5 Foods That Curb Sugar Cravings

by Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
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5 Foods That Curb Sugar Cravings

Today’s food landscape is rife with quick, cheap access to sugar whenever we are craving it — and even when we aren’t. Grocery and convenience stores are stocked with cookies, candy, sugary beverages and other sweet snacks strategically placed at the checkout prompting unhealthy impulse buys.

Vending machines dispense sugary sodas and pastries to beat your 3 p.m. slump, and every office seems to offer donuts for breakfast. In a sugar-saturated world, it can seem impossible to curb those nagging cravings for sweets — because they’re everywhere!

Even after a satisfying meal, sugar cravings can hit you hard. One explanation of this feeling is hedonic hunger — or eating for pleasure rather than for satisfaction. Researchers are still trying to figure out why this happens, but before we take the first bite, the sight of a sugary or fatty food causes the brain’s reward circuit to get excited.

Once the sweet treat hits your tastebuds, signals are fired off to the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes an intense feeling of pleasure. Overeating sugary foods not only floods the brain with dopamine, but also creates a pattern of sugar cravings. In a short amount of time, the brain starts to crave more sugar and fat to reach the same threshold of pleasure it once got from small amounts of these pleasure-inducing foods.


Whether you reach for sugar after every meal, first thing in the morning or as a bedtime snack substitute these foods instead:


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  • Ronnie

    I can’t stand raw celery so I’d use carrots instead with the peanut butter. Top and tail the carrot. Peal off the skin and quarter length ways then eat with peanut butter as a dip.

    • Catharine Frost

      problem with carrots is they are high in carbohydrates and natural sugar, try cucumbers if you don’t like celery!

      • Ronnie

        i think i dislike cucumbers even more. i might try some chard next time – i grew some this summer

    • Nancy Law

      apple slices and peanut butter is a fantastic snack and very satisfying … love it and I am Type 2 diabetic who is trying very hard to stay away from muffins, tarts and cookies.

    • Al Hughes

      Try substituting almond butter for the peanut butter. It tastes even better and is a healthier alternative.

      • Luis Urbina


        • Hank Ratliff

          Potato chips tastes great with some good dairy laden and fatty dip.

          • dben9

            Definitely potato chips dipped in pure sour cream. A friend taught me this trick nearly 49 years ago and it’s still The Best!!

      • dben9

        There’s no evidence that almond butter is “healthier” than peanut butter. And we think peanut butter (ground roasted peanuts only) tastes way better than almond butter!

        • Al Hughes

          OK, personal preference I guess…

        • Becca

          Almonds are higher in fiber & contain more vitamins and minerals than peanuts.

  • Lynn

    matcha smoothie recipe has 1 cup of orange juice, not something that seems to make sense for this article on cutting back on sugar

  • Arthur Holmes-Brown

    I guess sprinkling sugar strawberries defeats the whole purpose 🙂

  • Simon Woodward

    What a load of twaddle! SADly Registered Dieticians are still being shackled by the constraints of their Registration Board, to stick to the SAD (Standard American Diet), and look at the burgeoning epidemic of diabetes that has produced. The system needs to get caught up with the modern scientific research. It’s happening only very slowly. If you want to kill sugar cravings, migrate to an Low Carb – Healthy Fats diet, or stronger still, go ketogenic. For more in-depth information explore the various Reversing Diabetes Groups on Facebook – they are so much more than a bunch of zealots – they are recovering diabetics who have found a way of eating that satiates hunger.

    • Fabbbarry

      What a load of twaddle written in response to an excellent article! Simon is talking out of his rear.

      • City of Blue Tile

        Keto is the answer to everything these days before it used to be paleo! I wonder what fad diet will be the answer to life next?

    • Janet Mary Lee

      Actually Simon is spot on. I have had to try to lose weight for almost 50 years, and a low carb or keto diet does stop the cravings almost like magic. I was stunned. Paleo also does, but tends to be rather restrictive and changes your metabolism if you do not continue it, and not in a good way. Many find they feel almost sick if a “bad ” carb is not had occasionally. And some of the substitutes on the Paleo are really awful tasting. A low carb or keto diet is not a fad, more like correct healthy eating with benefits.

  • Mahrie Reid Glab

    Imake a dip that is half all natural peanut butter and half plain or low sugar vanilla yogurt. I often use the fermented almond milk “yogurt”. For extra boost I usually stir in a half a tablespoon + – of a vegan protein powder. If ot is too stiff, add a splash of almond milk. Great with apples, Grapes, carrot stick or any other veggis or fruit.

    • Sue

      I’m with you on this Mahrie. I don’t even use greek yogurt anymore, go strictly almond milk yogurt or coconut milk yogurt. I add fresh ground almond butter, chia seed, grind some flax seed, half frozen banana, handful of spinach and about a cup of frozen berries, any type. Tablespoon of turmeric and then Top it off with almond milk unsweetened vanilla. mm m mmm mmmm.

  • Wayne Stone

    I agree with the article and have been eating celery with natural peanut butter (just peanuts, needs stirring)
    a couple years and it helped me to lose weight.

  • Katina Smith

    I have a bag of raw pumpkin seeds by my bed along with a 16oz bottle of water, I eat a spoonful of peanut butter on slice of whole wheat bread, I have switched to a pescatarian diet and I am still compelled to make apple pies, banana puddings, and chocolate cake. Sugar is addictive like a drug. It a constant struggle to not eat it. End of story.