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Curing the Sugar Addiction

I’m going to need reader help with this one. An email.

I was very impressed to read your path. I am currently 360 lbs and I am 5’10. I know it is decision time or I have to pack my bags and leave the planet. I do have the book primal blueprint but I find that I am unable to curb my sugar craving from time to time. I am curious if there is a supplement that would kill my craving and then I would like to let go of the extra weight to get back to 240 lbs.

For a long time until age 40 I was very fit. I competed on a couple U.S. OLYMPIC TEAMS as an alternate getting to the finals of the U.S. Team in 1996 but then I got hooked on the sugar and stopped training like a madman. I sure would like to let go of this weight and feel kinda stuck. I am not confident in other diet systems because they just don’t resonate with me like the paleo does.

Do you have any insights you can share?

My problem was always the indirect intake of sugar via processed food, fast food, bread, pizza, and so on. Sure, I could get a sugar fix on now and then, particularly around holidays when candies & baked sweets abound, but the sweet taste itself was never a big problem for me. That is to say: I would indulge if it was around, but I was never one to buy candies and other sweet stuff, and I always drank diet soda from sometime in my 20s.

So, all that I can say is that for me personally, the biggest craving killer for any sorts of cravings is fat, good fat. In fact, I’ve tested it. I make various forms of "liquid fat bombs" (I no longer use sweeteners of any kind). Currently, my favorite is one egg, 4 oz heavy cream, and 2-3 tsp of FAGE Total, until I have a volume of 8 oz total. I sometimes add some ice as well.

This just knocks hunger — indeed, all cravings — dead, for me.

As to supplements, there’s a couple of things you could check out. I mentioned a Jimmy Moore interview with Julia Ross in this post back in July. The idea is that cravings for various things (drugs, alcohol, sugar) can be seen as deficiencies of various hormones that can be helped by targeting specific amino acids and supplementing. She also says that lots of protein can work too, but that’s harder. But check out the interview and her website.

For me, fat seems to work the best.

Anyone else have insights to share?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

48 Comments

  1. O Primitivo on October 20, 2009 at 15:18

    I would say don’t focus only on food. Also focus on your lifestyle. My single suggestion: WALK 1 HOUR PER DAY, 7 DAYS/WEEK. Or more! Walking improves glucose metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity, and this shall help reduce sugar cravings. Diabetics KNOW walking does wonders to keep glucose under control. Besides this, it’s more time you spend outside, which means more sun exposure / vitamin D and less time you send at home eating. Besides this, there are DOZENS of physiological reasons for walking A LOT (see this article – . I suggest your read weight loss success stories in running magazines. All cases start with a couch potatoe guy, turning of the TV and starting walking A LOT. It doesn’t matter if you’re 200 kg, anyone can walk. The keywords here are: movement, walking, weight lifting, paleodiet, low-carb, low-insulin. Diet is important, but the whole “picture” is called LIFESTYLE!

  2. Jake on October 20, 2009 at 11:20

    Dr Eades recommends L Glutamine. Take 1500mg before meals or when the craving hits you.

    see
    http://www.lowcarbnexus.com/articles/lglutamine.html

    • Lee Deavers on October 21, 2009 at 05:17

      I agree, Glutamine helps a lot. I have heard that niacin will help to. Take the supplement and always have a healthy snack and a healthy drink on hand where ever you go so you are never tempted with junk. My healthy snack is my own soaked/dehydrated walnuts and water. Walnuts give me the fat and fiber to ward off any cravings.



  3. Will on October 20, 2009 at 11:42

    From what I’ve read, it looks like Serotonin is at least partially responsible for carb cravings. I had some success with 5-HTP, but a situation like this is very vulnerable to the placebo effect. I don’t get carb cravings very often, so it was hard to gauge how much benefit I was actually getting out of it while I was taking it.

    Exercise also correlates to serotonin increase, so I’d imagine that would help immensely. This leads to a bit of a paradox, though; lower serotonin levels will probably leave you feeling less motivated to exercise.

  4. Steve on October 20, 2009 at 11:43

    I had a pretty serious sweet tooth. It was always tempered by the ability to turn it on or off. But when I turned it off and fell off the wagon, I craved sweets of all kinds. For me, the first step was to eliminate added sugars. If it was processed or added sugars, I cut it out. Then, I cycled through different fruits with no limitations. When I started down the paleo/primal path, I was having damn near 6+ servings of fruit per day. A bowl of berries, cherries, apples, mango, peaches, watermelon, etc. What I found is that liberally eating fruit reprogrammed by taste buds. I still remember the day that indulging on a very good apple crisp was a huge let down. It was too damn sweet! Instead, I wanted a simple piece of fruit.

    Gradually, after a month or two, my servings of fruit came down to 2-3 servings a day, and mostly berries. I still tend to enjoy other fruits but do so seasonally. I liberally enjoyed a peach every day during peach season, now it’s apples, and so on.

    I guess you could say this was my way of resetting my taste buds and it took care of the sugar cravings on its on.

  5. David on October 20, 2009 at 11:44

    I am a Type 2 diabetic. When I first started my eating change, my wife prepared low-carb desserts. I gradually cut those out, too, but they were effective in helping me transition. There are some good recipes here:

    http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/recipes/u/lowcarbrecipes.htm

    P.S. – off all my diabetes meds now.

  6. jimmydddd on October 20, 2009 at 11:47

    I’ve seen a bunch of people say a table spoon of coconut butter (which echoes your fat recommendation) does the trick. Richard, you’ve mentioned coconut oil and butter on this site. Do you ever use them to satisfy cravings in this way?

    • Richard Nikoley on October 21, 2009 at 10:40

      I’m not real big on straight coconut oil or butter. I like either in my smoothies, sometimes, or maybe the butter on celery, but rarely do I do either straight.



  7. Patrik on October 20, 2009 at 11:58

    1) In conjunction with what Richard and others recommend, I would also recommend quitting sugar AS WELL AS artificial sweeteners cold-turkey.

    For example, don’t do this:

    “Mmmmmm. I’ll take a low-carb burger…and a diet coke.”

    Drink water or unsweetened ice-tea. You do that for a month (while avoiding the clandestinely sweetened foods such as ketchup etc etc) – you will have re-calibrated your taste buds. Everything will taste much too sweet for you.

    2) Also, don’t fall into the follow trap: You have been eating Paleo, avoiding sugar etc etc everything is going fine and then at a dinner party you indulge in some ultra-chewey-chocolate chip cookies (my kryptonite BTW).

    Do NOT then say to yourself:

    “Ah fuck it. I am just gonna binge on shit yet tasty food since today wasn’t ‘perfect'”.

    [I speak from experience]

    Do the following:

    “No worries. A couple of cookies are okay. But I am still on the Paleo path”

  8. HIIT Mama on October 20, 2009 at 12:29

    I find that now that I am pregnant (28 weeks) I have had a hard time keeping my carb intake under control. My blood sugar seems to plummet so fast and often I am caught off guard.

    Once I changed the way I started my day I started doing better. I started eating a high fat, moderate protein breakfast and find that I am WAY more under control for the rest of the day. I break the fast with two poached eggs on a huge bed of steamed spinach topped in a bit of butter. I have no cravings for the rest of the day!

  9. Christian on October 20, 2009 at 12:30

    Patrik’s advice is really good. Stay away from sugar as well as artificial sweeteners, and don’t blame yourself too much if you fall for temptation once in a while, just keep going.

    Most times, half a glass of cream or a tablespoon of coconut oil will kill any craving for sugar for me… If not, I’ll eat a small apple or pear.

  10. Ed on October 20, 2009 at 12:34

    A sugar “addiction” is a behavior or set of behaviors, so it may lend itself to behavioral techniques, such as hypnosis or neurolinguistic programming.

  11. jon w on October 20, 2009 at 12:48

    when I feel like I need dessert: a bowl or cup of unsweetened dairy fat, whether whipped cream, sour, frozen, whatever… and enough berries for flavor. add coconut flakes, nuts, cocoa powder etc for variety. keep the fat content above 60-70% and dont feel bad about the berries.

  12. xtremum on October 20, 2009 at 13:07

    This is probably bad, but this is what I do. I cut way down on sugar and I never eat it on a regualar basis, its not part of my daily diet, but…I do like sugar and have it somtimes. I’ve cut down to the point of having it, usually, once per week. Too much for paleo, sure, but what I do is make a dessert from scratch. That way the only thing ‘bad’ I eat is the sugar itself: no trans fats, flour or ingredients I can’t pronounce. This takes effort, which is one of the things I think is missing from modern eating.

    This isn’t perfect, but I usd to eat the regular SAD and then also binge on sugar a few times a week. Then I would eat primal all week and binge on one day a week on bread, pasta, and then dessert.

    Now I eat primal all the time and eat a dessert I make or some Haagen Daas once a week. It just gets easier, don’t think you have to be perfect right away.

    A lot of primal eating has gotten easier over time and a lot of things, like bread, pasta and rice, that I thought I would miss forever, I don’t miss at all or even care about.

  13. rob on October 20, 2009 at 13:23

    Cold turkey for 2 weeks from all sweets; real and fake. Like your athletic training, the first 2 weeks are going to be *ell, but you will lose your taste for sweets. A word of caution, if you choose to eat fats when you have cravings and fall off of the wagon and eat sweets, it will have an exponential effect on weight gain. Read Good Calories, Bad Calories. Best of luck.

  14. Stephanie on October 20, 2009 at 13:25

    I agree with all the advice above on eliminating both sugar and artificial sweeteners – cold turkey. I would even add eliminating fruit as well just until cravings for sweet food go away. When I go through my periodic sugar or carb binges it only takes me about three days of no sweet food at all to get rid of the craving. Although it isn’t paleo, I find that cheese helps me get off the sweet stuff. Like other fatty foods, it’s extremely satisfying. I start cutting back on cheese too after about three days and then it’s home free again.

  15. Mark on October 20, 2009 at 13:30

    If you are a chocolate lover, try dark chocolate, as dark as you can tolerate (thanks to Mark Sisson for the idea). I started with 70% cocoa content and have progressed to 85-86% (depending upon the brand). What you are really getting with high quality dark chocolate is lots of healthy saturated fat and a little bit of suger. The bitterness also seems to help with self-regulation of the amount that you consume.

    • Patrik on October 20, 2009 at 13:35

      For me, the dark chocolate thing is a double-edged sword. When I get some, I look at the actual sugar content per serving. Clearly, the greater cocoa percentage, the less sugar.

      HOWEVER! I find that when I buy a bar, intended to last, say a week — I can quickly eat in one or two nights.

      (Why? Because the taste of sugar/sweets prompts you to desire more.)

      Now, that is not a big deal nor the end of the world, but for me, out of sight, out of mind. Or don’t buy it, and then you won’t eat it.



    • Mark on October 20, 2009 at 13:40

      As long as I stick with very dark chocolate, I don’t have the urge to eat more than a square or two at a sitting.



  16. Patrik on October 20, 2009 at 13:37

    BTW one “dessert” I make is literally whipping (liquid) whipping cream (not the shit in the aerosol can) with unsweetened cocoa. After having been on Paleo a while, this is simply sweet enough from the trace milk sugars in the whipping cream.

    My wife likes to add berries to it, but not necessary.

  17. Alcinda Moore on October 20, 2009 at 13:39

    I am also a major sugar freak….and for me sticking with very low carb (under 40-50g/day) works best for me. As long as I stick with my plan I have no cravings or desires.

    Getting on track can be hard, but once there I’m fine. I do eat mostly primal, but primal low carb….I just can’t handle the higher sugar fruits and vegetables. Too much at any one meal (15g/meal seems to be my limit) and I start craving anything and everything with sugar!

    Last time I fell off the wagon it took almost a year to get back on…..simply had no motivation! Finally, in anticipation of my daughter’s wedding, I was able to get on track and stay there. So find something that is important to you….an upcoming wedding, an appointment with a doc you know is going to give you grief, whatever is important and use that to help motivate you. Start off with carbs very low (under 30g/day) and within a few days or a week you should find the cravings are gone. Get rid of everything in the house before you start too…..anything high is starch or sugar! All starches are simply complex sugars and they all break down to sugar in the blood…..and they can cause blood sugar swings just as much as pure sugar can!!

  18. John Campbell on October 20, 2009 at 15:38

    These are all good suggestions here. I agree with the cold turkey approach. Indulge in very dark chocolate in small amounts occasionally and your friend dietary fat – the good stuff. Personally I found a few chocolate covered almonds chewed for a nice long time made cravings bearable and soon I was able to stop them. Find what works for you. If gradual tapering off works better – go for it.

    To me the most important thing is BABY STEPS. These changes take time and everyone’s path is different. Some people have an easier time than others but we are talking about altering your lifestyle to fit what your body is designed for. Your body and mind have accepted mechanical and unhealthy ways to live – we have all been in the same place. Your mind and body will scream bloody murder – they want the old ways back. This too shall pass.

    Stay strong – perseverance wins in the end. Try anything you read here and other good paleo style sites. Have fun. Make it a game. Don’t beat yourself up over not being perfect. Try something – if it doesn’t seem to help – try something else. Don’t get bogged down in too many details. It gets easier and becomes very natural. Let us know how you are doing. We are all sympathetic to your situation and we know you can do it. We humans are capable of amazing things if we allow ourselves to be who we can be.

  19. cosa on October 20, 2009 at 17:17

    i really enjoy this site and value the work put in by both the author and the intelligent comments posted afterwards.

    people who say they had a sweet tooth that disappeared after a few months on low carb dont really have a sweet tooth. a real sweet tooth, a virtual addiction to surgar does not break so easily.

    been on an ultra-low carb diet for over 2 years now, aprox 10-20 grams per day,
    and this is simply because i have been unable to control my sugar cravings. all i can do is compromise and essentially eat as low carb as possible most of the week then enjoy the odd chocolate bar and/or dessert 1-2 times per week.

    it is a daily struggle to keep away from carbs and sweets. quitting smoking was easier.

    but i do it, and my health is better for it. i think for anyone with a real sweet tooth looking for solace, they will be consistently disappointed in stories of it going away with this trick or that. try as much as possible and dont be obsessive about it. if you really need a chocolate bar, go for a Lindt or those other european type bars w/ good fat and real sugar not corn syrup, these have only 15-20 grams of carbs. its half a 40g per day low-carber eats anyway and its not the end of the world. i leave wiggle room for carbs by eating as low as possible everywhere else.

    ill skip my beloved pasta, bread and side of rice, opt for the salad, cold cuts and steak knowing ill have room left in my carb limits to enjoy a small dessert and not get worked up about it. 40 grams per day is pretty much 1 slice of pice, so if youre fairly strict else where its doable on a monster sweet tooth.

    accept that a sweet tooth is like everything else, its a weakness if left uncontrolled. its not a mental disorder or a problem as some might suggest any more than enjoying wine or music is a problem if you can just shut it out of your life. we follow a healthy diet to live longer, if we are forever miserable and self-depreciating because we cant seem to exercise total control over every urge we posses, then we will never be happy even if we do live longer because we dont die early of heart-disease.

    to me carbs are dessert. treat them accordingly and you can manage just fine.

  20. Patrik on October 20, 2009 at 17:34

    One thing I should mention — the reader shouldn’t get disheartened. Bottom line: you are in control of your destiny.

    The good part of weight 360 is that once you start eating Paleo (and not cheating) and exercising, even a bit, the weight will fly off.

  21. Paul Riemann on October 20, 2009 at 18:19

    I don’t know that it is even possible to completely avoid cravings while weaning yourself from sugar. You will probably have to live with the reality of some level of withdrawal for a period of time. The usual supplements recommended to help with cravings are glutamine and chromium.

    I disagree with some here who insist you should avoid all sugar substitutes as well. The use of some of those may help blunt cravings as you remove all the processed, sugary foods from your diet. It may be best to eventually get off the substitutes as well, but in the meantime they may be the difference between success and failure. While many sugar substitutes have significant health concerns, there are some available that are probably–at least in the short term–acceptable to consume in as much as they help you to get off of sugar for good.

    My father-in-law quit smoking cold turkey and always criticizes anyone who uses any other means to do so–especially anyone who would use a “substitute” such as a patch. But I say, if it reduces the cravings, and ultimately helps you to succeed in reaching your goal, then why not use it? Without such things some people would not be successful in their endeavor to quit.

    The best advice I could give concerning sugar substitutes would be to consume the “lesser of two evils” so to speak–meaning, avoid aspartame in particular as it has the worst track record, and use the others in the smallest amounts needed to keep you from going nuts.

  22. ron on October 20, 2009 at 21:26

    All excellent advice.

    Cold turkey worked for me for sugar, but bread was slower. Saltine crackers were the last. (How else do you eat sardines?)
    Dropping splenda beverages helped with the sugar cravings and go deeper primal

    Spend some spare time reading about the evils of sugar. It will help your mental prep. Some doctor said ‘There’s no such thing as willpower–Some people are ready to make a change and some aren’t.’ Knowing the evils of sugar and picturing whole body infammation has helped me on occasion.

    Look at fat people. Look at fit people.

    OFF TOPIC: I don’t post often, so I apologize for this off topic rant about pet food. I wil keep it brief.
    A month ago I laid to rest my beloved white cat, Peege. She was 18 yrs. and died of kidney failure and other ailments brought on by a lifetime of me feeding her fish flavored cereal. Cheap pet food is all grains. These little guys are obligate carnivores with no more adaptation than us to grains. We are the hands that feed them. Please research and consider switching your little charges to one of the dozen or so niche pet foods that offer grain-free and by-product free pet food. They will live longer and be healthier The cheap diet couldn’t be more false economy. When the bag or the can says “100% nutritionally complete” it couldn’t be a greater lie.Take no solace in the pitch, you are responsible for them. Thank you.

  23. Curing the Sugar Addiction | Free The Animal | Finally! Be free from smoking on October 20, 2009 at 23:28

    […] Jeff Trikoleti wrote an intriguing post today onHere’s a little tasterMy father-in-law quit smoking cold turkey and always criticizes anyone who uses any other means to do so–especially anyone who would use a “substitute” such as a patch. But I say, if it reduces the cravings, and ultimately helps you to … […]

  24. George on October 21, 2009 at 00:43

    In the book “Primal Body Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas, she writes a whole capital about:
    “Things that may help conquer sugar gravings, minimize or help reverse glycation and restore insulin sensitivity”. Apart from eliminating sugars and starches from the diet, she mentions a lot of supplements, like: adequate essential fatty acids EPA, DHA and GLA, B-Complex (especially B1: benfotiamine), L-canosine, L-carnitine, chromium, Trans-resveratol, CoQ10, etc etc etc. It´s all from page 177 till 180. On page 180 she mentions also that cravings, also for coffee!, are strong indications of serotonin depletion…and on page 186 she warns against artificial sweeteners, because those substitutes are a real danger for your health and don´t solve your cravings…..
    And I would say: Read the book..there´s so much more very usefull information about Paleo!

    Also Arthur De Vany has written several times on: “Artificial Sweeteners Cause Energy Disregulation”
    A quote: “The end result of consuming artificial sweeteners would be a dulling of the signal to noise ratio of a sweet taste. The body would be left between mounting an appropriate response or an inappropriate one. It would over-respond to a sweet taste when no calories followed and under-respond when calories do follow. The theory has more implications than the authors tested, the sign of a rich theory. It may be that the weight gain occurs through the dulling of the response when a caloric load follows the sweet taste.
    I think it is fair to say that human metabolism is confused in this modern world and artificial sweeteners add to the confusion”.

  25. Felix on October 21, 2009 at 01:00

    For me, carb cravings completely stopped after three weeks of paleo/zone. Since I still dig sweet desserts, I’ve started using stevia every now and then. But even then I don’t really use it to sweeten, but only to enhance or refine the taste of other ingredients (e.g. cocoa). Since stevia is safe, I don’t see a problem with that.
    Also, eating a few eggs or fish or anything that contains Tryptophan also works for me. Tryptophan converts into serotonin in the brain. I need that these days, winter is coming and sun is leaving…

  26. Tin Tin on October 21, 2009 at 01:41

    Hello Richard,

    I recall a while ago on your blog, it was mentioned that artificial sweeteners may trigger an insulin response even though they have no sugar. This got me thinking, if sweetness alone without calories can invoke an insulin response, what would something sour do? I recalled a body builer friend who drank vinegar every morning when he woke up. He was pretty lean, so I guessed he may be on to something. Sure enough, I googled ‘vinegar’ and ‘insulin’ and it seems someone (Dr Carol Johnston) has found that vinegar does indeed reduce the insulin respsone. The acetic acid in the vinegar acts as a carb and sugar ‘blocker’. The nutrition reporter has a good write up of the results – . I’d be interested to know if you or Art Devany, or Mark Sisson has tried anything like this.

    Anyhow, happy travels, hope things are going ok with the legal thing – the legal system can be such a drag! I’d rather work things out Groks way!

    Ciao

    Tin Tin

    • Richard Nikoley on October 21, 2009 at 16:38

      Haven’t seen anything on this, though I do sometimes put a tsp or two of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water or sparkling water. I really like it.



  27. Tin Tin on October 21, 2009 at 01:49

    Btw, on sugar addiction – mine is purely stress related. If I get stressed, I crave sugar. While I can’t get rid of the cravings I find that knowing the craving is caused by stress allows me to seek stress relief elsewhere. I’ll go to the gym, have a sauna or just do something dumb like lie down in the sun to relax. Once the stress is gone, so is the craving.

  28. Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on October 21, 2009 at 03:17

    Two things: first, I think alcohol is the biggest enemy of curbing sugar cravings. I think it somehow acts as a proxy, and inflames the craving. A couple of glasses of wine seem fine, but after that it all goes wrong for me. Might just be the self control aspect, but I feel there is more to it.

    Second, the longer you can go without sweetness, the stronger your resolve becomes. Could be physiological, could by psychological, could be both. But I find if I can just hang in there for a few weeks, suddenly I can turn my nose up at anything sweet, no problem. But if I indulge my sweet tooth regularly, my resolve is never built up and the chances of a binge are high.

  29. warren on October 21, 2009 at 05:42

    I remember reading that you can short cuircit a sugar craving by eating something sour. Snack on pickles.

  30. Jessica on October 21, 2009 at 07:14

    Regarding stevia…

    Every morning I enjoy one large cup of coffee, slightly sweetened. I used to use stevia, but I avoid it now, because I read somewhere that although, yes, it has been used safely by humans for a long time, it’s primary use was medicinal, and for birth control.

    After learning that, I switched to local raw honey, which seems the most primal and nutritive option.

  31. Stephanie on October 21, 2009 at 07:27

    In response to Ron going off topic on pet food – I’m so sorry about your little one. I dedicated a fairly large and c0mprehensive blog post on pet food and pet care for primal folks here:

    http://youarewhatieat.blogspot.com/2009/06/primal-pets.html

    I would also urge primal folks out there to consider feeding their animals what they were designed to eat – real meat.

  32. Julie on October 21, 2009 at 09:15

    It’s interesting that we view sugar as an “addiction”. If one enjoys huge amounts of veggies, do we view it as an “addiction”? I agree that we need to use sugar very minimally in our lives for better health, but I’m not stressing over it anymore in my life. If I want something sweet, I go for the most natural thing I can get, and be done with it. If you are overfeeding yourself with sugar (huge sugar-fests after one taste of sweet), after having it under control most of the time, it might be good to look into the emotional reasons for it.

  33. Marnee on October 21, 2009 at 09:26

    Well if he is following Primal Blueprint he is eating lots of fruit and carbs so that will help to still drive the cravings. Since fruits and vegetables are completely unnecessary I suggest cutting them down even more or to zero. Keep the sugar out of the system, and especially off the tongue, and those cravings will practically disappear.

  34. Dave, RN on October 21, 2009 at 09:33

    Gemnema Sylvestra helps with sugar cravings. It’s an herb that’s available in capsule form. Take it three times a day. He needs to stop artificial sweeteners too. Use Stevia instead.
    It takes time to break an addiction. It won’t go away overnight.
    I make my own chocolate too. Take some 100% cacoa, 4oz, then add a half of a can (13 oz can) of coconut milk, and then 2 table spoons of coconut oil. Then 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and one scoop of chocolate protien powder (the kind that’s sweetened with stevia). Melt it all togther and put in fridge.

  35. Keith Thomas on October 22, 2009 at 04:53

    Patrick is right: “cold turkey”. And read the above posts to see what “cold turkey” really means. George’s quotation from Art De Vany is also apposite. I would not recommend any “pill”. Many reasons incl pills are not palaeo. Can you book yourself into a reliable health farm for a week, possibly with a like-minded friend? Is there health farm that does an informed palaeo service?

  36. Matt R. on October 22, 2009 at 08:49

    It’s been a bad week for me…but today is a new day and I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

    The toughest challenge for me is dealing with the workplace. Temptations are all around me, and if it’s been a long day and I haven’t brought in my own food, everything goes awry after 3 p.m. when the vending machines beckon me over.

    The solution: I bring in my own snacks and refuse cake when it’s brought in to celebrate someone’s birthday or whatever else.

  37. Andy on October 24, 2009 at 12:38

    For me, staving off ice cream has been the hardest thing over the past year of eating mostly Primal/Paleo. At this point (down 40 pounds), if the craving comes up, I just go ahead and eat the ice cream … it’s like once a month if I’m in a stricter mode, once a week if I’m being looser. I find that the sugar load doesn’t mess with me nearly as much as any grain-based slipups (instant stuffy nose, bad digestion, etc.).

    On a related note, I had one of the liquid fat bombs for lunch today. I have one thing to say: FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. There’s even a mild accompanying buzz! (I’m using it as a kickoff to a quite strict 2-week period after about 7 days of falling completely off-plan.) Long live the fat bomb!

  38. Alcinda Moore on October 24, 2009 at 17:52

    @Andy…..next time you want ice cream, try this instead:

  39. Charles on October 24, 2009 at 21:39

    As one can tell from these posts, there are sugar cravings, and there is sugar addiction. I would agree that for those that sugar is strongly addictive, it’s probably a hormonal issue, and just stopping it for a while or substituting something else is not going to work.

    For those folks in that unfortunate position, I would definitely try tryptophan (not 5-HHTP, real l-tryptophan). Take 5oo mg. an hour or so before bedtime for a few nights, and see if that makes a difference. I’m certain that for some, it will.

  40. wsb on October 25, 2009 at 08:23

    The serotonin supplement is a good idea but it is also a bandaid.

    Consider testing for gluten intolerance first. It can cause serotonin disruptions. It does not have to present with gastro symptoms. I

    f you are gluten intolerant, you may be able to tolerate certain carbs and even control your sugar intake if the rest of your diet and any supplements, stays gluten-free.

  41. Joan on October 27, 2009 at 03:56

    There’s a book on this exact thing. It’s called “The Diet Cure” by Julia Ross. The author argues that all unhealthy cravings, including the craving for starvation-released endorphins that is at the root of anorexia nervosa, derive from nutrient deficiency. She has a program of low-carb eating, vitamin and mineral supplements, and amino acids. There’s a chart in the book that can tell you which amino acids you need by what you crave, and it includes not only sugar and fats but also controlled substances. It was recommended to me by a woman who has worked for 20 years as a psychologist in an addiction treatment program and has seen this procedure work many times on very destructive addictions.

  42. kmarcum on October 29, 2009 at 13:33

    I’ve found the best luck with Seth Robert’s Shangri-La diet–basically, taking 1-2 T of oil on an empty stomach. (I use coconut oil and plug my nose–a big part of the “diet” is that you’re not supposed to taste the oil dose.) Doing this reliably kills my appetite and sugar cravings–I eat small, modest, healthy meals.

    Some people use the Shangi-La diet on an ongoing basis. I don’t–I find it helps as a lever to get me back on track when my eating drifts. You can learn more at sethroberts.net….and they have a very active forum with some very nice people, so you can pick up all kinds of tips.

  43. Catherine on February 5, 2010 at 13:06

    I know that this is a late addition to the post, but Jon Gabriel would argue that sugar cravings of this kind are due to unhealthy gut bacteria which prompt you to eat the sugar for their own ends. He recommends using Xylitol as a sweetener. It’s a naturally occurring sweet substance with a GI of 7 – our own bodies make it, it occurs in berries and vegetables as well as in grasses, Finnish birch wood (it originated in Finland) and corn husks, I believe. Now, I bought some, used it and felt a bit odd, so then I researched it, and it’s possible to get quite a reaction when you first use it as it takes time for the body to acclimatise. Its chemical structure is so similar to sugar that it has the effect of attracting bacteria such as Candida Albicans – which normally feed on sugar – but then instead of nourishing them, it kills them off. Reactions such as bloating and light-headedness can occur as the bacteria die off because they release toxins as they expire. Some people get worse reactions than this and swear off the Xylitol – I have just decided to use a little in my morning coffee and see how I go, having found that 6 teaspoons on the first day was decidedly uncomfortable. Xylitol is extolled by the dental profession for actually helping protect teeth from decay due to the same anti-bacterial action it seems to display in the stomach. It seems to be pretty readily available but I did read somewhere it doesn’t yet have GRAS status (Generally Recognised As Safe) in the USA. Then again, HFCS is GRAS and we all know that’s about as good as poison. So I think it’s a matter for the individual – but the theory is it may help destroy the bacteria that cause sugar cravings.

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