Tips to Curb Sugar Cravings from Online Dietitian

Curb your sweet tooth and get healthier!


It always feels like there are new “findings” that contradict old information. Well, that’s science, and the more we know, the more we can adapt to improve our lives. (Make sure you’re getting your science from a reliable source — influencers and social media don’t count!).


It’s important, however, to discern between fads and backed scientific data. Where does the information come from? Is it backed by years of benchmarked research? And, it’s key to remember that our knowledge changes with time, with research, with new technologies and advancements. So, luckily, we’re not back in ancient times using dead mouse paste to cure toothaches.


The Dietary Advisory Committee – an appointed federal nutrition panel comprised of the best nutritionists, registered dietitians, physicians, medical doctors, and professors of medicine and nutrition – meets every five years to comb through the latest scientific and medical literature to prepare a report and dietary recommendations for the next edition of Dietary Guidelines. The entire report can be read online.


Once the data has been reviewed, the panel makes recommendations that, though not official guidelines, impact the diets of millions of people. For instance, these guidelines are adopted by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and taken into account when creating school program menus.


In 2015, when the committee released its recommendations, they caused quite a stir. The long-time low-fat, low-cholesterol focus has shifted, leaving room for eggs and shrimp in our diets. But the big gulp has been about sugar. The panel recommends that no more than twelve teaspoons a day be consumed (for adults), as sugar has been a large factor in obesity and chronic disease in America. Considering the average American consumes between 25 and 30 teaspoons of sugar each day, more than double the recommendation, this new information can radically shift the way people eat. (Just for perspective, one 12-ounce Coca-Cola has 18.2 teaspoons of sugar).


As a nutritionist, registered dietitian, and personal trainer online, this report confirmed what, I believe, we’ve all felt for a long time. The Guidelines Report stated that “Higher consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, as well as refined grains, was identified as detrimental in almost all conclusion statements with moderate to strong evidence.”


With our tongues geared to craving sugar, there are some practical, painless ways to reduce sugar in our diets.


Read Food Labels: A lot of sugars we consume are because we’re not even aware of the sugars we’re consuming. On food labels, ingredients are listed in order of how much each ingredient is used. If sugar, or any of its pseudonyms, are in the top five, that’s a red flag. Watch out for: fructose, sucrose, molasses, corn syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup.

Buy “unsweetened:” This way, we can control how much sugar we want.

Cut back slowly: The idea isn’t to slash all sugar from our diet. But we can cut back. Instead of using one packet of sugar in coffee, try 2/3 of a packet … Pretty soon our bodies will find things “too sweet.”

Find yummy replacements: Proteins + fats (yes, fats) are great snacks. Almonds. Eggs and avocados. Olive oil drizzled on brown toast with feta cheese. Cutting sugar doesn’t mean cutting taste. Think of the great flavors nature has: nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla bean … all “sweet” replacements. Plus, the flavor won’t be masked by the sweetness.

“Diet” is not the answer: Replacing sodas with diet soda isn’t a way to cut sugars.

Cutting back on sugar from your diet is a huge step toward living a healthier life.  It’s simply a matter of modification and moderation. We don’t expect you to pass up your grandma’s sweet potato pie. Food is tradition and health. Our daily habits, though, can change so we can improve our wellness, one bite at a time.