Do you describe yourself as having a sweet tooth? Do you crave chocolate after your lunch or dinner? Does that afternoon slump send you in the direction of something sweet thinking it will give you energy? You can “retrain your brain” and stop those sugar cravings with practice over these 21 days.

Curb that craving with a healthier alternative

You know your cravings and what time(s) of day you are craving something sweet. For these 21 days, you are working on “retraining your brain” by not eating something sweet at least once a day. If you can simply ignore the craving and not eat anything at all, great. But for most of us, you can curb at least one craving a day with a new habit of doing something healthy instead.

Be sure that you are eating satisfying meals based on whole foods with lean proteins, some healthy fats, and fiber from vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Also, avoid artificially-sweetened beverages or foods. These still tell your brain something sweet is being consumed, and there are a variety of new health concerns emerging, as well as their long-term safety has not been studied.

Try any of these healthier alternatives to curb your sugar craving at least once a day:

  • Go for a 5-10 minute walk right after you eat lunch.
  • Do a 5-10 minute Instant Recess video.
  • Go talk to a co-worker to distract yourself.
  • Set a rule for yourself — nothing sweet before lunch.
  • Chew a piece of gum.
  • Brush your teeth after breakfast and lunch. Keeping your mouth fresh makes is easier to bypass the sweets sitting around the office.
  • Drink a big glass of water when your sweet tooth strikes.
  • Follow your meals with a cup of cinnamon apple tea or another favorite tea.

Sugar and Addiction

While controversial, there is emerging evidence that for some individuals, sugar may be addictive similar to nicotine and alcohol are addictive, with abstinence being the best course of action. To learn more about obesity and sugar addiction, watch this 7-minute video with UCSF’s Dr. Robert Lustig, The Skinny on Obesity: Sugar–A Sweet Addiction.

See Health*Matters Resources to learn more about sugar in the food and beverages you consume.