How to Stop Eating Sugar in 5 Simple Steps

How to Stop Eating Sugar in 5 Simple Steps

Sugar is everywhere. 

From the cereal aisle to our morning coffee, its ubiquitous presence makes it incredibly challenging to cut back. 

Growing up in the 2000s, I was bombarded with magazines that demonized sugar and promised foolproof ways to quit. I must have searched for "how to break a sugar addiction" or "how to stop eating sugar" hundreds of times, hoping for a magical solution. Unfortunately, the advice was often more myth than fact, leaving many of us still struggling with persistent sugar cravings.

Over the years, I’ve discovered healthier alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth. Working with sugar substitutes has helped me develop better eating and drinking habits that curb those intense cravings without sacrificing flavor. 

It's crucial to recognize that there are good sugars and bad sugars. We are the owners and decision-makers of what we consume and feed our bodies. 

So, if you're ready to embark on a journey toward healthier choices and finally learn how to stop eating sugar the right way, let's dig in and explore some effective strategies.

Is Sugar Bad for You? 

Sugar isn’t inherently bad for your health. Yet, it can be detrimental if you consume too much of it, just like any other food. 

Sugar is naturally present in all foods that contain carbohydrates: fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains. This natural sugar should be part of your diet. It supplies the body with the energy, fibers, minerals, and proteins you need to function well. 

The problem lies in the excessive consumption of added sugars, i.e. the sugar in processed foods and drinks. Having sugar cravings for added sugar and indulging them can contribute to a greater risk of heart disease according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Sadly, the study notes that most U.S. adults consume more added sugar than needed.

However, if we shift the conversation to natural sugar, we change the narrative. 

Natural sugars are safe to eat because the foods they make up usually come with other components that slow down sugar digestion and prevent spikes and drops. This sugar is necessary for a balanced diet because the foods it comes in are primarily fruits and dairy products.  

I considered this when devising the recipes for my healthy bites. If you take a look at each pack of bites, you’ll see they contain organic dates. Medjool dates, to be precise. 

photo of almond cashew healthy bites made with lime and organic dates

Since dates are high in natural sugars, they’re the perfect sweetener for a homemade healthy snack. But aside from sugar, organic dates also contain: 

  • Nutrients like B6 and iron 
  • Fiber that helps you feel fuller for longer 
  • Polyphenols that protect the body from inflammation 
  • Potassium that contributes to heart and muscle health

So, by blending dates with nuts, oats, and seeds, you’ll have energy balls that satisfy more than just your sweet tooth. For my Quick Fit Bites, I use dates because I absolutely love the taste, they go well in any raw snack, and act as the ideal binding ingredient. This ensures our bites are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and kosher, so anyone can enjoy them!

And to help you cut back on refined sugar and lean into the natural, let’s talk tips. 

5 Steps to Help You Stop Eating Sugar

Cutting out sugar is easier said than done. But even when it’s done, it’s often not done right. 

Giving up sugar in a day is not a manageable and sustainable road to a sugar free diet. The key is to slowly reduce your intake of foods high in added sugars over some time, to wean off it, in a way. This will help you develop healthy eating habits and stick to your decisions. 

With this in mind, here are 5 tips on how to stop eating sugar the right way. 

Pair Foods Together 

Pairing foods with no sugar and foods with added sugar is a good strategy to curb sugar cravings. If you pick your no-sugar foods well, you’ll have a nutrient-dense diet that ensures a balanced intake of nutrients. 

For example, pairing foods with proteins and healthy fats with added sugar can stabilize your blood sugar levels, prevent huge spikes, and keep you feeling full. Eating foods high in proteins and fiber, like nuts, seeds, vegetables, and lean meats, can slow your digestion and reduce the likelihood of sudden sugar cravings. 

So, next time you want to snack on some chocolate, pair it with strawberries and Greek yogurt for a satisfying combination of healthy fats and fiber. Or get a 2-in-1 option with our healthy bites: delicious and healthy. 

Get Enough Sleep

According to a study on the associations between short sleep duration and appetite-regulating hormones, insufficient sleep can disrupt the hormones that regulate hunger. This leads to increased cravings for high-sugar and high-fat foods. 

The study explains that when you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin (appetite stimulant), and less leptin (signal of satiety). This hormonal imbalance makes you hungrier and triggers sugar cravings. 

Due to sleep deprivation, your decision-making and impulse control centers don’t function that well. As a result, you find it harder to resist unhealthy foods and don’t have the energy to prepare something more satiating. 

So, try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night so your body and brain can work together to quit sugar. 

Skip the Soda

Above, I mentioned how much sugar (in teaspoons) an adult person should consume. And I know what you’re thinking - who could possibly consume 9 full teaspoons of pure sugar per day? 

All of us. 

In fact, we consume even more than that because a 12-ounce soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar, while a regular orange soda has 13. Studies show that soft drinks are the number one source of added sugars for US citizens of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels. 

Skipping that can of Coke after your meal can have a profound effect on reducing your sugar intake. The high sugar content leads to rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar, which trigger even more sugar cravings. 

Instead of reaching for a soda, consider some healthier options to quench your thirst: 

  • Herbal ice teas 
  • Sparkling water 
  • Diluted homemade fruit juice
  • Still water infused with fresh fruits 

Limit Portion Sizes

As a start, you can also limit your sugar portion sizes so as not to feel completely deprived of sweetness. When you control the amount of sugary food, you can enjoy many different foods, including low sugar snacks like our natural bites

image of healthy energy bite packets in a wooden basket

The brain is a funny thing - it’s smart when it needs to be, but tricked when it’s not paying attention. When you prepare a large portion, your brain finds it harder to tell when you’re full. This leads to overeating, even when the food isn’t particularly high in sugar. 

So, by choosing smaller plates, you can better regulate your caloric and daily sugar intake. And of course, you can still have high-sugar foods on a low sugar diet, but go for half a slice of chocolate cake and supplement the rest with berries or nuts. 

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Consistency is key when aiming for a sugar free diet. Establishing new, healthier eating habits takes time and repetition.

If you keep up with your strategies for giving up sugar, you can shift your palate and preferences away from sugary foods. Psychological theory around habit formation states that repeated actions become habits over time. So, if your fingers always rummage in the snack drawer in hopes of snagging a chocolate bar, consciously move toward a piece of fruit, granola, or a no sugar snack like the Almond Cashew bites, instead. 

image of almond cashew bites in a jar with a lime in the background

The more you choose healthier, lower-sugar options, the more natural these choices will become. This can retrain your taste buds to appreciate the natural sweetness of healthy foods and reduce your desire for refined sugar. 

What to Cut Back On

Sometimes, nutritional labels don’t state that a product has ‘sugar’ in it. Instead, they use many different names in their ingredient lists, including: 

  • Glucose
  • Sucrose 
  • Fructose 
  • Dextrose 
  • Cane sugar
  • Maltodextrin 
  • High fructose corn syrup 

And if you want to limit your sugar alternatives too, stay away from products that contain: 

  • Honey 
  • Molasses 
  • Agave syrup 
  • Maple syrup 
  • Coconut sugar 
  • Fruit juice concentrate 

In any case, be careful when doing your grocery shopping. In the US, nutritional labels don’t separate added sugars from natural sugars. Instead, they’re all under an umbrella term - ‘total sugars’. This means there’s almost no way you can know how much of these ‘total sugars’ are added unless you do your own research. 

Finishing Thoughts

Quitting sugar can be a challenging but rewarding journey. Mine was anything but easy, but after some months, I got the hang of it. 

The most important takeaway is to remember that the key to success is consistency and moderation, not deprivation. 

Learning how to stop eating sugar means understanding and implementing practical strategies into your daily routine, like opting for healthy snacks instead of unhealthy ones. 

Start small, stay consistent, and celebrate your progress along the way. And when you really want that chocolate bar, allow yourself to enjoy it. A balanced approach is the healthiest path forward, after all. 

Back to blog