Any sugar detox success stories?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 05, 2013 at 3:34 AM

I've been trying to quit my sugar addiction, but each time try, I always end up derailing miserably (today and yesterday I had a cheat so saddeningly SAD I won't even mention it here). I live with other people, so it's kind of hard to keep all sugary things out of the house. Are there any tricks for quitting the sugar addiction other than willpower alone? I've been under a lot of stress lately and my willpower has been very weak.

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5 Answers

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on September 05, 2013
at 09:43 PM

I agree with everyones posts. I just wanted to add a little side note. It does it get easier but if you still get a hankering for something sweet every now and then. Try some of the dessert recipes online but as a rule of thumb try to avoid anything that calls for dates, excessive amounts of almond flour (more than one cup) and more than a half cup or so of honey. I used to avoid honey at all costs because it would send me over the edge but now I am able to eat small amounts without it causing me to cave in. Try recipes with the least amount of ingredients. That is what helped me plus I love anything simple and no bake is even better. Good luck!


on September 05, 2013
at 12:36 PM

I'm on week 5 of 95-100% Paleo. Sugar was definitely a harder one for me too. Home wasn't as big of an issue for me as work. I work in an office setting and there is a candy bowl at the front desk. I used to grab a piece of candy every time I walked past it and I have to walk past it to go to the bathroom, the kitchen area to get water or coffee or to check on the staff that reports to me. I figure I had 8-10 pieces of candy a day (hard candy, mini chocolate bars, Hersey Kisses, etc.).

When I first went Paleo, I used a couple of substitutes to take me down slow. I had some organic dark chocolate and nuts. What worked the best for me was flavored almonds, especially the coco flavored ones. I used this for about the first two weeks then upped my protein intake a little more and that seemed to do it.

After 2 weeks the cravings went away. Now I can walk by the candy dish without any problems. So it does get better.

Good luck!


on September 06, 2013
at 06:06 AM

Some good suggestions here. With sugar (and grains, BTW) I found it helpful to:

  1. Remember that sugar soothes. Looking at what was going on before I reached for the sugar was/is paramount. For me, cramming sugar in my face was usually in response to (a) not taking care of hunger in better ways or (b) in reaction to [scientific term] an emotional turd. So identifying triggers--and how they felt in my body--was key. Being present and emotionally conscious was necessary. I noticed that I ate sugar and other foods that didn't serve me (and in ways that didn't serve me) while working a job I really hated. Instead of taking action--speaking out, looking for another job--I shut down with sugar.

  2. Stop calling myself a sugar addict (or an addict of any kind). Pathologizing behavior didn't and doesn't serve me.

  3. Let go of sugar entirely by stepping it down. For example, I stopped adding sugar to oatmeal, stopped eating oatmeal, switched to granola, and stopped eating that. I went from 55% chocolate solids to 85%, which killed the chocolate-sugar high.

  4. Tracking when I ate it. I simply wrote it down, didn't change anything--and then noticed I wasn't eating very much sugar. Good luck.



on September 05, 2013
at 12:59 PM

I was a huge sugar addict. I would pick family vacations based on restaurants that had good desserts. I understand how difficult it is to get over that kind of addiction.

The way I got over my addiction is based on my reasons for quitting sugar. I didn't quit sugar because of anything paleo. I hadn't even heard of it before. My wife and I read "Anti-Cancer: A new way of life" because I've had cancer before, and we started to understand that everything effects you on a molecular level. (Screw the observational studies. What's really happening?!) In our motivation to prevent cancer from recurring, we started to follow the guidelines in the book, which matches up almost perfectly with paleo (except for eating whole grains. Once I discovered paleo, I dropped wheat and most grains as well and couldn't be happier).

We found how bad sugar is in helping cancer to grow. Cancer cells have 10X the number of insulin receptors, which allows it to take in more energy and survive better. Lowering sugar lowers insulin and the fuel source that most cancers need. Sugar also increases inflammation, which is another component that cancer needs. Inflammation is the body trying to repair quickly (grow cells faster) which is what cancer is trying to do, so you're giving your body the green light to let cells grow fast.

I've oversimplified the effects, and I'm sure the detail oriented science geeks on this site can pick it apart, but the general concept is there. The basic way I stay away from sugar can be summed up as follows:

I don't eat sugar because I don't want to get cancer (again).

For me, it's not about weight loss, or preventing arterial damage, or brain diseases like Alzheimer's, although those are good side effects. Every time I have the opportunity to have a great sugary treat, I ask myself "is this worth getting cancer for?"

Also, avoiding anything sweetened, no matter what the source, even stevia, will help you get over your cravings eventually. The more sweet stuff you have, the more you want, even if it's not sugar. It took me 2 years to really get over serious cravings and a few years more to stop automatically searching for a treat after meals, so it can take time, but it's worth it.


on September 05, 2013
at 12:07 PM

I understand--sugar is my trigger food too, especially when I'm stressed. I live with a roommate, who eats crap [chips, sugary foods, buttery toast, pizza, tons of booze], and it's so tempting when she offers me these food. I tend to leave the house, when she's cooking or start cooking some food for myself--it always ends up looking and smelling better than hers. Moreover, I look at the state of her body and skin, and remind myself what Paleo has done for me. That usually gives me the will power push I need. I know it's kinda bitchy.

If you want sugar that badly, make yourself leave the house to get it--don't keep a personal stash. Find a place that sells raw desserts and treat yourself to one of those. I find that the unprocessed natural sugars [they often use dates, coconut sugar,bananas, raw honey] + fat content in those desserts don't have me craving more than one slice or one cookie. If I eat a normal table sugar SAD pastry/cookie, I will consume ALL--the entire plate or bag.

In general eating more fat seems to squash my sugar cravings...these are just some thoughts.

good luck!

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