19 Foods That Can Fight Sugar Cravings

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Certain foods and beverages, such as fruit, yogurt, sweet potatoes, and smoothies, may help reduce sugar cravings. Foods that contain whole grains, fiber, and protein may also keep you feeling fuller longer.

Sugar cravings are when you experience a strong urge to eat something sweet and find it difficult to control yourself.

This may lead to eating too many calories and unintentional weight gain, sometimes on a regular basis.

Luckily, there are things you can do to take the edge off.

Here are 19 foods that can help you fight your sugar cravings.

A wide range of foods and beverages could help you fight your sugar cravings.

When most people feel sugar cravings, they reach for high calorie foods like chocolate.

However, swapping out junk food for fruit when you’re craving sugar may give you the sweet hit you need and stop your craving in its tracks.

Fruit is naturally sweet but also contains beneficial plant compounds like fiber. These are associated with several health benefits, such as:

To make sure it hits the spot, eat fruits slightly higher in sugar, such as mangoes or grapes. You can also add fruit to yogurt to make it a more satisfying snack.

Berries are a nutritious choice to help stop sugar cravings.

They taste sweet, but their high fiber content means they’re lower in sugar and could help keep you full longer.

This could make berries a great choice if your sugar cravings are linked to habit, rather than hunger. For example, you might crave sweet foods while watching TV.

Additionally, berries have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases like heart disease, cognitive decline, and diabetes.

Chocolate is one of the most commonly reported foods people eat when they crave sweets.

If you’re craving chocolate, you can make a healthier choice by choosing dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate contains healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may help improve various markers of cognitive and heart health.

What’s more, dark chocolate has nearly five times more polyphenols than milk and white chocolate, while containing significantly less sugar.

However, dark chocolate does still contain sugar and fat, so it’s best to limit yourself to one serving or less per day.

Not all snack bars are healthy, and some are very high in fat and sugar.

However, if you’re craving a sweet treat, some low sugar options are available. Look for a snack bar made with whole foods, whole oats, and fresh or dried fruit rather than table sugar.

Watch out for bars that contain a lot of so-called “healthy” sugar, such as honey, agave syrup, or coconut sugar. These are still added sugars, which aren’t good for you in large amounts.

Alternatively, you could try making your own healthy snack bars.

Chia seeds are a good source of many important nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and plant compounds.

Soluble fiber readily absorbs water and swells up to form a jelly-like substance in your gut, which may help keep you feeling fuller for longer and prevent sugar cravings.

Chia seeds are also versatile, so if you want a dessert to satisfy your sweet craving, you could try making a chia pudding like this one.

Chewing gum can be a great way to control your sugar cravings.

Gum or mints made with artificial sweeteners taste sweet but contain a minimal number of calories and no sugar.

Although results are mixed, some studies suggest that chewing gum could help control hunger, cravings, and the intake of carb-heavy foods later in the day.

Chewing gum is also good for your teeth, as it could help reduce the risk of cavities.

Lentils are great plant-based sources of fiber and protein.

In fact, 1 cup (198 grams (g)) of boiled lentils provides 18 g of protein and 15.5 g of fiber.

These nutrients may increase feelings of fullness, which could help reduce hunger-driven sugar cravings throughout the day.

Research also suggests lentils could help you manage weight, blood sugar levels, and gut health.

Yogurt is a snack high in protein and rich in calcium, which may help reduce your appetite and blood sugar levels.

Similarly, a 2015 review suggests yogurt may be a good snack to help regulate your appetite throughout the day and control your sugar cravings.

Be sure to choose yogurt that contains live cultures and is free of added sugar.

Dates are the dried fruit of the date palm tree. Although they contain nearly 70% sugar, they’re highly nutritious and may help reduce sugar cravings.

A 2020 study in people with diabetes found that eating three dates daily for 16 weeks had no effect on blood sugar levels. However, it helped decrease LDL (bad) and total cholesterol levels, while significantly improving quality of life.

Try pairing dates with nuts like almonds for a sweet and crunchy treat.

However, remember that dates are very sweet, so stick to one portion at a time, or about three dates.

Sweet potatoes are nutritious, sweet, and filling. They contain mostly carbs but also fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.

You may get sugar cravings because you’re not eating enough throughout the day.

Including a carb source like sweet potatoes in your meals may help combat this by adding calories to your meals and making them more balanced.

As their name implies, sweet potatoes can also provide the sweet taste you’re craving.

For a delicious treat, try roasting them with cinnamon and paprika.

Smoothies can be a great option if you’re craving a sugar-sweetened beverage.

Try combining different types of fruit with yogurt. The sweetness of the fruit combined with the filling effects of yogurt can satisfy your craving while providing various nutrients.

If you’re having a smoothie, make sure to use the whole fruit, not just the juice, so you can retain the healthy fiber.

Discover 9 healthy smoothy recipes.

Soda is extremely sweet, and drinking high amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to several chronic health conditions, such as:

However, going cold turkey and cutting them out completely can be difficult.

Switching to a sugar-free version can help you get a sweet fix without the added sugar and calories.

Prunes are dried plums.

Like dates, they’re full of fiber and nutrients and taste very sweet.

As such, you can reach for them as a healthy alternative to candy when you’re craving sugar.

Their high fiber content and naturally-occurring sorbitol may also help relieve constipation. Sorbitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that tastes sweet but is absorbed slowly in your gut.

Eggs are a high protein food that may help keep your appetite and cravings in check.

In fact, research has shown that having a high protein breakfast like eggs may reduce hunger and help people eat less throughout the day.

This may be partly because a high protein meal suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and increases some of the hormones that make you feel full, including peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).

This suggests an egg breakfast could keep you feeling fuller for longer and keep the cravings at bay.

Trail mix is the name often given to a snack containing dried fruit and nuts.

The exact combination of ingredients can vary, but trail mix can make a great choice if you’re craving something sweet.

The sweetness of the dried fruit can help halt your sugar cravings, and it’s also a great way to get some nuts into your diet.

Nuts contain healthy fats, proteins, fiber, and plant compounds linked to a number of health benefits, including improved risk factors for heart disease.

Trail mix can be very high in calories, so stick to a serving of around one handful.

Fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut are sources of beneficial bacteria.

The beneficial bacteria found in these foods may help maintain the balance of “good” bacteria in your gut and reduce the number of disease-causing bacteria.

In fact, the bacteria in your gut are also linked to many of your body’s processes and can “talk” to your brain through the compounds and hormones they produce.

This allows your gut bacteria to influence your food intake. Some of these compounds may even mimic hunger or fullness hormones in your body, influencing your appetite and food cravings.

Because of this, it’s been suggested that including fermented food in your diet could contribute to maintaining a healthy gut and preventing food cravings.

Whole grains are high in fiber and contain several beneficial nutrients, such as:

Compared to eating refined carbohydrates, eating whole grains may help increase fullness and reduce your desire to eat more often.

Whole grains can also promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These could help improve your level of fullness, although more research is needed in this area.

While eating vegetables may not be satisfying when you’re experiencing an acute sugar craving, including them in your diet regularly could be helpful.

Vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories. They also contain lots of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds.

Eating more vegetables is probably one of the best things you can do for your health and could lower your risk of diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Adding vegetables is also a great way to bulk up your meals, helping you feel more satisfied throughout the day.

What should I eat if I crave sugar?

Eating something sweet and high in fiber could help you satisfy your sugar craving. Healthy foods may include sweet potatoes, chia seeds, berries, prunes, dates, and lean proteins.

Which deficiency causes sugar cravings?

Some people claim nutrient deficiencies may lead to sugar cravings. However, a 2020 review suggests nutrient deficiencies play a very small role in cravings. Instead, external cues associated with certain foods, such as certain hobbies, time of day, or place, may have more impact.

Having the odd sweet treat is fine for most people, so you shouldn’t feel guilty if you occasionally indulge.

However, if you regularly experience sugar cravings or feel out of control around sweet foods, it’s worth taking a closer look at your diet.

If you need something sweet, try swapping a sugar-filled treat with a healthier option on this list.

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