Break Your Sugar Addiction: A 4-Step Plan to Stop Sugar Cravings

By making smarter food choices, you can eat less sugar and lose weight without feeling deprived.

How to cut out sugar from your diet - 4 steps to eating healthy

I have the biggest sweet tooth and I know I’m not alone!  But as much as I love my cookies and cakes, I’ve simply come to point where I want to make better decisions about my overall health. Eating too much sugar has many harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to all sorts of diseases.

The average American consumes a whopping 152 pounds of sugar each year. Research has shown that sugar is biologically addictive, which means the more sugar you eat, the more you also crave. But the good news is that anyone can break the sugar addiction by making smarter food choices to eat less sugar and lose weight without feeling deprived. 

About a month ago, I decided to make it a personal goal to cut down on eating sugar. I’ll still never turn down dessert for a celebration, but my goal was to make it a habit to take bulk of the unnecessary sugar and bad carbs out of my diet on a day-to-day basis.

So here’s my 4 week plan on how to stop sugar cravings and how my honest feelings while I was going through the process of it. 

Quitting sugar isn't as hard as you might think. How to stop sugar cravings and and cut down on eating sugar...

Understanding Sugar and Where it’s Hiding in your Food

Before we get into the 4 step plan, I thought it was important to understand more about sugar… 

Sugar comes in many forms—including honey, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, and molasses. You want to limit all of them, but especially high-fructose corn syrup and fructose, because it actually stimulates appetite and causes us to eat more. 

Understanding the composition of the food you eat is important to helping you eat the right foods that are good for your body. Take the time to read the ingredient label to determine how much added sugar is in your foods and try to choose products with the least amount of added sugar. A rule of thumb is, if the food serving labels has less than 3% of your daily value intake it has a small amount of sugar, and anything with 15% or more of your daily value intake has a large amount of sugar and not a great idea for you to have a on daily basis. 

It is also important to limit “empty calorie” foods that are high in sugars, but provide few nutrients. Soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, sugary cereals, frozen dinners, flavoured yogurts, white bread, boxed desserts and condiments usually fall into this category and typically considered to be high in sugar.

Instead, choose similar foods that are low in added sugar such as vegetables, fruit, water, plain oats, whole grain breads and plain yogurt. This will help reduce the amount of added sugar you eat or drink.

How to break your sugar addiction - A 4 step plan to cut down on sugar

How to Stop Sugar Cravings in 4 Steps

Now you understand a little more about sugar and where it’s hiding, let’s get into a plan to curbing those sugar craving for good. For me, going cold turkey never works. Diet plans and food restrictions done with sudden change usually cause you to bounce back just as quickly. My goal with this gradual 4-week plan to cut down on sugar is to create it a good eating habits that can be sustainable for the long term. 

Week 1: Cutting Down on Portion of Sugar 

For the first week, the plan is to still allow myself all the regular eating that I’m used to, but to simply restrict myself to a single serving portion amount.  So instead of eating 10 cookies, I would eat just 1 or 2. 

Also, I made sure I had 3-4 healthy, nutrient filled meals a day that included proteins like eggs, fish, chicken, and grass-fed meats, and healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids found in avocados, seeds nuts, and fish.  

Making sure I had my solid meals would keep me full throughout the day and prevented me from wanting to snack on sugary treats.

How I felt about week 1 of cutting down on sugar

This week was certainly good practice for my self control.  A few times, I did eat an extra cookie, but I didn’t let myself over indulge either. Learning self control was much more difficult than I thought, but it was a good lesson to learn and put into practice.

Week 2: Stop Eating Sweet Treats All Together

During the second week, I planned to start cutting out obvious sugar culprits such as cookies, pop, candy etc. from my diet. If I was having a bad sugar craving, the plan was to eat fruit instead, so at least I would get the sensation of something sweet and still benefit from eating something nutritious for my body. Like the first week, keeping a regular schedule 3-4 solid meals a day is important.

How I felt about week 2 – No More Sweet Treats

Overall, I felt pretty good this week. I had some good momentum from week 1, and I really didn’t have any cravings for junk food at all to be honest. It felt really good to be eating solid meals and snacking on fruits.

Week 3: Cutting Down on Hidden Sugar

Now that I’ve already cut out obvious sugar culprits, the next step is to cut out the hidden sugars. These are sugars and bad carbohydrates are hiding in so many foods such a cereals, pastas, breads, and even many foods that we believe to be healthy, such as juices, dried fruit, granola bars, and fruit yogurt. This week the plan was to cut down and try avoid all these items as well.

How I felt about week 3: – Avoiding Foods with Hidden Sugars

This week had been a busy one for me, and I didn’t have a chance to plan out my 3-4 meals as the previous 2 weeks. This created a big downfall for me, but also taught me the value of having my proper meals. 

Several times throughout the week I noticed I  felt hungry and grumpy, with cravings for candy and junk food. I caved a few to the temptations and though I wasn’t proud of myself, I know it’s also part of the process for developing new habits.

Week 4: Building a Habit to Eat Less Sugar and More Healthy Foods

This week I planned to continue to eat with minimal sugar in my diet, but also try to find the right balance to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Whether that be pasta once a week, or cake only for a celebration, I firmly believe finding the right balance is important, so you can find enjoyment your life and be healthy as well.

How I felt about week 4:  Finding Balance and Eating a Low Sugar Diet On a Regular Basis

I found week 4 was a lot better than the previous week. Learning how important it was to have good meals to keep me full throughout the day was a good lesson to learn. and I made sure to get back on top of my 3 meals a day, and as well as stock up on fresh fruit for when I did have some sugar craving. 

So this week, it was pretty easy for me to stick to the program and eat well. I came to realize that a big part of eating well, is being able to plan what you’ll be eating. I felt when I didn’t plan my meals, I was tempted just to got for convenient foods that tended to be sugary or unhealthy.

How to eat less sugar - 4 steps to quit eating sugar

Overall Review of My 4-Week Plan to Reduce Sugar

I actually feel really great about eating less sugar in my regular diet. When I started to reduce the amount of sugar I ate, I started to crave it less as well. I loss a few pounds as well and noticed my jeans feeling a little looser and the results were encouraging!  Overall, I felt better about my health, and in the process I learned a lot about eating well and the nutrients in foods. 

No Sugar 8-Week Update

After sticking to a low sugar diet for 8 weeks, I honest felt really great. Not only did I rarely have cravings, I noticed a change in my energy levels, attention span, clarity in thoughts, reduction in acne, and overall well-being!

Eating a low-sugar diet has also lead me create overall healthier habits, such as to doing more physical activity in the form of walking and running, as well as enjoying cooking instead of eating out so much. 

When you get used to eating fewer super-sweet things, you crave them less, and in turn be satisfied with less sweet things. And when you do indulge, you have no reason to be guilty!

Cutting down on sugar is something I would suggest everyone give it try. It never hurts to eat healthier or take better care of your body. 

How to quit sugar - 4 steps to eating healthy

Additional Tips To Help Break Your Sugar Habit

Here are some helpful tips that I found useful in my journey on cutting down on sugar:

Out of sight, out of mind! Don’t tempt yourself by keeping candy, cookies, and other high-sugar foods in your cupboards and fridge, as a substitute for sugary sweets, keep fruit around instead and reach for that when you have a craving. 

Sweeten foods yourself.  Start with unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, and unflavored oatmeal. Then add your own sweetener. No matter how much sweetener you add, you probably won’t put in as much as the manufacturer would have and you can choose healthier sugar alternatives like natural honey, agave nectar, or coconut sugar. 

Eat a filling healthy breakfast. Starting out your day with a filling, nutritious meal will provide you with the energy you need to start your day as well as make it less likely for you to give in to cravings. Steel-cut oatmeal, eggs, and fruit are all good breakfast choices. Also check out my post here with 20 easy, low sugar breakfasts to start your day off right

Watch out for hidden sugars in foods. Be wary of foods where sugar tends to hide, including reduced-fat products. When manufacturers take out fat in foods, they often add most of the calories back in sugars.  Avoid products that list sugar as the first ingredient or that contain several different types of sugar (brown sugar, cane nectar, etc.)—it’s one way manufacturers avoid having sugar listed as the first ingredient.

Have any great health tips to cut down on sugar to share?
Let me know in the comments below!

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How to stop sugar cravings and Cut down on eating sugar in 4 easy steps

This post was originally published on September 18, 2014, and updated January 8, 2020. 



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Share your thoughts...

  • Deborah Montagna
    September 19, 2014

    Your sweet tooth must be tiny…….or just I need major help… I read 1/2 of this and went and ate a doughnut…………… and I’m not even hungry, it just tasted great……!! Did finish the article and am willing to try your approach.. wish me luck-i’m going to really need it!

    • Eileen
      September 19, 2014

      Hi Deborah,

      Oh lol, once you break the habit you it will be easier. I used to be just the same as you! Good luck!


  • Bea
    September 26, 2014

    Hi Eileen,
    I got off the sugar and bad carb train before. Pretty much everything contains sugar, even tomatoes. Did you know that one slice of flimsy bread could have over 200 calories? Who eats just one? Getting off refined sugars and empty carbs turned me into one grouchy Santa for a couple of weeks.
    My lessons learned:
    1. Know what’s in your food; read the label, check actual serving sizes. Anything with corn syrup and artificial sweateners, run! If you feel like something sweet, eat real sugar. The body does not know how to process artificial or modified sources. They actually make you crave sweets more, and the food is stored as fat. Natural cain sugar, real honey are good alternatives. Not all cereals/breads claiming to help with weight loss actually have less sugar or carbs.. The serving sizes are smaller. Yes, I would like to just have 1/4 cup of that scrumptious granola! 🙂
    2. No fat, not that great. 0% fat contains added sugar to add flavor (yogurt, sour cream, etc.)
    3. Baby apple sauce in a jar has more sugar in it than most adult no sugar added versions! Kids are purposely targeted from the food industry to get addicted to sugar…
    4. Eat pasta made from quinoa. High in nutrients. Great alternative if you are addicted to carbs like me. Also available as grain. Makes killer salads and bakes.
    5. Eat small snacks every 2-3 hours to keep your blood sugar regulated. Low blood sugar will turn you into the sugar monster.
    6. Educate yourself. Not all sources of sugar are created equal.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Eileen
      October 5, 2014

      Hi Bea, Those are some really great tips! Thanks for sharing!


  • Eileen
    October 18, 2014

    Very true, thanks for sharing!

  • Rochkirstin Santos
    November 18, 2014

    I also had a plan to break away from eating too much sweets. From there, I have lost weight and succeeded. You’re right, one of the steps I did was to make sure I was full after every meal so I would not be looking for something else (most often, sweets) to eat.

  • Marie Moody
    November 18, 2014

    Wonderful idea. I need to try this one myself and get away from the sugar and be careful of my portions. Thanks for sharing.

  • Fi Ni Neachtain
    November 18, 2014

    I wish it was easy to cut out the sweet treats! I learned on my diet that everything contains so much sugar, cans of baked beans are the worst.

  • Robin Rue
    November 18, 2014

    I have known people that have given up sugar on purpose before and it worked well for them. I won’t do it, though 🙂

  • Franc Ramon
    November 18, 2014

    I’m such a sweet tooth. I’m taking note of this tips as I need to cut down on my sweets.

  • Aisha Kristine Chong
    November 18, 2014

    I tend to have such struggle with that, too. But thankfully, I am not that addicted to sugar now than I am before lol. Cutting down the soda’s especially coke is another step.

  • Lubna Naz
    November 18, 2014

    Thanks for the nice Tip, my mom and dad has diabetic and these helpful tips will sure help them. I will share it for sure. Thanks for a nice share.

  • Samantha Angell
    November 18, 2014

    Oofta, like you- I have the biggest sweet tooth ever! I’m not sure if I could ever totally cut out sugar though.

  • Kung Phoo
    November 18, 2014

    I have quit sugar for the last 37 days. i do still want sugary things but i have been off of it.

  • Courtney
    November 18, 2014

    Omg I woukd love to stop my sugar addition!!! Thankyou for sharing 🙂

  • Shanéy Vijendranath
    November 18, 2014

    I definitely needed to read this post, I love sugar especially desserts! My hubby keeps shouting me about this. At the moment I’m trying to cut down the sugar in my tea.

  • Kristin
    November 18, 2014

    These are great tips. I have the worst sweet tooth sometimes. I need to stop.

  • Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    November 18, 2014

    You did it so smart with the gradual weaning. I wish I could do the same thing, but I do terribly when I eliminate parts of my diet.

  • Kae James
    November 18, 2014

    This is a good post. Although I do not eat much sweets. It is tempting when it is right in front of me. Smart that you slowly gradually took your time to cut sugars out.

  • Dawn Kropp
    November 18, 2014

    I needed this article, seriously need to cut back on sugar!! As I sit here eating a handful of M&Ms LOL!

  • Sandy Olsen
    November 18, 2014

    Oh those sweet cravings. My best battle to avoid sugar cravings is to not bring anything at home. Though it’s hard to not bring those with kids, we try to limit sugar-packed products.

  • Catherine S
    November 18, 2014

    Thanks for the information. I have been trying to cut out sugar and eat gluten free. I have been struggling with the no sugar part. I will try to do it in steps like you did.

  • Pam W
    November 18, 2014

    I want to cut the amount of sugar in my diet down. I seem to lean on sweets when I am stressed! Cutting out hidden sugars will be the hardest part I think.

  • Erica Bodker
    November 18, 2014

    I was so in need of reading this. I have been eating way to many sweets and my butt is starting to lets just say get bigger.

  • Tracers
    November 18, 2014

    I am so addicted to sugar! I so need to do this! Great tips!

  • Ourfamilyworld
    November 18, 2014

    I love the idea of a 4 week plan. I tried to do it once and cut back on everything but it failed

  • Ann Bacciaglia
    November 18, 2014

    This is such a great post for me. I am definitely a sugar addict.

  • Mia Myrabev
    November 19, 2014

    I have the biggest sweet tooth evident by the amounts of tooth fillings I have or did I mention a root canal too lol, I am cutting back a bit but i wont say completely but I am better than i was

  • Erin Kennedy
    November 19, 2014

    Sugar can be so bad for your health. More than people know. These tips are super important. Thanks for sharing.

  • Amber Louise Edwards
    November 19, 2014

    This is possible! Just deep convincing but doable.

  • Elizabeth O.
    November 19, 2014

    I am cutting down on my sugar intake too.

  • TouristMeetsTraveler
    November 19, 2014

    After I stopped drinking soda entirely 5 years ago I lost my craving for sugar completely, it makes you feel so much better

  • мѕ.αℓчѕѕα
    November 19, 2014

    I seriously need to do this, I have an addiction to junk food!

  • Amanda @ Adorkablii
    November 19, 2014

    I am not a sugar person. I use to be but earlier this year I cut it out. The best was I got a coffee last week with extra sugar and extra cream and yuck!!! But i use to get it all the time! haha lol

  • Erica Brooks
    November 19, 2014

    Good tips. I’ve been cutting back more and more using these methods and it does work.

  • songbirdsandbuttons
    November 19, 2014

    Awesome post – it is so hard to cut out sugar! I really want to try though!

  • Melissa Vera
    November 20, 2014

    I so needed this article, I have been trying to cut out sugar from our diet. Thank you for these helpful tips.

  • Marielle Altenor
    November 20, 2014

    These are some really good tips! It’s so hard to cut sugar. I actually stop adding sugar to my coffee but every once in a while I will crave it.

  • SharonMomsMadhouse
    November 21, 2014

    Good for you! I rarely have sugar anymore and when I want something sugary in my coffee I just use all natural honey now 🙂

    • Eileen
      December 26, 2014

      That’s a great idea! I love natural honey! Thanks Sharon!

  • angele @shoeboxbegone
    November 28, 2014

    Too many of us have this problem 🙂 thanks for the tips!

    • Eileen
      December 18, 2014

      You’re welcome! Cheers!

  • Dbakeca Italia
    December 12, 2014

    I’m working on quitting sugar. So, this is a wonderful and incredibly helpful post to me.

    • Eileen
      December 18, 2014

      I’m glad you found it helpful! Good luck on your journey!

  • Laura
    January 19, 2015

    I’m going to start trying to eat healthy. Some things I know have helped other people cut sugar are to eat natural sugars in moderation (dates, fruit, honey, coconut sugar), and to eat healthy, satiating fats, and good nutrient-dense foods. I think planning all my snacks and healthy sweets each week will be the key to my success.

  • Alex
    February 20, 2015

    I read the chapter on sugar from Terence McKenna’s book “Food of the Gods” and I quit overnight! When you learn just how much you are killing yourself, it gets easier to give up.

  • Rebecca P.
    February 20, 2015

    It’s amazing how once do you stop a high sugar diet, sweets will never be the same. I really don’t like sweets and when I “crave” something it would be a piece of fruit! Don’t need all that refined sugar!

  • Mrs.Carter
    March 14, 2015

    Thank you for being practical. I live off of sugar and literally use it to get through every hour teaching 5th graders. This gave me hope that its possible with out going into extreme withdrawal like i did with gluten.

  • Robin
    April 5, 2015

    i need to cut out sugar as well but an even bigger issue for me is my children cutting it out. My kids eat so much sugar and I know it’s bad but I honestly don’t know what to feed them that they will eat! I have a few unusually picky eaters! One doesn’t eat any fruit at all and very limited vegetables! There’s no hiding them because they eat such plain and limited foods there’s nothing to hide them in! Ugh!

    • boldintrovert
      April 15, 2015

      I have also limited my kid’s sugar intake by giving them low sugar options for lunch and after dinner such as 1 organic granola bar (not an entire pack of 2), no sugar added apple sauce (cheap too), animal crackers (cheap), fruit and a bit of whipped cream, Izzys to drink instead of soda or fruit punch. No these aren’t the absolute healthiest options but they may help keep kids away from candy bars and soda.

    May 5, 2015

    Ah sugar, the crack of the food world, deliriously exciting and enticing in the initial stages, then spits you out and has you scrounging through your garbage can in the wee hours of the morn hunting that chocolate bar you decided to ‘throw out.’ On that note, I went paleo recently and it’s been amazing, knew I wanted to get into the paleo lifestyle, so I did my research and decided to purchase Fat Burning Chef. It’s seriously the most comprehensive paleo digital cookbook out there. Tons of awesome
    recipes with a kitchen stocking guide and really immerses you into the paleo
    world. Check out my review by heading to my site, (hint it’s my name 😉

  • Kathleen Steoger
    July 11, 2015

    I have found that when I crave sugar I am lacking in protein. I grab a handful of nuts and it does the trick quickly before I cave in. It helps to not have any sweets in the house. Also on my pinterest board I took out all sweet/dessert recipes and unfollowed boards that were full of sweets. It helps not to see it.

  • Hapinesswherever
    August 11, 2015

    Last night, I dreamt that a friend told me I was pasty and fat (!!!) I say that means it’s time to follow your footsteps and cut the sugar 🙁

  • Gemma Etc. (@GemmaEtc)
    January 18, 2020

    Such great tips for those wanting to reduce their sugar intake, with new year health kicks! xx

    • Eileen
      January 18, 2020

      Thanks so much Gemma! Definitely one of my goals this year!

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Break Your Sugar Addiction: A 4-Step Plan to Stop Sugar Cravings