Food Relationship

How To Stop Binging On Sugar And Banish Sweet Cravings

Find out how to stop binging on sugar

Do you struggle to get through the day without sugar? Perhaps your lunch or dinner doesn’t feel complete without ‘something sweet’ after it? Or maybe, you just can’t stop with one piece of chocolate once you get started?

If that sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone.

A recent survey of 9317 Americans found that around 82% of people regularly exceed the daily recommended 10% of calories from sugar!

Scientists have long discussed the effects of sugar as addictive and compared it to drug substances, such as cocaine.

However, recent research shows that excessive sugar intake activates the reward pathway in the brain due to its palatability. That means that physiologically it is slightly different to food addiction.

If you’re no stranger to daily sugar cravings and you are ready to find out how to stop binging on sugar, keep reading. I will share some simple effective strategies to help stop sugar binges. You will also figure out what to do after a sugar binge to support your mental health.

The Science Behind How Sugar Affects the Body

Want to find out how to stop sugar binges or what to do after a sugar binge? Then it’s crucial to first recognise the effects of sugar and how it actually works in the body.

When you consume food, your body releases insulin to manage blood sugar levels and energy. If you consume too many processed sweet treats, especially with a lack of protein or fibre, the blood sugars spike and crash, creating further sugar cravings.

Sugar not only influences insulin but also messes with important hunger hormones in your body including leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin, also known as the "satiety hormone", signals to your brain when you've had enough to eat. However, excessive sugar consumption can lead to leptin resistance. Then the brain no longer gets the accurate signal to stop eating, leading to overeating and weight gain.

Ghrelin, known as the "hunger hormone", stimulates appetite and increases food intake. Consuming high-sugar foods can cause ghrelin levels to stay high, promoting constant feelings of hunger. And that's even when you've consumed adequate calories.

Over time this can lead to people being “overweight, but malnourished” and feeling hungry a lot of the time. You may also experience constant sugar cravings.

Binging on sugary foods can disrupt the delicate balance of these hormones. In turn, it perpetuates a vicious cycle of cravings for sugar and overeating.

Additionally, the consumption of sugary foods overrides the hunger-satiety signals. And that can lead to the inability to accurately assess hunger and fullness, increasing sugar binges.

9 mindset mistakes for overcoming binge eating

Get your FREE Cheatsheet

9 Mindset Mistakes

that keep you stuck
in the Binge Cycle

Recognise Your Triggers for Sweet Cravings

The first step to ending the sugar cycle is to identify when and why you're experiencing sugar cravings in the first place. It makes sense that if you want to find out how to stop binging on sugar, you first want to know what's driving the process.

Are the sweet food cravings caused by stress, boredom or hormones? Or perhaps it's purely habitual?

What's causing sugar cravings will vary from person to person, so it's important to recognise what the main triggers for you are.

In my Nutritional Therapy clinic, I see 3 main trigger types that create sweet cravings the most: physical, emotional and habitual.

Physical cravings are mostly influenced by blood glucose dysregulation, irregular meals and chaotic mealtimes, lack of adequate nutrition, restricting food intake, fasting, etc.

While emotional cravings are linked to stress, anxiety, loneliness, boredom and a range of emotions. In fact, this can also be positive emotions and seeking for reward that can influence sugar binges.

Lastly, habitual cravings are mostly influenced by learned behaviour from childhood. Or old habits that you just can't seem to shake off, like Friday night chocolate and wine.

Have no clue where to even start or how to recognise your main triggers? It can be a good idea to start a food journal and take notes of situations, feelings and events that lead to the sugar habit.

Recognize your triggers for sweet cravings and learn how to stop binging on sugar.

How to stop binging of sugar: 9 Simple Strategies

If you're struggling with sweet cravings and sugar binges, it's important to make sure that you're taking all the steps to recognise and minimise your potential triggers. And keep yourself well nourished.

These simple, yet effective strategies can help you figure out how to stop binging on sugar for good. And effortlessly reduce your sugar intake. 

1. Don’t Skip Breakfast

A substantial nourishing breakfast packed with whole foods, slow-release carbohydrates and protein will help to keep your blood sugar level stable. And help reduce sweet cravings later in the day.

Often people, who don't have a nourishing breakfast think they have a real sweet tooth. That's because sweet cravings start in the early morning.

Even if you're not a big morning person, aim to have breakfast 1-2 hours after waking up to help you reduce the urges and help stop sugar binges.

2. Choose Complex Carbs

Choose complex carbohydrate foods instead of simple carbohydrates like white pasta, white bread, and white rice.

Complex carbohydrates provide the body with slow-release energy that keeps blood sugar levels stable. They also help prevent blood sugar spikes.

Choose whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, oats, wild rice, red rice and black rice to start with.

3. Eat Regularly Throughout the Day

Eating regularly throughout the day will help balance blood sugar levels and avoid the spikes and crashes (as well as sweet cravings).

Regular eating will also help manage your hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin, so you don’t get too hungry meaning that overwhelming sweet cravings are less likely.

4. Prioritise Protein

Eating an adequate amount of protein in your meals and snacks will help you to feel fuller for longer and will help you balance hunger.

If you're experiencing sweet cravings regularly, make sure you add quality protein to each of your meals. Choose poultry, eggs, fish and seafood, dairy or add beans, nuts and seeds or tofu if you're vegetarian or vegan.

Infographic: Strategies on how to stop binging on sugar

5. Improve Your Snack Quality

When cravings hit, make sure you're reaching for nutritious snacks that will fill you up rather than processed sugary snacks that will boost those sweet cravings further.

Choose a homemade trail mix with nuts and seeds, a piece of fruit with nut butter (almond butter and raspberries are my favourite) or hummus with vegetable sticks.

6. Find Sugar Alternatives

Instead of habitually reaching for the white refined sugar in your tea or golden syrup for your porridge to satisfy sweet cravings, choose other options that include less simple sugars and may not trigger your blood glucose level as much.

Keep in mind that there are ~60 legal names for sugar allowed on the label in the UK alone. So also watch out for hidden sugars that may sneak into what looks like "healthy food options". 

Sweeten your food with natural sugars: apple puree, crushed fresh berries, cinnamon or maple syrup. Try stevia as an alternative natural sweetener to help you lower sources of sugar in your diet.

7. Learn To Manage Stress

Stress is no doubt one of the major triggers for sweet cravings. It may be, that your sweet cravings come during stressful times to help you soothe and find comfort.

However, stressful periods are also when cortisol is high and it can lead to increased hunger and blood sugar spikes and crashes.

Aim to find one or two stress management techniques that work for you, such as regular meditation or mindfulness. Or even a simple regular walk in nature to let off some steam and avoid those sweet cravings.

8. Keep Moving

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and increase endorphins to help you feel positive and resilient. Regular movement can also help stabilise your blood glucose levels, reducing overall sweet cravings.

Set aside at least 15- 30 minutes of some form of physical activity 3-4 times a week, even if it's just taking a brisk walk.

How to curb sweet cravings and stop binging on sugar

9. Get Enough Sleep

An often overlooked, but a super important element of keeping sweet cravings at bay.

Too little or disturbed sleep can lead to blood sugar dysregulation and increased sugar cravings. So make sure you are getting at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.

What to do after a Sugar Binge

Okay, so you started to pay more attention to the triggers of your sweet cravings. You started to nourish yourself well and you almost figured out how to stop binging on sugar.

But then, another sugar binge happened!

Stay calm and keep in mind that sugar binges may sometimes be led by pure habit. Firstly, forgive yourself, try and figure out what happened and aim to prevent this in the future.

In the meantime, here's what to do after a sugar binge:

1. Acknowledge and Accept - Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling without judgement or self-criticism. Recognise that everyone overeats sometimes and it is a normal part of life.

However, perhaps it's making you feel miserable every time it happens? Or you need solid guidance and strategies on what to do after a sugar binge for your unique situation? Then find out if working with a Nutritional Therapist could be helpful.

2. Stay Hydrated - Drink plenty of water to help your body detoxify, replenish minerals and reduce feelings of fatigue. Infuse a glass of water with lemon, cucumber and mint for extra taste and hydration.

3. Nourish Yourself- while the temptation to skip dinner, restrict your food intake or cut carbs out may sound like a good idea, aim to keep yourself regularly nourished and help your blood glucose rebalance.

Even if your next meal is slightly smaller than what you would have if sugar binges hadn't happened, still aim to have that meal. Make sure you include a source of quality protein. Also, think of adding some wholesome fibre in the form of rainbow veg for the next meal.

4. Move Your Body - Movement can be a great way to change your state and help get out of the negative thought cycle. Aim to move your body in whatever way feels good for you and feels like self-care- yoga, dancing or walking.

5. Reframe the Experience- Reframe the experience by acknowledging that you learnt something from it. Identify what happened, possible triggers and steps to take to prevent this type of behaviour in the future.

Infographic on strategies to stop sweet cravings

Refer to the sugar binge as a 'learning experience' and become aware and curious at the thoughts you may have that follow and what behaviours this triggers.

Use this list of what to do after a sugar binge as a list of useful strategies to implement. However, there are a few things you also want to avoid after a sugar binge. Such include criticising and beating yourself up, punishing yourself for the calories eaten or trying to compensate for the sugar binge. This will further the negative effects on the mind and body.

How to Stop Binging on Sugar if These Strategies Don’t Work

Ok so you’ve already tried to track your triggers and follow the above strategies to stop the sweet cravings. But you still keep constantly getting into the sugar trap and keep binging. In that case, it could be useful to get some help with your food habits.

Working with a Nutritional therapist can help you figure out and address your sweet cravings, as well as help you relearn how to nourish yourself well. It may help reconnect with your hunger and fullness signals, so you’re in control of sugar cravings, for good.

👉👉👉 Find out how to stop binging on sugar in the Food Peace Roadmap session with Nutritional Therapist Milda 👉👉👉

Final Thoughts on How to Stop Binging on Sugar

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to how to stop binging on sugar and reclaim food freedom. However, the strategies listed above can help you better understand your sugar cravings, exactly what to do after a sugar binge and what useful skills are needed to cope with sugar cravings long term.

Taking control of your sweet cravings is possible regardless of how long it's been an issue. You just need the right tools and support to do it. Take action now and remember that the first steps are the hardest towards lasting food freedom!

Stop binging and overeating with the Ultimate Toolkit to Stop Binge Eating

Ready to kickstart a



get your

ultimate toolkit

to stop binge eating

Related Posts

One thought on “How To Stop Binging On Sugar And Banish Sweet Cravings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *