4 Effective Steps to Help Break the Sugar Habit

by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.
sugar habit

Photo Credit: pixabay

Did you know that the average Briton consumes 150 pounds (68 kilos) of sugar every year?

That’s 238 teaspoons of sugar a week, which is equivalent to about 34 teaspoons a day.

Soft drinks, biscuits, cakes, and cereals are the obvious foods with high sugar content. However, there are those sneaky sugars that show up in yogurt, ketchup, cured ham, and mayonnaise. Even some so called “healthy” foods have an insane amount of sugar.

Sugar is so popular it goes by about 65 different names. Did you know that?

Sugar is everywhere.

It’s addictive, it’s harder to resist than hard drugs, and it will corrupt your entire body driving your life energy right into the ground.

So how do you break the sugar habit once and for all and banish your cravings that seemingly drive you mad?

That’s what you’re about to learn. Here are four effective steps that will help you stop the sugar cravings and do it before they even kick in.

1. Don’t buy it and don’t keep it in the house

If it’s not around you, you can’t eat it.

Would you agree?

Remember, if you’re the one doing the shopping, you can make a choice to leave with a healthy trolley.

This is part of the concept around environmental priming. If the sugar sources are not in the house, you will be less influenced to continue your habit. In other words, you will disconnect the stimulus that triggers your habit.

Out of sight, out of mind.

2. Increase your intake of superfoods

Food cravings are often a sign of nutrient deficiencies, which leaves your brain ‘hungry’.

Think of superfoods as integrating a healthy, diverse diet of whole foods. They contain soluble fibre, essential nutrients and health-boosting  phytochemicals, antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Superfoods range from berries to fish, greens, avocados, beans and even raw chocolate!

3. Supplement with chromium and glutamine

Here’s an interesting piece.

They give glutamine to alcoholics in rehab centres. The brain feeds from either glutamine or glucose. If you give it glutamine, it actually shuts down the craving response. This amino acid has been found to help reduce, and even eliminate, sugar and starch cravings within minutes.

Chromium is another blood sugar stabiliser. It has been shown to reduce sugar cravings.

In order to control the appetite and especially reduce sugar cravings, chromium supplementation does its work by sensitising the place in the brain that monitors blood sugar availability. That’s the place tells the body when it’s hungry or not hungry.

Because it’s different for each individual, in our Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor course we teach how to calculate precise doses, and when or how to take each supplement for better absorption.

CAUTION: Whereas chromium may be safe for most people, it might lower blood sugar levels excessively if taken along with diabetes medications or other supplements or herbal teas, like dandelion tea, or when taken in the fasted state or without food. Individuals with diabetes need to use chromium products cautiously and monitor blood glucose levels closely. Always speak with your medical doctor and follow their advice. Supplements taken in isolation, or in the wrong doses, or wrong combinations with other supplements or medicines, can do more harm than good. One of the aims of our Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor course is to mitigate such risks.

4. Reduce your stress and sleep more

Stress, exhaustion and sleep deprivation ignite irrational cravings in the brain. This makes us want to reach out for those highly palatable, sugary foods.

You are more likely to react badly to life’s stressors if your blood sugar levels fluctuate.

Think about that. If you are stressed out and, on top of that, get a ‘sugar high’ from that cake (which is always followed by a ‘sugar low’), how likely do you think you are to deal with your situation rationally?

With regard to making sure you get proper sleep, self control and the best of intentions are quickly forgotten in sleep deprived people.

Researchers at UC Berkeley found that after being deprived of sleep, participants displayed greater craving for high-calorie junk food. The more sleep-deprived they were, the greater the cravings.

The bottom line

What does all this mean for you, your sugar cravings and getting them banished once and for all?

Many of the aforementioned go hand in hand.

One of the simplest ways to banish sugary foods in your house is to not buy them. That means whilst you are at the supermarket be conscious of the choices you make. Avoid rushing through the task of shopping for foods. Remember, you have control of what you toss in your trolley. Click here for useful supermarket tips.

Choose whole foods. You can shift the basic balance of your body chemistry by eating superfoods loaded with essential nutrients that you could be hugely deficient in.

Supplementing with both chromium and glutamine work on stabilising your blood sugar and helping to eliminate your cravings.

Keep in mind that a well functioning body does best with less stress and optimal sleep. You can make clearer decisions, choose nutritional foods, and avoid the sugar trap when you’re operating in a body that is clean, clear and rested.

Don’t let sugar run your life nor ruin your health. You can break the sugar habit beginning right now.

So, what’s the first thing you’re going to do? Let us know in the comment section! If you’ve had success in kicking the sugar habit share the idea that worked for you.

We can all use help from each other, so please pass this along to someone who could use some rescuing!



Every other Thursday we share our research and actionable advice to help you and those you care about. If you enjoyed this, join our FREE updates.


  • Jacky Elliott

    Reply Reply August 11, 2014

    I followed the Sarah Wilson I Quit Sugar 8 week detox and have now been sugar free for around 3 months…. It’s changed my thinking ability completely as I don’t have spikes and then lows, I have a much clearer head!! xx

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 12, 2014

      Well done, Jacky, that’s a huge achievement!

      • Jacky Elliott

        Reply Reply August 12, 2014

        Thanks! xx

    • Crystal

      Reply Reply January 22, 2015

      I was reading the I Quit Sugar book. My only hold up is she said not to eat fruit. Did you start eating fruit again after the 8 weeks?

  • Emma Goodson

    Reply Reply August 11, 2014

    The first thing i am going to do is to work out how much chromium and glutamine my body needs as i am one of those people who comfort eat and it is not the healthy foods either. I am also going to drink plenty of water to rid my body of the sugar toxins and try to get myself onto a much more healthier diet.

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 12, 2014

      Emma, love your resolve, you can do this! Keep me posted, I want to know how it goes :-)

  • Zoe

    Reply Reply August 11, 2014

    Today is my food shopping day. I am going to only buy healthy options. Not sure how my naturally slim husband and daughter but hopefully will come around when start feeling the results.

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 12, 2014

      Zoe, excellent timing and well done for taking the lead with the household shopping! It’ll become so much easier for the 3 of you when the food cues are not around. Keep me posted!

  • Susan, nutrition coach

    Reply Reply August 11, 2014

    This is a really interesting and useful article and very topical! But most of the damage is done when you buy processed food, ready meals etc because they contact what the industry like to call ‘free sugar’ . So as well as all the great tips and advice above i would add :-
    try and make as much of your own meals as possible. cook from scratch – it doesn’t have to be complicated just seasonal i.e. cheap ingredients, lots of veg and some carbs and protein. Simples!
    Good sources of chromium are
    meat, whole grains, such as wholemeal bread and whole oats, lentils, broccoli, potatoes and spices i.e. a varied diet!
    Glutamine is a non essential amino acid i.e. it is made within our bodies. However if you think you need additional amounts good sources of glutamine are:-
    meat, quinoa, dairy, green leafy veg (best eaten raw) and oats
    I blogged about the sugar crisis some time ago and I’m saying very similar things to this article

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 12, 2014

      Susan, glad you’ve found this useful. Fantastic natural sources of chromium and glutamine, thanks so much for sharing and enriching the conversation!

  • Layla Sweeting

    Reply Reply August 11, 2014

    I love articles like this! They should be published in all the daily papers on a daily basis!!
    Kicking sugar is extremely difficult. For me anyway. I have tried about 3 times and always end up coming back to it, sometime it’s my fault, sometimes it other peoples. And in some ways a contributing problem is that I am from a generation who were given sugary things all the time as children. My parents didn’t and still don’t realise how much sugar is in food. I despise the way, still today, sweets & chocolate are seen as a reward, a treat, something to aim to receive. As a parent myself I am constantly faced with other parents, childcare settings etc offering sweets as a thank you or well done. I wish sweets could be outlawed altogether!! There’s so many occasions throughout the year too where sweets are forced onto us too; Christmas, Easter, birthdays, the list is endless. I hate it when people buy my children sweets & chocolate and if I can get away with it they go in the dustbin. Advertising is another huge bugbear of mine. Kellogg’s and their ghastly Coco Pops being advertised inbetween kids programmes, grrrrrrr!!!
    It’s a never ending battle I find to protect my boys from the danger of sugar, but also to shed myself of intrinsic habits, but I will never give up! I wish my parents knew what we are learning now, and severely limited my exposure to sugar as a child. Thankfully now things are beginning to change.
    Fascinating article, thank you!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 12, 2014

      Layla, I really enjoyed reading your comment, love to hear you’re enjoying our articles :-) I must admit I did giggle a bit when you said “sweets should be outlawed” — we have a poll for that in case you haven’t voted yet: https://thehealthsciencesacademy.org/health-tips/should-sugar-be-taxed/

    • Jennifer

      Reply Reply April 29, 2015

      Layla, my mother did limit our sweets growing up, and i’m still a hardcore addict, if that makes you feel any better. We are, i believe, a product of our times. Fortunately, the younger generation is educating themselves and changing things for the good. And the schools here in the US have in recent years started radically limiting “treats”. I’m optimistic for our children.

  • Bushra

    Reply Reply August 11, 2014

    This is a fantastic article Alex and some great tips too. I struggle with getting sugar out of our diets too despite the fact that we mostly eat home cooked meals..oh well, one step at a time I guess :)

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 12, 2014

      Exactly, Bushra: one step at a time, with the first one being “environmental priming” — if executed consistently and long enough, future cues won’t excite your brain as powerfully :-)

  • Natalia

    Reply Reply August 12, 2014

    I’ve done it all. First approach was ‘out of sight out of mind’, then chromium supplements, and the rest just fitted in by it self :)

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 12, 2014

      Natalia, thanks for sharing, great to hear it worked for you! :-)

  • Anna Martin

    Reply Reply August 13, 2014

    Great article and I agree a lot of it. Out of sight out of mind. We try to live a sugarclean life eating home cooked
    food and a lot of raw. The thing that helped a lot was to implement greensmoothies into our life and the children loves it and are not craving sweets anymore. I also make some natural sweets on birthdays or dinnerparties and use banana, lucuma, dates as sweeteners. The only sugar we use sometimes is coconutsugar. We never buy yoghurt and drinks not eaven ketschup, we make all of this things and that gives us a chanse to show our children that are alternitives. Ice cream made out of frozen bananas, homemade almondmilk and real vanilla tastes so much better then store bought ice cream :-) .

    • Alex

      Reply Reply August 13, 2014

      Anna, your recipes sound delicious and so creative! Thanks for sharing such fantastic tips with everyone, can’t wait to hear more from you in future posts :-)

  • sharon abel

    Reply Reply August 26, 2014

    I have been sugar free for 3 months now,In the first month I only eliminated sugar, and allowed myself anything else I wanted, it made the transition much easier, I lost 5lb in that month, in the second month I cut out bread pasta and rice, I have tried this before and it never worked, I think because I still had sugar in my system, so craved being full. I lost another 9lb in the second month, I only stopped bread because the seeded batch loaf I used had 1.5g of sugar per slice!!My appetite has shrunk massively, I feel confident that I will never eat sugar again. If you told me I would be saying this a year ago I would never have believed it.not having sugar stops you craving food generally, I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full, it sounds so simple, but with sugar in your system it is almost impossible. I eat protien fat and lots of veg, only 1 piece of fruit a day as fruit has a high sugar content. If manufacturers weren’t putting sugar in almost everything is would be much easier, I cant understand why thet are allowed to put sugar in bread and coleslaw etc, its as if they want us all addicted!!

  • Aurora

    Reply Reply October 1, 2014

    I’m going to use the sugar in the house for art!!

  • susan, nutrition coach

    Reply Reply October 1, 2014

    Hi Sharon
    I think you’ve done a great job, as well as the weight loss which is pretty impressive you have also got much more balance in your life . the principle of eating when hungry and stopping when full is so simple but very effective. Great work
    And Aurora, you could be on to something there!

  • Dawn

    Reply Reply October 16, 2014

    Hi, thanks for this amazing article. I’ve just started the nutrition course and finding these articles are so helpful. I do have cravings for sugar, mainly when at work, if i try and take healthy snacks, then it’s ok. One question please, I didn’t realise there is sugar in yoghurt, is this all yoghurt or just the fruit yoghurt? One of my problems is retraining my other half! !!! I don’t buy it, he does…

    • Alex

      Reply Reply October 16, 2014

      Hi Dawn! Lactose is a type of sugar, however the process of converting milk into yogurt removes it. So check the label for any “added” sugars, e.g. from sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, jam or sweetened fruit mixes. Having said that, you can get plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruits!

  • Marina

    Reply Reply October 16, 2014

    Very helpful article,even if I know a lot about sugar already. There should be a words about yeast too! Yeast loves sugar like nothing else. It makes them grow, multiply and damage your body work. I did yeast cleanse and I’ve seen the difference after it! Lost wait, lost cravings and I am not tiered anymore. Always reading sugar amount on a packages I buy, less then 6g, depending on product. And yes, sugar hiding under different names in a packages!!! Learn that, please.

  • gosia

    Reply Reply October 21, 2014

    Really enjoy reading the articles and comments. I feel that putting any new advice into practice and sharing the results with others is the best way to learn.


    Reply Reply October 30, 2014

    i couldn’t believe how much sugar I take daily

  • ani

    Reply Reply November 2, 2014

    I have about a tbs of raw honey a day in elixirs and about 4 to 5 (it was about 9) bananas in my morning smoothie with berries, greens and superfoods. I don’t actually have sugar most days as I only eat a takeaway about once or less a week. I like to think that these are ‘different’ sugars but I guess sugar is sugar and I need to change my diet. I do like potatoes and they are quite a stable :( I have just started the course and looking forward to changing my way of thinking. Thank you.

  • Catalina

    Reply Reply January 6, 2015

    I stopped suddenly my consumption of sugar. I read articles and books about how sugar can harm us. I stopped about 8 months ago, and believe I used to eat lots of sugar. My decision consisted on stop buying any product containing SUGAR as an ingredient, so I started reading every single label, and from time to time (monthly) have a real desert or sweet treat were I was concious that I was putting in my mouth tones of sugar without being hidden in any other product where I did’t expect to find sugar.
    My cravings for sweet things are now over every month or so and I feel proud of the response of my brain to it, after experimenting this I realise that definitely sugar was sending a wrong message to my brain.

  • Tracey

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015


    I only have 1 sugar in (proper tea) I LoVe biscuits and can be quite greedy with them AND chocolate. I don’t buy processed foods and keep tins such as tomatoes different beans only (still contain sugar…I hear you say)

    Maybe I now need to STOP putting them in my basket

    I do eat a lot of fresh veg and fruit and have recently taken up with smoothies (although christmas AND shifts got in the way….) I also work a lot of nights and THIS is where my downfall can be as this is when I eat the wrong stuff…..(biscuits….no crisps) and cereals because I thought they might be lighter on my digestive system……maybe my smoothies would be better here?

    I drink a lot of herbal teas and boiled water with a slice of lemon……caffeine I have found makes me shake furiously so I have had to limit myself to a rare coffee.

    Mmmmmm ThankYOU Alex……I think I have a lot further to go than I once thought xxx

  • Lydia

    Reply Reply May 26, 2015

    Instead of sugar in my oatmeal, I love putting chunks of mango in it. I find that it really tastes great and I don’t miss the sugar at all. You also get the benefit of a fruit!

  • Sharon

    Reply Reply September 11, 2015

    I have been off sugar and chocolate in the past. Then I would have a taste and it would taste nasty!!! But, and this is huge… I would continue eating is saying things like i know I love chocolate, even though I was physically feeling awful. It’s powerful stuff and I still struggle. I gave found gymnema Silvestre helpful as a tea. Perhaps I can now try chromium and glutamine.

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