You may benefit from these 22 tips on how to eliminate sugar from your diet if you are no stranger to a cookie at ten o’clock, a piece of chocolate for an afternoon snack, and an ice cream or cookie before bedtime.
Has your relationship with sugar become too intense and too severe? Do you think you might even have a sugar addiction? Then be sure to read on carefully for a list of no less than 22 tips to reduce your sugar intake.
With the tips below, you can normalize your relationship with sugar again.
Table of Contents
- 1 22 Tips to eliminate sugar from your diet
- 1.1 Learn to recognize the hidden sugars
- 1.2 Choose a healthy snack when experiencing a slight hunger pang
- 1.3 Avoid sugar substitutes after eliminating sugar from your diet
- 1.4 Make clear resolutions for yourself
- 1.5 Eat something at least every 4 hours
- 1.6 Stop emo eating and find another outlet
- 1.7 Don’t be too hard on yourself
- 1.8 Start each day with a hearty breakfast
- 1.9 Slowly reduce your sugar consumption
- 1.10 Go for a high-protein lunch
- 1.11 Get enough sleep
- 1.12 Listen to your body instead of your head
- 1.13 Vary your diet sufficiently
- 1.14 Ask for support from those around you when eliminating sugar from your diet
- 1.15 Add flavor without using sugar
- 1.16 Opt for tasty but sugar-free alternatives
- 1.17 Stop drinking sugar
- 1.18 Eat more fruits and vegetables (including as snacks)
- 1.19 Take action when you get a craving for sugar
- 1.20 Write down your experiences and insights in a notebook
- 1.21 Move more
- 1.22 Final tip on how to eliminate sugar from your diet: Do you still crave sugar? Then eat it right after lunch
22 Tips to eliminate sugar from your diet
We don’t have to tell you that cookies and candy are high in sugar. But sugar is also often hidden in unexpected places.
For example, concentrated fruit juices are real sugar bombs…
They contain very little fiber (which slows the absorption of nutrients), causing your sugar levels to skyrocket.
Read the labels of your food items
Especially with processed food products (such as ready-to-eat meals), it’s best to check the label.
The rule of thumb is the following: The further back sugar is on the ingredient list, the better.
But beware because sugar also often goes under a disguise, such as dextrose, fructose, glucose, or sucrose.
Tip: For an overview of all the designations of sugar, please refer to our page on The different types of sugar explained.
And even in healthy foods, such as fruit, there are many sugars.
Take care with alternatives to sugar
Be careful with products often recommended as sugar alternatives, such as honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, and coconut blossom sugar.
Because even though these products contain “natural” (unrefined) sugars, they are still additional consumption, potentially leading to excessive sugar consumption in general.
Choose a healthy snack when experiencing a slight hunger pang
Just because you no longer wolf down the chocolate-coated cookies as your 10 am or 4 pm snack doesn’t mean that snacks are entirely out of the question!
Just replace that quick sugar rush with a healthier alternative, such as:
- A handful of unsalted nuts (these are high in healthy fats and make you feel satisfied for longer)
- Dark chocolate (with at least 75% cocoa) because it contains much less sugar
- A boiled egg
- Snack vegetables (a carrot, small cucumbers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, a little raw cauliflower, etc.)
Avoid sugar substitutes after eliminating sugar from your diet
Sugar substitutes (aspartame used in light soft drinks, for example) may seem a good way to eliminate sugar.
But in practice, you better pay attention anyway. Indeed, artificial sweeteners have minimal effects on sugar levels and contain no calories.
But they do taste sweet, and therefore they confuse your poor brain…
This is because your brain has become used to the taste of sugar over the years and its effect on your body.
Then when you eat (sugar-free) sweeteners, your brain thinks:
“That tastes sweet, so that must be sugar.”
But because the expected “sugar effect” fails to materialize, your body just starts craving sugar more (which is really unfortunate given the toxic relationship between sugar and disease).
As a result, your brain will send out a hunger stimulus screaming for real sugar.
Make clear resolutions for yourself
Do you have a wedding or family celebration planned this weekend where dessert and cake will be on the table anyway?
Then make suitable arrangements with yourself beforehand… Do you allow yourself an exception or rigorously go for total abstinence and withdrawal?
That way, you don’t have to react impulsively to temptations when they are suddenly in front of you…
Also, prefer not to leave for a party hungry but eat something small (and healthy) at home beforehand. That bowl of nuts or party snacks on the table will suddenly seem much less tempting!
Eat something at least every 4 hours
You’ve probably noticed it yourself … The temptation to reach for a snack or cookie is greater when you’re hungry.
Your sugar level is relatively low then, so your body will ask for a boost faster.
So always be one step ahead of your hunger by eating something healthy at set times (and at least every 4 hours).
Stop emo eating and find another outlet
Do you also reach for a snack, a piece of chocolate, a cookie, or candy more often when you feel a little down? Then you are indeed not the only one…
In fact, sugar is the seducer of choice for emotional eaters.
Emotional eaters are people who tend to reach for sweet and unhealthy foods when they suffer from stress, sadness, or other negative feelings.
If you know you use sugar occasionally or often as comfort, you can find another outlet for those feelings.
Why not try sports, walking, running, swimming, meditation, a sauna visit, reading a good book, or just chatting with a friend when stressed?
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Resolving to eat less sugar is like many other good intentions…
Don’t throw in the towel too quickly, even if you do go off the rails and briefly break your self-imposed rules.
The occasional sin is okay (and may help you stick with it for longer), so it’s really not bad if you eat a nice portion of chocolate mousse or a delicious doughnut at that party.
Start each day with a hearty breakfast
Starting your day with a hearty breakfast is always a great idea. For people who want to kick a sugar habit, breakfast has many more benefits!
By paying enough attention to that first meal of the day, you’ll simply crave less food during the day and, therefore, fewer cravings for sugars.
Preferably choose a sugar-free breakfast (no sweet cereal) and go for lots of protein, fiber, and healthy fats (oatmeal, granola, and whole grain bread, for example).
These give you a satiated feeling for longer, making you less likely to reach for a sweet snack in the morning.
Preferably start your day with a sugar-free, protein-rich morning meal.
For example, half an avocado with a boiled egg or a bowl of oatmeal with a tablespoon of chopped nuts and a dash of cinnamon.
These proteins make you feel satiated and can help reduce sugar cravings later in the day.
Slowly reduce your sugar consumption
Banning all sugars from your life in one fell swoop may be too drastic and a bridge too far for some.
You are more likely to succeed if you slowly reduce your sugar consumption.
- first, delete all sugary soft drinks from your menu,
- only then sweets,
- then cakes and pastries,
- then cookies, etc.
That way, you don’t have to go completely cold turkey all at once and still have a relatively sugar-free diet!
Go for a high-protein lunch
Avoid pre-packaged products and ready-made options. In fact, these often contain a lot of refined sugar. This usually applies to salads as well.
Like breakfast, a lunch high in protein and vegetables makes you feel satiated for a long time.
Lunch is an important meal (but not as important as breakfast).
Go for fresh, purely natural products such as boiled eggs, oily fish, or sweet potatoes.
Make sure you fuel yourself correctly because when your blood sugar gets too low, sugar is the first thing you crave…
Get enough sleep
Numerous scientific studies have shown that our brain craves high-calorie foods faster after a lousy night’s rest.
Therefore, if you have not slept well, you will crave fast food and fatty foods such as French fries, hamburgers, and fast sugars.
Indeed, this means that poor sleep hygiene can also eventually lead to being overweight and even obesity!
Those who want to eliminate sugar from their diet would do well to go to bed on time. Taking care of your sleep hygiene is also important, such as no more smartphones before bedtime and washing your down sleeping bag after a summer camping trip.
Listen to your body instead of your head
The desire for sugar often comes from our heads and not because our bodies are really in need of those sugars.
Next time you feel the urge for a cookie or a piece of chocolate, ask yourself if your body really needs it…
Maybe your brain just needs a little reward or comfort?
You’ll find that in many cases, the answer is that second one, so you don’t really need that snack.
Vary your diet sufficiently
Eating the same thing every day is almost certainly going to make you crave sugar more.
So make sure your diet has a lot of variety and different foods.
Ask for support from those around you when eliminating sugar from your diet
It may be a bit much to ask your family members and/or roommates to join you in getting off sugar.
However, you can consider asking them to support you in difficult moments. You could also request they do not tempt you unnecessarily by flaunting sweets, crisps, nuts, snack bars, etc., around the house.
Add flavor without using sugar
Would you like to make certain foods a little more palatable by dipping, smearing, or marinating them?
Then know that ready-made sauces are often high in sugar (you should read Facts about sugar you probably didn’t know yet for even more knowledge and insights).
Use herbs and spices instead, such as turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic, oregano, or rosemary. Tip: Try to avoid salt as much as possible.
Herbs and spices add flavor, contain virtually no calories, and have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Opt for tasty but sugar-free alternatives
You put your best foot forward during your sugar rehab period, so it’s okay to have something in return. So treat yourself to a tasty, sugar-free dessert once in a while.
You can find many delicious recipes on the Internet, such as oatmeal apple cake with dates or sugar-free chocolate mousse.
In short, who claims these days that tasty sweets cannot be made without sugar?
Healthy snacks do exist! But what do you eat instead of chocolate, crisps, or cookies?
Sugar is everywhere in our society as some snacks seem healthy but secretly contain a lot of sugar, such as sweetened yogurt/quark, one of those seemingly “healthy” energy bars, or a ready-made smoothie.
Tip: Make yourself a stash of healthy snacks to keep in your bag. Then, suppose you suddenly have an irrepressible craving for something sweet. In that case, you can satisfy your hunger and desire with a responsible option!
Stop drinking sugar
Do you drink coffee or tea with sugar and/or milk? Then you can already make a significant impact by stopping this.
Not easy and certainly takes some getting used to in terms of taste, but… Think of the results and the medium-term effect! After a while, the cells of your taste buds will renew again, so give it enough time.
Slowly wane yourself off sugary drinks
What sugars are you still drinking? Fruit juices, alcohol, soft drinks, energy drinks?
Just say goodbye to it all, but do it step-by-step.
In the long run, you have a higher chance of success if you gradually reduce your sugar consumption than if you abruptly stop all consumption (cold turkey).
Drink as healthily as possible
Juices seem healthy but can be very deceptive, especially if you don’t make them fresh yourself.
While they may contain fruits and vegetables, they often also contain added sugars. With fruit juice, the risk of consuming too much fruit (sugars) is high because you drink it. A glass of juice easily contains 4 to 5 pieces of fruit.
Best of all, you would just drink water.
Tip: If you find “plain” water too dull, add fresh mint and/or slices of lemon or orange. Or you can opt for a glass with 50% fruit juice and 50% water.
Prefer real fruit
If you drink fruit juice as an alternative to get enough fruit, you’re better off having the real thing.
Namely, the “real” fruits also contain fiber (essential for digestion, intestines, and gut flora) and other healthy nutrients, in addition to the delicious taste!
And chewing real fruit also gives you a better sense of satiety.
Eat more fruits and vegetables (including as snacks)
Make sure your refrigerator is stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables.
This makes it easier to choose a healthy snack, and preparing delicious vegetable dishes is much quicker.
Take action when you get a craving for sugar
Do you suddenly experience an almost uncontrollable craving for sugar?
Then go do something that makes you happy.
Go for a bike ride or a walk, dance to your favorite song, make a nice cup of tea, read a book, walk the dog, or call your parents, brothers, sisters, or friends!
There’s a good chance you won’t feel that massive craving for sugar after that.
Write down your experiences and insights in a notebook
Do you always crave something sweet at the same time? Write it down, set the alarm 10 minutes earlier, and have a healthy snack within reach.
Also, write down how you feel and find out if you feel improvement. For example, you may experience fewer headaches, have more radiant and beautiful skin, and have more energy.
Understanding how your body responds to sugar alternatives works to motivate you to persevere and get rid of your sugar addiction.
Exercise and physical activity are always good, even if you stop taking sugars. It can increase your energy levels and reduce stress.
Several scientific studies show that short periods of exercise, such as a brisk 20-minute walk, already reduce cravings for sugary foods.
Taking a little exercise helps in 2 ways in the fight against sugar addiction:
- You physically create distance between yourself and the food you crave.
- You produce endorphins thanks to exercise, a feel-good chemical in your brain that can help push cravings for sugar into the background.
Final tip on how to eliminate sugar from your diet: Do you still crave sugar? Then eat it right after lunch
If you want to give in to your craving for sugar during your waning-off period, then preferably do so right after your main meal.
By taking your sugars for dessert, rather than as a snack between meals, you mix them with the fiber you ingested during your main course.
As a result, the spike in your blood sugar will be less.
Ideally, you would also eat your sugars as early in the day as possible.
You are more likely to burn them throughout the day than if you consume some sugars late at night, just before bed…