If you’re working toward better health and you have a sweet tooth, you are familiar with the epic and eternal battle between man and sugar. You start your day with a spinach smoothie, but end it with ice cream. You want to drink more water, but soda is calling your name so much louder! How in the world can you kill your sweet tooth?! I’m glad you asked!
Kill Your Sweet Tooth By Controlling Your Sugar Intake
- Stop the constant stream of sugar, or at least understand how it’s undermining your efforts. One of my biggest aha moments a few years ago was realizing that I crave sugar because I’m constantly drinking/eating sugar. I know, it’s not rocket science. But in my mind, I was “healthy” because I was drinking diet soda instead of regular, and eating low calorie ice cream instead of full fat. Meanwhile, the constant stream of artificial sugar (low calorie or not) was triggering a constant craving for more sugar. Obviously taking in no sugar at all would solve the problem. But that’s a nearly impossible goal when you’re first trying to kill your sweet tooth. So for now, try forcing yourself to drink a bottle of water in between servings of soda. Or snack on some vegetables before you indulge in that “healthy” sweet treat. Just breaking up the constant flow of sugar intake can begin to curb cravings.
- Check food labels for added sugars. When you’re trying to eat healthier, processed or packaged foods seem like a convenient option. But if the first, second, or third ingredient on the label is sugar, your “healthy” snack is just feeding that sweet tooth! Watch out for sugar by all of its names – cane sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, and 51 more!
- Take small steps. If you normally take five sugars in your coffee, try four. Keep using four sugars until you can’t tell or don’t mind the difference. That might take a few days or a few weeks. Once you’ve fully adjusted to four sugars, take it down to three. Keep going until you’re down to one or none. I used this same approach for my soda intake. I wrote down how many ounces I drank on the first day and made it my goal to drink less the next day, even if it was just one ounce less. Taking it one small step at a time will make your plan to kill your sweet tooth feel much more doable. Remember that sweet is sweet. So replacing your sugar with stevia, though a healthier alternative, is still contributing to your sweet tooth.
- Make a last-ditch effort before you give in to your sweet tooth. Some people drink an 8 oz glass of water before they indulge, in an attempt to fill up their stomach. Others have found a bite or two of sour food quickly eliminates sugar cravings. Cinnamon could also do the trick! It reduces blood glucose levels (helping to curb sugar cravings) and can often dupe the body into believing it has indulged in something sweet. Still others allow themselves the indulgence, but only after waiting 15 minutes. Many of them find their craving subsides, or a distraction arises, during that time.
- Cut sugar altogether for a few weeks. This is the most effective approach, but also the most difficult! If you can completely cut sugar from your diet for two to three weeks, you’ll be amazed at what you learn! A break from sugar caused me to realize how often I was using sugar to medicate emotions, and just how much my cravings controlled me. And after my taste buds had that break to reset, I found that naturally sweet foods like fruit adequately satisfied my (reset) sweet tooth.
Kill Your Sweet Tooth By Substituting Other Foods and Flavors
- Be mindful of everything you eat and drink. One of the easiest and fastest ways to take in too much sugar is by eating it mindlessly in front of a screen. Make it a point to really pay attention to every bite you eat, whether a salad or a cookie. Notice every flavor, think about the different ingredients that went into it, chew slowly, and set down your utensil between bites. If you’re experiencing and enjoying food at that level, a half cup of ice cream can feel like more of a treat than the pint you inhaled binge watching Netflix.
- Stay hydrated and eat plenty of healthy fats. When you have a sweet tooth, every stomach growl provides an opportunity to indulge. So keep hunger at bay by drinking water throughout the day, including an 8 oz glass of water before every meal or snack. When you do eat, always try to incorporate a healthy fat, like olive oil, avocado, nuts, or seeds. These fats will help you to feel full and satisfied much longer than carbs and sugar will, and help you avoid sugar cravings.
- Eat protein and fiber. Both protein and fiber slow down sugar absorption in your body, helping to prevent the glucose spikes that trigger your sweet tooth. Fiber, found in nuts, berries, and vegetables, also comes with the added benefit of slowing your digestion so you feel full for longer.
- Explore new and different flavors. A lot of the reason we love sugar is that it’s delicious. Duh! It triggers our taste buds in a pleasurable way, especially if the rest of our diet is bland. But we have four other types of taste buds – salty, sour, bitter, and umami – left to explore! Experiment with new spice and seasoning blends (watching out for added sugars). Or order something off the menu you wouldn’t normally try. You might find spicy or umami foods are just as satisfying to your taste buds as sugar!
- Make it a food adventure or challenge. I personally hate wasting food. So utilizing healthy food delivery services like Imperfect Produce and ButcherBox has provided the perfect challenge to keep me on track with healthy eating. I’m more likely to resist a fast food run if I know the mushrooms in my fridge are about to go bad, or that the chicken needs to be cooked today. Or try visiting a farmer’s market every Saturday. Buy two or three healthy new foods and incorporate them into your menu that week. The more fun you have on your journey, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it.
Kill Your Sweet Tooth Utilizing Alternative Methods
- Get plenty of sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’m reaching for sugary coffees and pastries and vending machine pick-me-ups when I’m tired. When you’re well-rested, your body won’t be craving those quick fixes for energy.
- Manage stress. Similar to sleep, stress can drive you to seek a quick fix for comfort and energy. It’s why so many people gain weight when they’re facing hardships. Download our free ebook for 17 practical ways to manage your stress levels.
- Exercise regularly. You don’t have to drive to a gym. (Although that’s never a bad thing!) But a simple walk around the block or a 10-minute home workout can help to clear your head, stir up some natural feel-good hormones, and distract you from that nagging sweet tooth.
- Get your fix using your sense of smell. The body’s a funny thing. Simply smelling something sweet and indulgent can often trick your brain into believing you actually ate those things. I can’t get enough of candle scents like cinnamon roll and sugar cookie. They make my entire house smell like I just whipped up a batch of homemade goodness! And you don’t have to look far to find body washes, soaps, and lotions in similar scents.
Wrap It Up
By controlling our sugar intake, substituting other foods and flavors, and utilizing alternative methods, we can loosen sugar’s grainy grip on us for good. What helped you to kill your sweet tooth? Be sure to share your best tips in the comments!
P.S. Ready to curb emotional eating once and for all? We’ve got ya covered!
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