20 Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life

As the saying goes – everyone is talking about sugar, but what are they doing about it? It’s my fervent wish that they – and you – are working on quitting the stuff. Why? The short answer is that sugar is an extraordinarily destructive substance that most people eat far too much of. The longer answer is that virtually every day, more studies are proving what we in the optimal health community have always believed: that sugar plays a pivotal role in the development of many of the devastating illnesses we fear most, namely heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s to name a few.

Granted the body does need trace amounts of sugar to function, but the average American is eating sugar by the pound, not the molecule. Some estimates put the average adult intake at close to 130 pounds of sugar a year – an astonishing amount of any substance, much less one which such disastrous health implications. So what do we do now? In a nutshell: kick sugar to the curb – your life absolutely depends on it.

Here are a few thoughts on how to break free and get sugar out of your life now – so you can live the sweet life for years to come:

1. Eat regularly (initially). Eat three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day. For many people, if they don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks. With time, as you break free from sugar and start eating more fat and protein and fewer carbs, you won’t need to eat as often.

2. Choose whole foods. The closer a food is to its original form, the less processed sugar it will contain. Food in its natural form, including fruits and vegetables, usually presents no metabolic problems for a normal body, especially when consumed in variety.

3. Do a cleanse. My experience has been that when people do a proper cleanse, not only does it reset their appetites but it often decreases their sugar cravings. After the initial sugar cravings, which can be overwhelming, our bodies adjust and we won’t even want the sugar anymore and the desire will disappear.

4. Have a breakfast of protein, fat and phytonutrients to start your day off right. Breakfast smoothies are ideal for this. The typical breakfast full of carbs and sugary or starchy foods is the worst option since you’ll have cravings all day. Eating a good breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings

5. Try incorporate protein and/or fat with each meal. This helps control blood sugar levels. Make sure they are healthy sources of each.

6. Add spices. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.

7. Take a good-quality multivitamin and mineral supplementomega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3. Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse and the fewer nutrient deficiencies, the fewer cravings. Certain nutrients seem to improve blood sugar control including chromium, vitamin B3 and magnesium.

8. Move your body. Exercise, dance or do some yoga. Whatever movement you enjoy will help reduce tension, boost your energy and decrease your need for a sugar lift.

9. Get enough sleep. When we are tired we often use sugar for energy to counteract the exhaustion.

10. Be open to explore the emotional issues around your sugar addiction. Many times our craving for sugar is more for an emotional need that isn’t being met.

11. Keep sugary snacks out of your house and office. It’s difficult to snack on things that aren’t there!

12. Don’t substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar. This will do little to alter your desire for sweets.

13. Learn to read labels. Although I would encourage you to eat as few foods as possible that have labels, educate yourself about what you’re putting into your body. The longer the list of ingredients, the more likely sugar is going to be included on that list. So check the grams of sugar, and choose products with the least sugar per serving (I teaspoon of sugar is roughly equivalent to about 4 grams). Become familiar with sugar terminology and recognize that all of these are sweeteners: agave, corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, cane sugar, cane crystals, fruit juice concentrates, molasses, turbinado sugar and brown sugar.

14. Sugar in disguise. Remember that most of the “complex” carbohydrates we consume like bread (including whole wheat), bagels and pasta aren’t really complex at all. They are usually highly refined or act just like sugars in the body and are to be avoided.

15. Scare yourself straight. While I won’t say our national love affair with sugar is all in the mind – there is a strong physical component to sugar addiction – one way to kick off your sugar-free journey is to re-frame the way you think about sugar. Treat it like an illicit drug, a kind of legal form of heroin, a dark force to be avoided, and a substance whose use leads to physical ruin. Next, take a look at CBS’s 60 Minutes “Is Sugar Toxic?” story – it’s a potentially life-changing report for anyone who needs just a bit more inspiration to help them kick sugar.

And if you have acute sugar cravings, try these:

16. Take L-glutamine, 1000-2000 mg every couple of hours as necessary. It often relieves sugar cravings as the brain uses it for fuel.

17. Take a “breathing break”. Find a quiet spot, get comfortable and sit for a few minutes and focus on your breath. After a few minutes of this, the craving will pass.

18. Distract yourself. Go for a walk, if possible, in nature. Cravings usually last for 10-20 minutes maximum. If you can distract yourself with something else, it often passes. The more you do this, the easier it gets and the cravings get easier to deal with.

19. Drink lots of water. Sometimes drinking water or seltzer water can help with the sugar cravings. Also sometimes what we perceive as a food craving is really thirst.

20. Have a piece of fruit. If you have to give in to your cravings, have a piece of fruit, it should satisfy a sweet craving and is somewhat healthier. Stick to low sugar fruits, like berries, and remember, always eat your fruit, don’t drink it.

  • Julie Jones

    Great article! Thank you :) I am a psychologist and health coach. These ideas will be very helpful…thanks again!

  • How about tracking while cutting down your sugar! I would recommend Amiigo, it tracks everything you do and present it neatly on your smartphone. http://igg.me/p/239460

  • So glad you enjoyed it Julie.

  • K

    what kind of detox are you referring to? what do you drink or eat and for how long?

  • Hi K,
    Dr.Lipman has developed his own, two week, cleanse that cut’s out sugar, amongst other inflammatory and problematic foods. You follow an easy meal plan and drink specially developed shakes and take supplements that helps clean your gut.
    You can read all about it and order it here: https://www.bewellbydrfranklipman.com/products/cleanse.html
    Please just let me know if you have any other questions about it!

    Katrine, Be Well Team

  • AFC

    You can detox your body just by eating only lean meats (fish, chicken, turkey), fruits, and vegetables. Leave out starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes, etc.

  • Kelly

    What about monk fruit extract? It tastes better than stevia. It’s 0 calorie. I’m almost sure there has to be something wrong with it bc it seems to good to be true. Would it be suitable for someone on a candida diet?

  • lou-cee

    This is simply the old “Atkins Diet” in disguise. I have been an Atkins believer for years, and I’ve always gotten chastised for it. Now, all of a sudden, sugar is the culprit and everybody is buying into it. Really??

  • C. Harding

    Eating fruit if you have a sugar craving is just giving in to the craving in a “healthy” way. Your brain does not differentiate between “good” and “bad” sugar. Most cravings only last 3-5 minutes. If you can distract yourself for that time the craving usually goes away without you having to give in.

  • Monk fruit, or Luo Han Guo has actually been used for a long time in Chinese medicine! If it’s a pure product, test it out and see how you feel. In general it’s a good alternative to sugar and as you said, many prefer the flavor to that of stevia. Good luck quitting the sugar! – Katrine, Be Well Team

  • Anonymous

    Monk fruit, or Luo Han Guo has actually been used for a long time in Chinese medicine! If it’s a pure product, test it out and see how you feel. In general it’s a good alternative to sugar and as you said, many prefer the flavor to that of stevia. Good luck quitting the sugar! – Katrine, Be Well Team

  • Anonymous

    Hi K,
    Dr.Lipman has developed his own, two week, cleanse that cut’s out sugar, amongst other inflammatory and problematic foods. You follow an easy meal plan and drink specially developed shakes and take supplements that helps clean your gut.
    You can read all about it and order it here: https://www.bewellbydrfranklipman.com/products/cleanse.html
    Please just let me know if you have any other questions about it!

    Katrine, Be Well Team

  • Anonymous

    So glad you enjoyed it Julie.

  • Can someone explain what is so bad about Splenda?

  • Anna Savage

    tastes horrible…?

  • Anna Savage

    No.. buying OUT of it… We’ve known this a long time… This has nothing to do with the “Atkins diet”.. a silly gimmick. Not all carbs are bad. Whole grain organic brown rice is amazing for your health. Refined Sugar is a toxin… you need to avoid it: Simple.

  • mking

    The aspartame in Splenda I’ve been told is worse than sugar. But, when you research Splenda, spend some time reading up on Aspartame. Seems like a healthy, 0-calorie option but has more long-term effects.

    Edit: Nevermind, I got confused with Stevia! My apologies.

  • Dan Bridson

    On the topic of detoxes, please give this detox a try it works very well. I do this detox twice a year and you really notice the difference in body and mind function! You have to be very strict with yourself and it will work wonders, trust me!


  • Dan

    This detox is awesome and works very well: http://experiencelife.com/article/fast-track-liver-detox/

  • guy lancaster

    6. multivitamins – waste of money, 9 detox – daft fad. Dont tox in the first place. Rest look ok

  • Andrea

    You are still confused, aspartame isn’t isn’t Splenda or Stevia. It is in Equal (and Diet Coke, light yogurt, etc).

  • Kathy Rogers

    chemicals…..can you say poison? they don’t even allow it in their food in Europe…where people count more than money as in USA>

  • Mish

    What about chocolate cravings? Dark chocolate cravings. Does that fall into the sugar addiction category or is that an entirely different addiction?

  • Susan

    I’ve heard Gymnema leaf extract helps with sugar cravings, “the sugar destroyer”

  • Suzanne

    There are many different detox methods that you can read about here: http://www.guidetobodycleansing.com

  • jsm interactions

    Detox is Great but instead of sugar i prefer pure Jaggery direct from processing plant.which is natural and contains iron ,which is good for health and immunity.As for detox ,i prefer drinking Green leaves(like spinach and carrot) juices or mix of veg. and honey salads in the morning with empty stomach.All detox cleanse is here.

  • jewella

    uhm Anna, that’s what the atkins diet is all about it to not consume any sugar and only have lean meats, fruits, veggies and very small portion of complex carbohydrate. On Atkins you have no sugar and no carbs. Lou-cee is correct.

  • Anonymous

    Number 14 made all the difference for me. And by difference I mean
    dropping roughly two pounds/week for two months with little change to my lifestyle and diet beyond finding good, healthy substitutes for the “bread” and pasta available at most supermarkets and increasing my intake of healthy fats like ex virgin olive oil and avocados, etc.

  • Jill

    chewing gum helps too. like, sour patch kids flavor. 5 calories and no sugar, it help you curb that sweet tooth and also gives you the “munching” sensation!

  • Gabrielle Rivera

    but carbs are a necessary part of everyone’s diet so both are half correct

  • sqwerty

    that’s mainly a magnesium craving. grab a banana and use it (as food only)

  • alicia

    i have to have a whole lot of sugar in everything thats sweet and everytime i try and stop with a lot of sugar i get really bad headaches idk what to do

  • Kenneth Watt Sr.


  • Mike

    this is just wrong. While in the brain, glucose is glucose… this is true. However, a fruit vs candy is defiantly different. Fruit(assuming not dried) has not only water but fiber and vitamins (and fat too if its,say, an avocado). The fiber will slow the absorption of the sugar down significantly more than a piece of candy would, and you won’t get a “rush” of sugar so to speak.

    its also not the brain. It has more to do with insulin. Slower absorption of sugar reduces the insulin load needed and is easier for your body to handle.

  • Liz

    Try Lili’s chocolate bars they are sweetened with stevia and delicious! You can find them at Whole Foods or Natural Grocers. OR online.

  • Betseymcqueen15

    Thank you! People are still so stuck on the old advice!

  • Betseymcqueen15

    Nothing about this article told you to eat unhealthy levels of protein…

  • CatbirdFarm

    I find stevia has an unpleasant aftertaste. I tried Lili’s and was really dissatisfied.

    Look for dark chocolate that is greater than 68% cocoa and very low in sugar. It’s more satisfying and thus easier to eat just a square or two.

  • The one piece of advice here I don’t quite agree with is “scaring yourself straight.” Yes, we need to be aware that processed foods and sugars are not good for us, and our population needs to eat healthier. However, by making such a strong statement, please be aware that those in the eating disorders (ED) community are struggling against a belief that many foods are “dangerous,” and their counselors are trying mightily to guide patients back to eating. Please be mindful of the language you use when discussing these topics. Many people are reading and listening.

  • Sheri

    my question is about stevia. When you talk about sugar, does this include all things that are sweet in nature, like stevia? (and fruit) A friend of mine , a sugar addict, has substituted stevia for all her sweet indulgences. I think she way overdoes it with the stevia and is consuming quite a bit of it every day. I’m alarmed at the amount of stevia she consumes and am noticing she is having some issues – that I believe are kidney related. Would love advice on use of stevia. Thank you!

  • William Bennett

    What about eating the source directly – try Cocoa Nibs – straight up raw cacao. Can eat them straight, use in smoothies, replace chocolate chips with them, add to granola, etc.

    Most people are going to be magnesium deficient – and nutrient/mineral deficient on the whole – due to the horrible agricultural practices stripping the soil and rendering it empty.

  • Stuart Perry

    Fruits and vegetables are carborhydrates. with very little or no proteins and fats. Most all fruits are full of sugars.

  • anh shan

    Since the recent past I , found myself to be having an excessive craving for sugar, however through gossip I suspected that I, my sugar levels were more than unusual, this this was further proved when I analysed my sugar levels and found that it was 207 as a rating. Now I use a prescribed drug Tolbutamide which is not very productive , I am no doctor but I have a feeling that my sugar levels are quite high please can any kind doctor advise me as to what drug I should use to over come this situation,

  • bob

    Growing up on a farm in the 60s, we ate pies, etc. (Of course all homemade). Never got sick. No colds, no flus, etc. Rarely were kids overweight. The problem, its not just what you eat but how much you eat. We didn’t sit on our butts we moved. If people started to move more, get off their Xboxes, cell phones, laptops, we may not have such a health probelm of heart disease, etc.

  • D Dugger

    The drug you seek is available to all but to many not desirable. It is called self control with a primary ingredient of discipline.

  • D Dugger

    Its not unlike caffeine withdrawal including sleeplessness. Tough it out, it will pass and you will be glad.

  • Lexi

    My doctor told me to avoid juice and certain fruits, which can also be high in sugar. Orange juice has a lot of sugar even though it’s thought of as “healthy,”

  • Chris Stoner

    Even if something is healthy it still should be used in moderation. Too much sweetener, even if healthy, is not good. Stevia is a good choice, but cinnamon and vanilla are other great options to help curb our sweet tooth. Don’t miss the opportunity to use spices or sweet vegetables when a craving hits. I roast a combination of chopped butternut squash and beets with some coconut oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees. Most of all is to look at “why” you have the craving. Craving are our body’s way of telling us we are missing something.

  • Chris Stoner

    Hi Katrine,
    I graduate from IIN in May, and I just want to tell you I love the information on this site. I wish there was a doctor in my area like Dr. Lipman!! I am interested in any information on how his supplements are different than others in our field for cleaning our gut. I am trying to heal myself of candida and have been on a strict diet since August plus taking many supplements, and I still have it. My niche market will be the gut. I know first hand how our gut functions determines how our body is properly being nourished or the lack thereof.

  • Hi Chris,
    Thank you!! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the information. Take a look at this resource to find a Functional Medicine Doctor near you: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117
    Be Well!

  • Laura

    What, if any, is the difference between “Cane Sugar” vs. “Organic Cane Sugar”?? Is the organic version any better for you?

  • laurakraber

    We don’t recommend sugar but if you are going to have sugar, we suggest organic.

  • When I indulge in/resort to processed food, I can at least check out its Environmental Work Group (EWG) safety rating, including the sugar load, using these OUTSTANDING apps. One version has food only, the other personal care products AND food. The app allows for barcode scan and keyed-in search words. Although the EWG database doesn’t have everything rated, it’s still the bomb dot com in my book! Ck out http://www.ewg.org/apps/ …just in case you’re like me, and not the COLD TURKEY type…

  • Emmy.7

    This is probably a stupid question, but I use agave syrup for my coffee. Should I cut that out too?

  • Susan Tanner

    One might simply avoid intoxes…

  • ramie Adib

    I eat every month 30lb suger if not eating I can not do anything feel weak .what I do to get of it and keep myself strong. I am 6 feet 180 lbs and single.day is nite and nite is morning without being worries about future.having fincial freedom for life.