Strategies for Overcoming Sugar Cravings by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson

Strategies for Overcoming Sugar Cravings

Today, we’re talking all about overcoming sugar cravings and balancing your blood sugar. 
Sugar, that sweet, irresistible, and addicting substance, is at the root of countless health issues. From weight gain and metabolic dysfunction to cognitive decline and inflammation, sugar can be a formidable opponent in the battle for optimal health. The real challenge begins with understanding that it’s not just about willpower, but about biochemical imbalances that trigger intense cravings.  Sugar can literally light up portions of the brain in the same way as cocaine or other addictive drugs. 

Why you crave sugar

We experience sugar cravings due to a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances, low blood sugargut microbial imbalances, yeast overgrowth, chronic stress, and even poor sleep quality. In the short term, sugar gives you a rush of feel-good hormones like dopamine. However, it can lead to insulin resistance, a major contributor to metabolic disorders when consumed in excess. One of insulin’s key roles is shuttling glucose into our cells.  This role can become less effective when we consistently consume high-sugar foods, leading to higher blood glucose levels and fat storage.

How do you stop sugar cravings?

So, how can we break free from the hold that sugar has on us? 


Ensure each meal includes adequate quality protein and healthy fats.  These will provide the greatest satiety and reduced hunger.  If you want, you can then add non-starchy vegetables. This combination slows down digestion and helps keep blood sugar stable.  Notice I did not include starchy vegetables, fruits, juices, or grains in this recommendation.  These are far more likely to increase blood sugar, causing a rise in insulin as well.  


Sometimes, we can mistake dehydration for hunger or cravings. Regular hydration can help mitigate these false hunger signals.  This isn’t just about drinking more water, but hydration also requires adequate minerals to properly use that water.  Try eating a pickle or drinking a little pickle juice when you’re feeling hungry between meals.  You can also add a pinch of sea salt to your water, use a low sugar electrolyte mix, or even have a cup of bone broth for those great minerals.  


Highly processed foods often hide high amounts of added sugars. By choosing whole, unprocessed foods, you avoid these hidden sugars and nourish your body with vital nutrients.
Now let’s talk about the importance of balancing your blood sugar. Balanced blood sugar levels are crucial for optimal energy, mood, and weight management. When our blood sugar is balanced, we’re less likely to experience energy crashes, brain fog, migraines, joint pains, and, yes, sugar cravings. 

How to balance blood sugars?


Exercise helps your muscles use blood glucose rather than storing it. This can help you reduce your insulin levels, improving insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.  The more muscle you have, the quicker you can eliminate sugar from your blood and burn it for energy without the need for insulin! 


Sleep deprivation can negatively impact your body’s insulin sensitivity. Have you ever noticed that you have far less willpower, far more cravings, and a larger appetite after pulling an all nighter or lacking sleep?  Create a solid and consistent evening routine to set yourself up for success with sleep.  


Sit down when eating.  Put your phone away.  Turn off the TV.  Pay attention to the food you’re eating.  Eat slowly.  Listen to your hunger cues and give your body a chance to recognize the food you’ve already eaten. This practice can support proper digestion, prevent blood sugar spikes, and help you not overeat.


Overcoming sugar cravings and balancing your blood sugar is a journey, not an overnight fix. With consistency, you’ll not only reduce your cravings but also support your overall metabolic health. Remember, each small step brings you closer to your health goals. If you feel like you’re doing all of these things, but still struggling – schedule a complimentary Holistic Health Strategy Session with me.  It’s possible you have an underlying infection or imbalance that’s driving the cravings!  Let’s dive in and find out. 

As always, I’m here with you on this journey, guiding you and providing you the information you need.


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