Conquer the Sugar Craving Beast: 4 Ways

March 15, 2012 · 35 comments

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One of the goals for this Detox Challenge is to reduce the use of sugar and sweeteners. Sugar cravings are one of the hardest things to get under control. The bacteria and yeast in the gut feed upon sugar and undigested carbohydrates.  I call them sugar craving yeastie beasties. They are formidable when it comes to taming their siren call. However, it has been done by many and it can be done by you. I’ll show you how.

In my clinical experience, people who harbor yeast overgrowth tend to have difficulty controlling sugar cravings. The candida yeast borrow through the intestinal mucosa and create openings that contribute to leaky gut syndrome. This sets off the immune system and can also lead to hormonal imbalances. Constipation goes hand in hand with this clinical picture. The goal is to starve out the yeastie beasties.

Drink bone broth throughout the day 

This will provide easy to digest nutrients, vitamins and minerals that will not feed the yeast but will feed you. It practically needs no digestion. This allows your digestive tract to rest and yet still be fed. Many times, a sugar craving will come when you are tired or need a nutrient boost. The bone broths will give you that and will keep you hydrated.

Eat fat

Fat is a neutral factor in blood sugar regulation. There are no spikes and drops in blood sugar when you eat fat. If you get a sugar or carb craving, have something fatty. I admit, sometimes I eat a small pat of butter right off the spoon! You could eat some vegetables smothered in butter and/or extra virgin olive oil. You could have a small handful of crispy nuts; pecans, walnuts or macadamias have the highest fat content. You could take a spoonful of homemade nut butter. You could mix coconut oil into a smoothie.

Each meal should have fat in it. Cook with good saturated fats from grassfed animals such as lard, tallow, duck fat and chicken fat. There is a lot of beneficial CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in grassfed beef. Eat the cartilage and gristle off the bones of your beef and chicken meals.

Eat fermented foods

This will start a restoration process that will favor the beneficial bacteria. As time goes on and you add more and more of these foods to your every day diet, the pathogenic bacteria and yeast will slowly start to die off.

Take a spoonful of homemade sauerkraut if you have a sugar craving. The sour taste will stop that craving in its tracks. Have a homemade pickle or any other small amount of a fermented food. Generally this would include fermented dairy, but for the GAPS Intro, dairy is not allowed. Save that idea for when you are through the Intro stages.

The benefits of eating fermented foods on a regular basis are many. Visit my Probiotic Foods Linky for an incredible selection of recipes for fermented foods.

Drink fermented juices. I think fermented juices are high in nutrient value.

Make and drink fresh vegetable juice

Just the process of making fresh vegetable juice will distract you from the sugar craving. Of course, you must plan ahead in order to have the vegetables on hand to juice. The more inconvenient a food is to make, the more you appreciate its value towards your goal of beating the yeastie beasties. There are many recipes for making fresh juice. Any combination will do. Just add half an apple, as this gives a little sweetness and the pectin helps digestion.

The less sweet foods you eat the easier it is to stop

I find that as soon as I can get over 2 -3 days of not eating any sweet things, the cravings become much less. However, the minute I eat something sweet, the cravings come back. After two weeks of not eating sweet things I do not feel any cravings at all and I am able to have something sweet without falling off the wagon so to speak.

How are you doing without sweets? Leave a comment and let me know!

Where to buy fermented juice

How to make your own fermented cabbage juice

Where to buy a Juice Extractor

This post is shared at: Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Friday Food, Fight Back Friday, Sunday School, Sugar-Free Sunday, Melt in Mouth Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday Tidbits, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Hearth  & Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday Naptime, Tasty Tuesday 33, Traditional Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wedneday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten- Free Wednesday, SustainableWays, Whole Food Wednesday, Health 2 Day, Real Food Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, Mommy Club, Creative Juice Thursday, Tastastic, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cupcakemom777 March 16, 2012 at 8:22 am

I am currently doing a 90 day mostly raw vegan diet called the Hallelujah Diet to bring healing to some chronic pain. After day 5 my pain was gone. It seems that my “yeastie beasties” have also been beaten, thank God! For me not eating yeasted grains and eating raw has been key to me defeating them. I juice morning and night time and drink smooties and eat veggies/nuts during the rest of the day. Early on I was eating a slice of whole grain bread with my meals but I noticed that made me crave sugar right away. Raw food of any kind doesn’t seem to cause any cravings but most cooked food triggers something whether an actual craving or just a long time habit of having a little “goodie” afterward. Anyhow, thanks for posting about sugar detox, it’s something a lot of us struggle with!

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2 Jill March 16, 2012 at 8:43 am

The hormone imbalance caused by yeast overgrowth really caught my attention! Can you explain a little more how that happens? My 18 year old daughter (who had/has multiple food allergies) has had a tendency towards constipation her entire life and interestingly, suffered severe hypoglycemic episodes during puberty. Those hormone changes whacked her out big time! She has been on GAPS for almost a year now and is doing tremendously better, including conquering more than half of her food allergies! I am just curious about how gut dysbiosis affects hormone balance, since I am sure it affected hers.

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3 Jill March 16, 2012 at 10:43 am

Hi Jill,
Here’s the answer to that question:
As you probably know 80% of the immune system is in the gut. The digestive tract is lined with lymph (immune) tissue known as GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue). Food sensitivities, undigested proteins, leaky gut, and infections from bacteria, yeast and parasites can cause a major stress to the GALT. In response, the adrenal glands become (stressed) activated and they increase cortisol. Cortisol will affect other hormones, such as the thyroid, growth hormone, etc.

Chronic elevations in cortisol from stress will suppress the immune system in the GI tract. In turn this will lead to dysbiosis, parasites, yeast and leaky gut — a vicious cycle which further disrupts hormone function.

In addition, some hormones are converted to their active forms in the gut — if the gut is dysfunctional, the hormones conversions will be as well.

Hope this helps! The yeast overgrowth and the dybiosis it caused probably contributed to the hypoglycemia. I’m so glad to hear she is doing better on GAPS.

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4 Bebe March 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I really appreciate this explanation… I was wondering the same thing as Jill. But for myself.
I recently visited my DNP and mentioned an ongoing complaint I have of a chronic necessity to clear my throat, gag easily, choke on vinegary and/or spicy things. She immediately muscle tested me for yeast in my sinuses and yep, there’s yeast there. So of course there’s yeast elsewhere… in my gut.
I have been eating/drinking fermented foods, using minimal sugar and grains, no milk, etc… for the past year. Now I am on Nystatin as well with the instructions to avoid anything made with yeast (breads, wine, beer, etc…), sugar and alcohol.
I like the tip to drink the sauerkraut juice!

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5 Jill March 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Hi Bebe,
Yeast overgrowth is very difficult to control. Sounds like you are doing all the right things.

Coconut oil is also good to keep yeast populations down. As a supplement, monolaurin (Lauricidin — made from coconut oil) is also good.

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6 Bebe March 19, 2012 at 1:08 am

Thank you… maybe that’s why I have been eating so much coconut oil these days!

7 julia March 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

I have been told, have read, and have used glutamine (an amino acid) as a way to control sugar cravings. I’ve been surprised how well it works. I get it in capsules and open it up and put it under my tongue until it dissolves.

Not really a whole food solution, but it can be very helpful.

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8 Jill March 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Hi Julia,
Yes, I’ve read that — interesting — glutamine is produced in fermented vegetables, particularly cabbage.

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9 Hanna March 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Bone broths can also be used to take in Glucosamine.
Glucosamine, which is produced naturally in the body, plays a key role in building cartilage, the tough connective tissue that cushions the joints.
Some people need supplements (expensive), another good reason to have bone broths huh?

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10 Jill March 16, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Hi Hanna,
Yes most definitely! Bone broths have incredible nutrition!

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11 Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) March 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Totally right about the 2-3 days hump. I’m extremely sensitive to sugar – 2 brownies and I’m almost garunteed a headache or migraine the next day. But after a few days of being really consciencious about avoiding it, it becomes easy.
But jumping into sugar again is so easy. Once you have that first bite it’s so hard to stop.

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12 Jill March 17, 2012 at 9:39 am

Hi Steph,
I am very sensitive to sugar as well — honey not so much. It clearly affects my hormones — if I have a normal portion of sugar in anything — cookies, chocolate, wine — I suffer at night with hot flashes. Stop the sugar and they go away. Another good reason for me to avoid sugar.

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13 Shannon March 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I’m wondering about the bone broth for just general cravings, health, (weight loss even) too? Ideas?

Thanks for linking up to Friday Food at Momtrends.com!

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14 Jill March 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Hi Shannon,
Bone broth is great for weight control — if you have some before the meal — the way it has been traditionally eaten — it will help to fill you up and you don’t eat as much. It is also very nutritious, so your body is not starving for nutrients and making you eat.

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15 Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network March 19, 2012 at 8:16 am

My learning curve is enormous whenever I read your posts and your answers to comments following them. I really appreciate your willingness to share this wealth of knowledge that you so beautifully and clearly impart, thanks once again. Rebecca x

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16 Rachel - A Southern Fairytale March 19, 2012 at 8:29 am

I’m constantly fascinated by what you have to share with us, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

I’m fascinated, and now going to look up bone broth and how to make homemade sauerkraut.

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17 Jill March 19, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hi Rachel,
Thanks for your kind words. I just added links to the bone broths and the sauerkraut in the post!

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18 Molly March 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I never used to like sauerkraut before going traditional. Now I love it. I started this diet as well by googling yeast cures which lead to coconut oil which led to Eat Fat, Lose Fat which is written by Sally Fallon/Dr. Enig. Now I love sauerkraut. I haven’t made my own yet, perhaps this fall. But curiously enough I love to drink the juice out of the jar after I eat the kraut! People wrinkle their nose up at me but suddenly it is beyond delicious!!!

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19 Mary March 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I really love your descriptions and explanations and it’s totally something I can identify with. It’s the first time that something I can totally “sing” with,.

Thanks for this post and I look forward to reading more.

Mary

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20 Jill March 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Hi Mary,
Thanks so much for your kind words. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.

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21 Susan with Permanent Posies March 20, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Well, that is great info, as usual. I am officially trying to kick the sugar. This is day 2. So far, so good.

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22 Athena March 21, 2012 at 10:04 am

Sugar is a constant struggle for me. I have been limiting my sugar intake and doing really well. You’re sooo right about the cravings coming back with a vengance once I “slip” though. It usually turns into 2 or more days of eating way too much sugar before I feel so bad, I finally decide to save myself from myself and lay off the sugar. :) I notice a huge difference in how great I feel when sugar is not a part of my diet. Thanks for the tips in this post. I’m going to eat fat next time I crave sugar. It seems so counter to today’s diet “wisdom”, but I know now how flawed that “wisdom” is. Hmmm that coconut butter in my pantry is calling my name…

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23 Jill March 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

Hi Athens,
Thanks for sharing — I, too, can go a day or two with a slip up — but then it does come back with a vengeance. Hey, that coconut butter is starting to call my name too!

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24 Cyndi March 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I have been off sugar and white flour since May 2011, I can not touch the sugar or I have uncontrolled behavior, days to weeks. I have been a diet controlled diabetic for 20 years and that is a disaster to a diabetic. After 20 years of fighting the knowledge that I cannot let it past my lips I dare say I have it beat because it only takes a fall to the temptation and I will be gone. I have had a cupcake in my hand and released it, but know that it is a temptation I will fight and am willing to because my longeivity depends on it.

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25 April @ The 21st Century Housewife March 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Thank you for sharing a very interesting, and very well researched post with us at the Hearth and Soul hop. You’ve included some great practical advice for those working to give up / reduce the amount of sugar they eat.

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26 Nancy @Real Food Allergy Free March 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

Great tips Jill! I have found that supplementing with magnesium helps me as well. Thanks for sharing at allergy free wednesday. I hope you’ll come back today and share some more of your stuff.

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