How To Reduce Sugar Cravings - THE FIT MUM FORMULA

How To Reduce Sugar Cravings

If you want to reduce sugar cravings, you’re going to need to reduce the amount of sugar you’re eating.


Sounds simple enough, but we’re not just talking in your tea and cake, sugar is everywhere and comes in many different forms, some more natural and less processed than others, at the end of the day it’s all sugar.


Luckily after showing you how to reduce sugar in your diet – even the sneaky stuff that doesn’t call itself sugar, I’ll tell you a few ways you can still have occasional sweet treats that don’t give you the energy highs and lows, the cravings for more, or the tooth decay.

reduce sugar


Sugar is just a form of carbohydrate and ultimately all carbohydrates are broken down into sugar eventually, just at different speeds. A jacket potato with baked beans is a much, much slower to digest than jelly sweets. I’m still going to refuse to use the words ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ though. If you were half way round running a marathon and your energy levels were dropping you need sugar in your system quickly – glucose sports drinks, energy gels, even sweets themselves can be used. But how often are you running a marathon (an actual 26 mile run, not what feels like a marathon picking up after your kids!)? Is sugar (and what type) appropriate is a better question. If you’re experiencing energy highs and lows and cravings for sweet things, you likely need to reduce sugar in your diet.


People’s tolerance of sugar (or indeed all carbohydrates) appears to vary, regardless of the Glycaemic Index of the food, fat content or fibre content. Research is still being done but it appears genetics, epigenetics (how the genes you have behave), fitness levels and other factors all play a part, with some people being able to eat more sugar and carbohydrates than others. But everyone has their own limit and exceeding this will lead to negative outcomes like the aforementioned energy and craving rollercoaster and even pave the way for more sinister conditions like insulin resistance and diabetes.

Your pancreas pumps out insulin every time you eat (more so with carbohydrate/sugary foods) so the more you eat (again sugary foods in particular) the harder your pancreas has to work. It can and will oblige, but only to a point, and this is why the body becomes ‘resistant’ to insulin’s presence in people who are overweight and/or too much sugar. Insulin then stops doing its job of removing sugar from the bloodstream, blood sugar remains high, and this wreaks havoc on the body causing permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.


Watch ==> How To Stop Craving Chocolate


I’m no doctor and diabetes is a complicated condition, but incidences of diabetes in the UK have increased from 800,000 just before by the ‘eat low fat but high carb’ dietary recommendations were introduced in 1983 rising to 1,600,000 just before the end of the last century. Just Saying.

“Marketing companies rarely actually call sugar, sugar!”

The confusing thing is that sugar comes under so many names, partly because it does come in different forms and partly manufacturers know we’re wise to the word sugar. Anything that ends ‘ose’, so sucrose, dextrose, maltose, ribose, glucose, fructose and galactose are all forms of sugar. Some types (namely unprocessed) are better than others, and not all sugar is added as an ingredient, for example galactose combines with glucose to make lactose, the sugar found naturally in milk. Here’s a list of some of the more common one’s you may come across, and what I think of them:



  • Honey; completely natural, especially raw, untreated honey. Contains vitamins and minerals, as well as antibacterial properties. A good natural sweetener in small quantities.
  • Maple Syrup; as the boiled and filtered sap of the maple tree, this is a very natural, unprocessed sugar. It’s also very sweet so a little bit goes a long way.
  • Date syrup; extracted or squeezed from dates (no surprises there), this is minimally processed and contains some nutrients. It is extremely sweet so you don’t need much. Whole dates put through a food processor can also be used in place of sugar in baking and puddings, adding even more nutrients, especially fibre. It’s still sugar, mind, so shouldn’t be eaten freely.
  • Coconut sugar; the dried sap from the coconut tree, like maple syrup the processing is minimal. It’s still sugar, but contains some nutrients and a little fibre, and is low GI compared to other sugars.
  • Black Treacle (Molasses); a by-product of processing sugar beet, this is very high in minerals. It’s still sugar essentially, but does offer a really good dose of nutrients with it at least.
  • Agave nectar; derived from the Agave tree and low GI, the end result is a far cry from its natural source. Very high in fructose, this highly processed sugar is thought to be a key player in insulin resistance due to its high fructose content.
  • Evaporated cane sugar; yes it’s from a sugar cane, and yes it’s been dried out, but that just makes it plain old sugar! Marketers will play with words to make things sound better/healthier. Learn to distinguish fact from hype to avoid being taken in.
  • Brown Rice Syrup; rice starch is broken down into smaller sugar particles, then removed of impurities, While this sounds natural, the end result is pure glucose that is absorbed very quickly into your bloodstream, while offering little to no health benefits.
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate; as it sounds, the very concentrated juice from fruit. The remaining nutrients are nowhere near the amount in fresh or even dried fruit, and the fibre has been removed, leaving a syrup that the body processes in the same way as other sugars.
  • Golden Syrup; whilst made in a similar way to molasses, nutritionally golden syrup is very similar to regular table sugar, and should be consumed only in minimal amounts.
  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS); the processed starch from corn, your body doesn’t like this totally man made cheap sugar at all. It has been linked to a number of detrimental health effects and should be avoided as much as possible. It’s mostly found in processed foods, if you need any more excuses to stop eating so much of them.



There are also non-calories sweeteners that give the taste of sweetness without any (or very few) calories. Artificial ones commonly used include Acesulfame, Aspartame, Saccharin, and Sucralose. These are highly controversial. They have been classifies as perfectly safe when consumed in normal quantities (i.e. so long as you’re not consuming 30 cans of diet soda a day or something similarly unrealistic), yet critics link artificial sweeteners from everything from IBS to cancer. My personal view is like with any food substance, unless you know from experience it causes you problems then the occasional consumption won’t hurt so long as you’re eating natural foods most of the time and an overall healthy diet.


Watch ==> Which Is Better, Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners?


“There are now sweeteners that are the best of both worlds, which when used occasionally, can allow you to satisfy your sweet craving.”


The following three natural sweeteners are naturally low calorie and are our favourite choices as you’ll get your sweet hit without having such a dramatic effect on insulin levels (though it does have a small effect, so they shouldn’t be used in unlimited amounts). Some people report that artificial sweeteners increase cravings for sweet foods overall and it’s not clear why this is, though it may be due to encouraging a sweet tooth and a preference for sweet foods. See how you feel, if using sugar alternatives doesn’t curb your desire for high calorie junk food sweet treats then maybe you’re better off weaning yourself off most sweet foods and sticking to fruit for sweetness most of the time. For most of us these alternatives (in moderation) are a healthier way to get the occasional sweet fix without consequence.


Erythritol, which also occurs naturally in fruit, is a sugar alcohol that is also a prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria in our gut and so benefiting digestion and nutrient absorption. Use 2 teaspoons of Erythritol in place of 1 tablespoon of sugar. As a sugar alcohol, it can cause digestive upset in some people or when consumed in excess.


Xylitol powder is a sugar alcohol that looks and tastes like sugar and can be a substitute for the same amount of sugar. Xylitol is actually made in the human body as well as birch tree bark and sweetcorn cobs. It slows digestion, making you feel full for longer, as well as protecting against tooth decay, and for this reason (as well as the cool after taste you get) is why it’s the most commonly used sweetener in chewing gum and breath mints. As another sugar alcohol it doesn’t agree with everyone’s digestive system.


Stevia, a South American plant that is dried and ground to a sugar (or liquid extract) consistency, is becoming more popular for these reasons. It does not affect fat storing hormones and may even have health benefits such as being antiviral. Stevia is extremely sweet; a tiny bit goes a long way, though many commercial brands are bulked up.


What you want to be doing long term is to train your taste buds to be more sensitive to a sweet taste and be satisfied with just the natural sweetness from fruit. But for the occasional treat or when you fancy something sweet, you don’t have to always miss out if you choose wisely.


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