Taming a Sweet Tooth

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A week ago, I asked for your advice on how to tame a sweet tooth

Here is a selection of the advice that I received:


  • Carly said:  “We buy the really fancy chocolate bars (Lindt, Ghirardelli, etc), and both my wife and I get two squares for dessert. We have found that a few bites of high quality chocolate satisfies more than a big bowl of crappier desserts.”


  • Emily said: “I know this sounds tough, but what has worked best for me is just cutting it out cold turkey. I did this for about a week and found that when I started adding sweets back into my diet, I was much more controlled.”


  • Many people pointed out that I’m probably craving sugar because I have a newborn and am totally sleep deprived! Lots of mommas also reported that they also experienced sugar cravings while breastfeeding.  Interesting!


  • Sarah said: “This summer, I’ve loved freezing berries from the farmers’ market and serving them in a bowl with original unsweetened almond milk. It’s cold, sweet, and filling enough that it’s satisfying but not unhealthy at all!”


  • Helena said: “I try to keep stuff like cake for when it’s a birthday dinner or a special meal out, and cookies only when they’re homemade by someone else.”


  • Hillary said: “I’ve realized that I actually enjoy treats more in moderation—otherwise, I feel sick and headache-y and not at all satisfied. So after a few days of high sugar intake, I pull myself back (to a treat a day or less) and take a few minutes to realize how much better I feel!”


  • Janet said: “I also had an intense sugar craving period that lasted for months. I did some Googling and saw an article stating Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends increasing your consumption of bitter foods such as arugula and endive. I went to Trader Joes and bought a couple of bags of organic arugula and had a salad every day… I don’t know if it’s all in my head or not, but my desire for sweets is completely gone.”


  • Megan and Ashley both suggested freezing leftover baked goods so they aren’t as accessible.


  • Natalie wrote, “It’s helped to be very conscious of the amount of sugar in my meals and snacks and do simple swaps to lower my intake.  For example, switching to unsweetened almond milk, switching from vanilla Greek yogurt to plain Greek with vanilla extract, buying new cereal with no added sugar.”


  • Many people suggested upping the amount of protein and healthy fats in my diet so I’m satisfied by meals for longer.


  • Jen said: “Drink tea before you dive into dessert. Most of the time, I find that a cup of tea after dinner satisfies my craving for something sweet.”


  • LMG said: “What worked last time was making sure that I tried a lot of new foods at the same time [I cut out sweets]. Because cutting or substituting using the same foods from before just left a hole where the sugar had been.”





So – how am I doing on my quest to tame my sweet tooth?  It’s been rough, but I’m getting better.  I decided that I simply couldn’t quit desserts cold turkey, so I decided to tackle my multiple-desserts-a-night issue a few ways:  I’m having more protein at dinner; I’m getting up and doing a chore or playing with Henry when the urge to nosh strikes; I made banana soft serve to get my sweet fix in a healthy way; and I’m making it a point to truly savor desserts instead of just piling them in (I didn’t feel the urge to go back for seconds of dessert last night by eating my original piece of apple crumble veeeery slowly – it worked!). 


I think my sugar cravings are definitely related to sleep deprivation; knowing the ‘cause’ is helpful in dealing with the cravings.  I’ve also been reminding myself of how physically gross I feel when I overdose on sugar; it only makes me feel good for thirty minutes or so, and then I crash, which makes me want even more sugar.  This has also stopped me from drinking way too much coffee (Henry doesn’t seem bothered by the caffeine – or by anything I eat, quite frankly).  Sometimes, it’s just better to feel a little tired than hopped up on sugar or wired on caffeine. 


And yes, it’s true – the less sugar you eat, the less you want.  Who would’ve thought. Winking smile



  • Kelly July 3, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Sugar is a nasty little bugger, huh? I really feel like I am quite lucky in that I don’t have a sweet tooth at all. I could probably go months without even thinking to eat a dessert or something sweet. It just doesn’t appeal to me. But I have to seriously keep myself in check when it comes to salt. Now there is my little demon.

  • Lisa July 3, 2012, 7:34 pm

    Um…..haven’t figured that out quite yet. 😀

    But what helps me is having just a little bit each day. I can’t completely get rid of my sugar cravings so I try to keep my desserts to around 200 calories tops.

    Dark chocolate is also good. It’s hard to eat large quantities of it.

    • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) July 4, 2012, 8:32 am

      I agree – a few squares of dark chocolate after dinner do help curb my sweet tooth. The problem is choosing the dark chocolate squares over say a bowl of Ben and jerry’s, ha!

    • Alex @ Brain, Body, Because July 6, 2012, 12:16 pm

      I definitely second the dark chocolate. I chop a few square into teeny-tiny pieces and bury the rest in the back of the freezer.

  • Amanda July 3, 2012, 7:44 pm

    I always notice that the more I indulge in sugar cravings, the more I crave it. It’s a slippery slope. If I eat more veggies and real foods, I feel more satisfied and don’t eat much dessert.

    And I was pretty sleep deprived in college (newspaper staff), so I think that’s a lot of it, too. Best of luck! =)

  • Erin July 3, 2012, 7:51 pm

    Oh, I’ll add to this: you mentioned you need to drink more water. Well, I recently read that dehydration can manifest itself as hunger feelings and especially as sugar cravings. I’m a teacher and I have a hard time drinking enough water during the day because I’m so busy and rarely have a minute for myself. I would get home at 5 pm and have a MASSIVE sugar craving that nothing it seemed, except for something almost all sugar (like candy) would fix. However, during the past two weeks I’ve had to drink more because of starting a new fitness program and sure enough, no more sugar cravings if I’ve had enough water. It was really interesting to note.

    So, just a thought – might be worth seeing if increasing your water intake decreasing your sugar cravings!

  • Erin July 3, 2012, 7:52 pm

    that last sentences should read: “decreases your sugar cravings.” Now I’ll remind myself to proofread before hitting the submit button.

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction July 3, 2012, 8:18 pm

    Good for you! Anytime I am tired I also crave sugar…I think I feel like it will make me feel less tired…but in the end it actually makes me more tired! Can’t wait to hear your updates on how it goes…!

  • Lea July 3, 2012, 8:20 pm

    I gave up sweets for Lent this year and it was seriously the best thing I could have done to get my sugar cravings under control. At the end of the 40 days desserts didn’t even look that appetizing anymore. Quitting cold turkey can be tough, but it was very effective for me.

    Good luck on taming your sweet tooth!

  • Irina @ Chocolatea Time July 3, 2012, 8:27 pm

    In college I discovered that I crave sugar (and carbs in general) when sleep deprived. To this day I can immediately tell when my body is drained because I crave carbs and extreme sweetness.

  • Mish @ Mish's Kithen July 3, 2012, 8:47 pm

    It is hard to give up sugar..I’m now attacking it in the following ways

    1. Why do I feel like I need to eat more than I’d like? Getting real with myself..tired? hungry? sad? bored?
    2. Protein
    3. Water
    4. Exercise
    5. Stevia

    Good on your addressing it now. You’re doing stacks right now and doing it well.

  • Michelle @ eatmovebalance.com July 3, 2012, 8:53 pm

    My go-to when the sweet-tooth comes out is FRUIT. Oranges. Strawberries. Apples. Etc.

  • Ashley July 3, 2012, 8:56 pm

    This post is awesome! I am really trying to learn to savor foods as I eat them…like the natural sweetness of homegrown strawberries or peaches, or even the sweetness of a cookie. I found that by doing this (instead of eating something without even thinking about it) I am really actually tasting(and enjoying more) the sweet or sugar of foods which seems to satisfy my sugar cravings.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats July 3, 2012, 9:14 pm

    I definitely crave sweets when I’m tired! My body things it’s a quick way to get energy!

  • InItsGrip July 3, 2012, 9:17 pm

    I’ve found a healthier alternative to the ice cream, cookies, and cake I usually gravitate towards when my sweet tooth kicks in: cereal. A bowl of cereal is not only more filling than a cookie or slice of cake, but has far fewer calories and leaves me filling more full.

  • Sarah July 3, 2012, 9:22 pm

    I think I missed the original post, but I think this is something a lot of breastfeeding moms (myself included!) struggle with. I actually JUST posted on what works for me. Essentially, I don’t eat ANY added sugar (in bread, yogurt, anything) Monday-Thursday. Then by Friday afternoon, I’m ready for a treat. The rest of the weekend, I let myself have whatever I want, including sweet treats, but I don’t eat them too late on a Sunday so I don’t get a “sugar hangover.” I just can’t afford one during the week with an active little boy to take care of!

  • Hilary July 3, 2012, 9:39 pm

    good tips. wondering if anyone has any advice on how to stop anxiety eating?

  • Laura July 3, 2012, 10:06 pm

    another one that helps me — brush your teeth! it always seems like my palate craves that sweetness at the end of a meal so if i have a peppermint hard candy or some gum or brush my teeth, it takes the edge off.

  • Joanna@DrizzleofSunshine July 3, 2012, 10:14 pm

    Great advice from everyone! I am definitely craving sweets during my pregnancy which is totally off from my usual cravings. I need to cut it down or this baby is going to be HUGE!

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 3, 2012, 10:35 pm

    I can definitely see sleep deprivation as being a cause of a raging sugar tooth – when I was working overnight shifts, I was consuming a lot more sweets than I would otherwise. The body wants that boost of energy from somewhere!

  • Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See July 3, 2012, 10:45 pm

    I keep forgetting banana soft serve! Good plan 🙂

  • Kristen July 3, 2012, 10:55 pm

    This is pretty random, but I’ve recently switched to (adult) gummy vitamins. I take two calcium, a few B complex, and a multi, which is about 8 gummies after dinner. I’m sure its not the best thing to eat, but they are less than 100 calories, satisfy my sweet tooth, and now I never forget to take my vitamins!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) July 3, 2012, 11:44 pm

    I don’t have a sweet tooth at all, and the odd time I do crave something sweet I am satisfied after a few bites. I’d much rather have chips, or cheese, or anything salty or savory instead of sweet.

  • Rachel July 4, 2012, 12:28 am

    sooo, reading this post has left me craving sweets.
    fail 🙁

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy July 4, 2012, 6:11 am

    I always used to be a savory person when I was overweight. But since dropping 98lbs, I now crave sugar. If I want something sweet, I have a piece of really good quality dark chocolate and then that seems to do the trick.

    It is easy for it to get out of control though.

  • Ashley July 4, 2012, 6:39 am

    I’m a former law student and my husband is former military, so we know a few things about sleep deprivation (although not nearly as much as you!!).

    I can tell you that both of us experienced major increased sweet cravings during sleep-deprived periods. It’s very normal. It helped me to decide I could have 1 dessert a day (usually after dinner). If I knew dessert was coming, I could hold off on other candy and whatnot. I live near a Whole Foods, so I tend to buy their raw desserts. They are high in calories, but at least the ingredients are better than usual junk food!

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) July 4, 2012, 8:29 am

    I have way more intense sugar cravings now than compared to when I was pregnant. I do think a lot of it is caused by chronic sleep deprivation!! I notice I crave more junk overall, not just sweets. Nursing around the clock plus pure exhaustion makes it a challenge some days to make healthy choices!!

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  • Casey July 4, 2012, 11:44 am

    I just saw some good advice on tv yesterday about planning dessert a certain number of times per week (like, say 2 or 3). That way you’re not depriving yourself, but it helps you be more disciplined about it. Instead of trying to fight off cravings every night you can focus on looking forward to the next dessert night coming up!

  • Amber K July 4, 2012, 3:04 pm

    I have such a huge sweet tooth I’m starting to think my body just adapted to it. Because I don’t ever have a sugar crash. I have even eaten an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting before and felt totally fine after. Definitely not something I plan on doing again anytime soon, but it’s just sooo good!

  • Julia H. @ Going Gulia July 4, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Funny that I’m reading this post now because I definitely had more sugar than I would have liked today. I baked a cake earlier to bring to a July 4th BBQ, and cake batter (plus the icing I used all over it) is irresistible to me! I actually have a pretty tame sweet tooth, though. I usually find that fruit does the trick 🙂

  • Julia July 5, 2012, 9:23 am

    I always keep chocolate covered dates in my apartment.

    Buy some pitted dates, unsweetened baking chocolate and almonds (or a different kind of nut)
    Stuff the inside of the dates with an almond, melt the chocolate, roll the stuffed date in the unsweetened chocolate and then pop them in the freezer.

    They are SO good, and sweet. No added sugar, super simple and easy and I always feel satisified after two or three. You wouldn’t even be able to tell that the chocolate is unsweetened.

    Try it- You won’t be sorry!


  • Alex @ Brain, Body, Because July 6, 2012, 12:18 pm

    I’m also trying to work on curbing my sugar intake; glad to know I’m not the only one.

    I would make healthy desserts, which is great, but then I felt entitled to three pieces of cake, instead of one. I’m trying to slowly decrease the amounts. Instead of 1 sweet after lunch and 3 after dinner, I now do 1 after lunch and 2 after dinner. Hopefully, I’ll get down to just 1 after dinner.

    Best of luck! Keep us posted!

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