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These are the best ways to crush sugar cravings on the keto diet

Stay keto and ditch sugar with these top tips

candy sugary colorful treats in glass jar on white table
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It’s hard to resist the delightfully sweet taste of sugar. Dodging the sweet stuff in our sugar-centric modern world seems like a challenging feat, whether it’s the golden syrup on your doughy pancakes, the sugary chocolate bar, or the fizzy soda. When you’re following a ketogenic diet, you drop your carb intake to less than around 50 grams per day. This includes the tempting allure of sugar in all forms, from sugary syrups and refined processed carbs to added sugar. 

pouring white sugar from silver metallic spoon into white ceramic bowl on table
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Top tips to crush sugar cravings on keto

Many people experience excellent results on a low-carb, high-fat diet. The ketogenic diet has been proven to improve weight loss, diabetes, prediabetes, blood sugar levels, and insulin levels. Devouring sugar on a cheat day can hinder your progress and push you out of the beneficial metabolic state of ketosis. Here are some top tips to help you crush your sugar cravings and stay on the keto track.

Exercise

Working out suppresses your appetite by increasing satiety hormones and decreasing hunger hormones. Exercise can improve your mood and self-control, so you’re less likely to fall off the keto wagon and into the sugary cupcakes. Regular exercise also upregulates GLUT-4 — a transport molecule that transports glucose (sugar) into your muscle stores. Upregulating this molecule helps keep your blood sugar stable. Frequent exercise has been linked to lower instances of diabetes because it helps prevent higher blood sugar levels.

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Improve your sleep quality

Poor sleep is associated with poor blood sugar control. Improving your sleep could also hush those persistent naggings for a sweet treat. Try to create a relaxing atmosphere for sleep with a dark and quiet room at an optimal temperature.

De-stress

Studies reveal stress can hike up your blood sugar and lead to stress-induced hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels). Of course, it’s impossible to avoid all stress at all times, but there are ways you can lower your overall stress levels, such as exercise and getting better quality sleep.

green broccoli on light blue background
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Add more fiber

Research shows fiber slows down blood sugar spikes. When your blood sugar is frequently climbing up and crashing down, you’re more likely to have sugar cravings. Consuming fiber is another way to help stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce the urge to eat something sugary. Most keto experts and advocates encourage a well-formulated ketogenic diet with plenty of fiber from low-carb sources, including:

  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Avocados
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Berries
  • Seeds
Avocado cut in half birds eye view on green and yellow background
Irene Kredenets / Unsplash

Add more fat

Like fiber, fat also slows down blood sugar spikes and diminishes the action of the insulin hormone on your blood sugar. Eating a ketogenic meal with dietary fat, protein, and fiber will help you feel fuller for longer. Choose healthy fats from ketogenic sources, such as:

  • Avocado
  • Coconut and coconut milk and oil
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Meat and seafood
  • Eggs

Give it time

When you’re suddenly longing for a donut or cupcake, give it time and try to distract yourself by thinking about or doing other things. Maybe it’s a good time to exercise, call a friend, or sip some tea to shift your thoughts. Try a keto-approved sweet drink like a comforting low-carb hot chocolate with simple ingredients like heavy dairy cream, coconut cream, and unsweetened cocoa powder. You can add a keto-approved sweetener like stevia or monk fruit for more sweetness. Sometimes, a simple berry-infused water is sweet enough.

Instead of gorging on unhealthy foods, practice self-care and take a relaxing bubble bath or salt bath.

chocolate cream dessert bites squares on baking tray cooking tray on white table
Paulita Solange / Pixabay

Make keto replacements

You can find or make keto replacements for your favorite carb-heavy comfort foods and sugary snacks or desserts. Today, plenty of keto-friendly options are available in most grocery stores and even some restaurants. You can also find countless delicious keto recipes in books and on the web. Some recipes, like fat bombs, are typically easier to make and come loaded with delicious, healthy, satiating fats. Enjoy making keto cupcakes, pancakes, cookies, and chocolates with keto-friendly flour, such as almond or coconut flour, along with keto-approved sweeteners that don’t skyrocket your blood sugar, like stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol.

Avoid visiting certain bakeries or places where you know the urges would be too strong. Plan ahead and prepare some sweet-tasting goodies in your fridge or freezer so you have something to grab and go when the craving creeps in. Meal-prepping and planning your meals in advance means you won’t be hungry and scrambling for sugar and carbs. It’s also a good idea to get your family on board and avoid buying sugary comfort foods so you don’t have them in your house. 

spoonful of white sugar held above a dark table with white sugar on the table
Immo Wegmann / Unsplash

Why are sugar cravings so hard to beat?

Sugar cravings are so hard to beat for several reasons. For example, sugar triggers a release of the feel-good brain chemical called dopamine. Over time, you need to eat more and more sugar to obtain the same ‘dopamine reward.’

The more you eat sugar, the more you feed the sugar-loving bacteria in your gut microbiome. Over time, your gut microbiome changes, and the sugar-loving bacteria continue to spur these cravings. Fortunately, there are ways to hamper these sugar urges and continue to reap the benefits of the ketogenic diet. 

Steph Green
Steph Green is a content writer specializing in healthcare, wellness, and nutrition. With over ten years of experience, she…
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