Breaking a Sugar Habit with Comfort Foods

Missing Comfort Foods

Sugar cravings are awfully hard to break, but luckily there are comforting ways to help us through our sugar habit.

Comfort foods

Most people shrug off sugar cravings as a lark or something to laugh at, but for anyone who has ever tried to kick their sugar habit, sugar cravings are anything but a laughing matter.

Sugar cravings are very intense and drive us to eat more than we want to (sometime when we are not even that hungry) and binge on certain foods. Scientists are just now discovering how serious sugar cravings are and are conducting experiments that show sugar craving are every bit as powerful as cravings for drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

Sugar Cravings Get Complicated

Here is the strange things: sugar cravings can carry over from sugar itself to foods that act just like sugar in your body. These foods, mostly grains and starchy vegetables (see: foods that act like sugar ), cause your blood sugar to rise just as if you were eating sugar. So, while you might want to stay away from sugar for your health, you need to include these foods that act like sugar if you really want to make an impact in your health; otherwise, you are just trading one sugar for another.

Check out my 30 Days Sugar Free Days Program that you can join if you want to try to stop all sugar and foods that act like sugar.

Cravings are also your body’s way of directing you towards foods that your body needs. The only problem is that once you become addicted to something, your cravings have gone haywire. Do you think that a smoker should follow their cravings to smoke, or an alcoholic to drink? Probably not. Likewise, your sugar cravings can often lead you astray.

Where Can You Find Comfort?

By now, you are scratching your head. Not only is sugar addicting, but there are also many other foods that act like sugar in the body and, while you may have cravings, you can’t really follow them. I’m willing to bet that every single one of your traditional comfort foods are either a sugar food, or foods that act like sugar in your body. What are you to do?

Here are where you can still find some comfort:

  • Okay, this is going to sound a bit silly, but sugar cravings come from, well… eating sugar. The more that you eat, the more that you are going to crave. I have a name for this and I call it the “sugar magnet”: once you put sugar into your mouth, more is going to want to follow. So, to avoid many of these cravings, you have to avoid the sugar.
  • It is your brain that is telling you that you need to have sugar, not your body. Your brain has a set of chemicals called neurotransmitters that are involved in all sorts of brain messaging, including cravings. These neurotransmitters are easily manipulated by what you eat. A diet that has plenty of good proteins and vegetables provides the raw materials for good neurotransmitters. By eating the right foods for your body, you cravings will lessen.
  • Eat often: eating many small meals throughout the day is one of the best ways to keep cravings at bay. You might think that this will cause you to gain weight, but, in fact, the opposite is true: eating many small meals throughout the day can actually boost your metabolism.
  • Sugar cravings also come from high spikes in blood sugar. Staying away from foods that act like sugar keeps your blood sugar more steady throughout the day and keeps the craving monsters away. There are many foods that you can eat that don’t affect your blood sugar at all: see the list of Below the Glycemic Index Foods.
  • Comfort foods: Comfort foods generally have to characteristics: fatty and sugary. Look for hearty soups, stews, meals with plenty of good proteins (beef, poultry…). Things like peanut butter and beans can have the creamy, fat, sugary kind of taste you are looking for.
  • If you find that you absolutely need something like a potato or grains, make sure that you are eating them near other low-sugar foods.

Kicking and Comforting

Trying to kick the sugar habit and finding your comfort foods can sometimes seem like opposite goals, but they really aren’t. Both are steps you trying to make to take care of yourself — only keeping sugars and foods that act like sugars out of your life actually accomplishes that goal. Many people report that their traditional comfort foods aren’t that at all, they may taste good for a while, but then they make us feel bad later. Find the true comfort foods, the foods that really feed your body what it needs, you will feel better much sooner than taking the old way.

< Previous Article
About the Author

I'm Dr. Scott Olson ND. I'm a Naturopathic doctor who specializes in diet, health, nutrition, and alternative medicine. I've written numerous books and articles on health, medicine, and alternative medicine I want to help you get healthy! Take a look at my blog and make sure you join in the conversation!

9 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Bobbie Rochow November 30, 2010 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    I have been diagnosed with Lupus, & I find that worse than the joint & muscle pain is my brain not functioning right. I am also menopausal, so I have also gone onto hormone pills to try to help me. (for 3 months now)Nope. It also seems the weekends when I hike the most, Mondays I am down. I can’t think, cannot think of words to express what I want to say. I am lethargic, & distracted by everything I see & hear. I have my own shop where I paint & such, but find it almost impossible to get anything done. It has gotten debilitating, & I have wondered if I should close shop.

    One more thing…I love my choclate & goodies & such. I crave them. That is how I found your website. Could my thinking problems be connected to my sugar intake? I try to stick with Stevia. Does it act like sugar in our bodies? Thank you!

    • Dr. Scott December 2, 2010 at 6:22 am - Reply

      Hi Bobbie,

      Yes, sugar can make your brain act strangely. Stevia does not act like sugar in our bodies, but does continue our cravings for sugary foods (see: What About Stevia?.

      From what you have told me in your comment, it sounds like you are depressed. When your body is failing you or you are in pain, depression is a common reaction. One of the signs of depression is an inability to focus and plan activities. It is good you are getting out and exercising (this can really help depression), but strange that it is causing you to feel down; if the pain is worse after exercising you may be dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and not Lupus.

      I would suggest that you work with someone local for both your Lupus and general health. Here is the link to find a Naturopath in your area: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Leave A Response