SWEET SWAPS: How to Satisfy Sugar Cravings Without Eating Tons of Sugar

Photo by Fredrik Ivansson on Unsplash

This is the first in a series of posts related to sugar & sugar consumption. As someone who spent 30-years binge-eating and struggling with the white powder, I know that of which I speak. I also have a diploma in Holistic Nutrition*

If you're here reading this post, it's likely you've had at least one or more tussles with the WHITE DEVIL - aka sugar.

As a former binge-eater, let me tell you I've spent my life - literally 30-years - struggling with food and specifically sugar, so I understand your plight.

If you're slightly concerned that I'm about to tell you to do a full cupboard-clean and get rid of anything that contains the nefarious white substance, you needn't worry. Although I have a diploma in Holistic Nutrition*, I believe in a more balanced approach.

Sure, all-or-nothing works for some people. Some people do find it easier to simply not have ANY sweets, rather than try to moderate the amount they eat.

But in my experience, anything you forbid ends up with a halo around it; the siren-song of sweetness doesn't stop, and eventually you crash into the rocks - aka binge.

So how can you moderate your sugar intake when the cravings hit?

I'm glad you asked.


Photo by Customerbox on Unsplash

If you're craving something sweet, hard candy allows you have the taste of sweetness in your mouth for a prolonged period of time, without eating vast quantities of sugar.

It takes about 3-4 minutes to melt down one piece of hard candy, provided you're not crunching down on it. The average hard candy only has 20-30 calories and 3-4 grams of sugar.

If you were to eat 3 pieces of Werther's Original, for example, it might take you 10-minutes, give or take.

That's only 70 calories and 10 grams of sugar to satisfy your sweet craving; by the third candy, the siren-song should have quieted.

Compare that to spending 10-minutes eating a regular dessert, let's say 3/4 cup of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. (I don't know who's only eating 3/4 cup of Ben & Jerry's when they peel the lid off the pint, but let's go with the "serving size.")

The Tonight-Show Cookie Dough (my personal favourite) has a whopping 480 calories, and 43 grams of sugar. Yowza!

Fill a jar with your favourite hard-candies and grab a few when the craving hits.


Photo by Elena Leya on Unsplash

Dark chocolate (~70% cocoa) is too bitter, and Milk chocolate (~30%) is too sweet, but Semi-Sweet (~45-55%) is the Goldilocks of chocolate because it's just right.

Semi-sweet chocolate satisfies sweet cravings because it's so flavourful; but the intensity of flavour also means it's too rich to binge on.

My personal favourites are any of the Excellence bars by Lindt. Although they're labeled "dark," they're all ~45-55% cocoa. (I favour the Sea Salt and the Intense Mint.)

I take 2-3 squares and break them up into smaller pieces to savour, one at a time, the way I do the hard candy.

Just like with hard candy, this allows for prolonged enjoyment of sweetness without going overboard on sugar or calorie consumption.


Photo by Eleanor Chen on Unsplash

There's something about the taste of mint that signals the end of a meal; maybe that's because mint helps with digestion.

According to Mount Sinai "Peppermint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly."

Mint also helps to change the taste in your mouth; at times you might not be experiencing a sweet craving so much as a desire to switch flavours.

I find this often happens when I've eaten very rich savoury foods; it's as though my taste buds are overwhelmed by the intensity of the onions, garlic, salt, etc. I think we've all experienced this flavour-overload at one time or another.

What helps in those moments are Tic-TacsLifesavers Mints (Wint-O-Green for the win!), Mint Tea with just a touch of maple syrup or honey (Moroccan-style)Lindt Intense Mint Chocolate, or just brushing your teeth.


Eat something sweet, but not your "once-you-pop-you-can't-stop" food.

You know what your "I cannot control myself" food is, so instead of having that, have something else that will satisfy your sweet craving without causing you to get out of control.

For me, that's two things:

1 - Oatmeal

If I want something warm and sweet, a bowl of oatmeal is very satisfying. I mix regular and steel-cut oats (for extra chewiness) with cinnamon and a teaspoon of maple syrup.

I also add a few raisins, fresh berries, or unsweetened apple sauce and voila! A hearty bowl of healthy sweetness.

2 - Raisin Bran

If I want something cold and crunchy, I'll mix Raisin Bran with oat milk and throw in an ice cube. I  sometimes add fresh berries, sliced banana, or silvered almonds.

Find your satisfying sweet swaps and have them handy; you might still eat dessert sometimes and that's ok.

But there will be other times when your sweet swap will be just enough to nip your sugar craving in the bud.


Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

Yes, all of the above suggestions contain sugar.

But all things are relative; there's far less sugar in all of the options mentioned compared to any regular dessert.

Like I saidall-or-nothing works for some people; but if you're here reading this post, it probably hasn't worked for you any more than it did for me. (Trying to all-or-nothing my approach to sugar consumption just lead to 30-years of bingeing.)

In my experience, anything you forbid ends up with a halo around it; remove the halo around sugar by allowing yourself to eat it moderation.

Photo by Ralph Mayhew on Unsplash

*Although I have a diploma in Holistic Nutrition with a specialization in Sports Fitness Nutrition, I'm not a doctor. Always seek the advice of your physician before undertaking a new health care regimen. I only offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for better health. In the event you use any of this information for yourself, I do not assume responsibility for your actions.

For more on how to give yourself complete and total permission to eat anything you want, click here to get my guide on how to quit Binge Eating — yours FREE with subscription to my site.

Hey Friend! Thanks for reading. If you loved 💙 this post, why not subscribe? I promise to keep showing up for you with high-quality, thought provoking content. Because every day is a good day to feel your best.


Popular Posts