more attractive.
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