Sweet Surrender: 5 Easy Tips to Cut Back on Sugar


“Sugar has a bullseye on its back these days”—that’s what one of the speakers said at a recent nutrition conference I attended.

But rather than rolling our eyes at all the “sugar media,” we should realize there’s truth to this messaging. Sugar stinks and it deserves all the negative press it’s receiving.

However, I don’t believe quitting sugar cold-turkey is always the answer. In reality, you need a plan. We all need guidance and using Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, we quit sugar in the Foodtrainers’ offices for one month.

As someone who has never felt especially drawn to a dessert tray or cookie plate, it was still extremely difficult. Sugar lurks everywhere. So here are a few tips if you’re planning a sugar breakup or just looking to spend less time together with your sweet old pal.

  • First, sweet begets sweet. The more sweet foods you eat, the more you’ll crave. I suggest making your first meal of the day less sweet, setting the tone for your day’s eating. Used to flavored yogurt? Switch to full-fat plain. Love smoothies? Limit your drink to just one cup of fruit, and be sure you’re blending with a mixer like unsweetened almond milk or water. Even green juices can be super sweet. Try a juice with only one fruit.
  • Think about when you eat. I’m not saying we eat sugar because we’re hungry. But when you go long periods of time without eating, your blood sugar drops. And what do we crave most when our blood sugar is low? Sugar, of course. Have that first meal of your day within two hours of waking up. Then follow a four-hour rule for the remainder of the day. Try not to go more than four hours without eating something.
  • When you hear probiotics, what do you think of? Your immune system? Maybe even digestion? What if I told you those “good” bacteria can affect what you crave? Yes, the flora of sweet cravers/eaters is vastly different from those who do not eat and crave sweets. Probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha and apple cider vinegar can help increase beneficial bacteria in your gut, and should be on your shopping list. For insurance, take a probiotic supplement.
  • Cinnamon away. I love cinnamon, especially the Vietnamese variety. Cinnamon helps regulate your blood sugar. More stable blood sugar = less vulnerable to sweet cravings when your blood sugar is low. Cinnamon also is a great stand-in for sweetness in drinks like tea/coffee where you may be tempted to add sugar or sweeteners. Also, use this as a reminder to replace your spices once in a while. If you haven’t purchased cinnamon since your last move, go out and purchase a new bottle. Freshness matters.
  • And finally, the tapping technique is getting a lot of attention for sugar-related issues. I know it sounds weird, but the idea is using acupressure points and mantras to help raise consciousness around sugar. I like this technique because eating sugar isn’t just about the cookie; we have to acknowledge the emotions involved for any lasting change to take place. Check out Gabrielle Bernstein’s video for a demonstration.

Be well, if not a little less sweet.

Lauren headshot smallLauren Slayton is the author of The Little Book of Thin and created the Foodtrainers blog. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and appeared in Allure, In Style, Cooking Light and more. She previously wrote about finding your fall inspiration.

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