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Sugar fuels every cell in the brain. Your brain processes sugar as a reward, which makes you keep wanting more of it. If you eat a lot of sugar, you’re reinforcing that reward, which can make it tough to break the habit. According to a 2012 study Americans consume 756 grams of sugar every five days, or 130 POUNDS of sugar a year.  Sugar gives you an initial high, then you crash, then you crave more, so you consume more sugar. It’s this series of highs and lows that provoke unnecessary stress on your adrenals. You get anxious, moody (sugar is a mood-altering drug) and eventually you feel exhausted.

Tired of the roller coaster ride?

Here are 9 ways to help curb your sugar cravings:

1. Only people who smoke crave nicotine and people that eat sugar crave sugar. Companies love to sneak sugar into their products so it’s important that you read food labels. The longer the list of ingredients, the more likely sugar is going to be included on that list. So check the grams of sugar, and choose products with the least sugar per serving.

2. It’s common to mistake thirst as a food craving, so it’s crucial to drink enough water everyday. The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon.

3. Staying consistent by eating three meals and two snacks, or five small meals a day, will help curb those sugar cravings. If you don’t eat regularly, your blood sugar levels will drop, and will cause you to crave a sweet sugary snack. I suggest eating every 4 hours to maintain stable blood glucose levels.

4. Processed foods tend to be loaded with salt and sugar. Avoid refined foods such as cereals, bagels, croissants, or pastries. These foods contain sugar and/or break down quickly into sugar, causing an initial blood glucose spike followed by a crash.

When your blood glucose drops too low and you crave sugar, what you actually need is protein.

5. Take 1000 mg of the amino acid glutamine every 4-6 hours. This will trick your body into thinking its getting glucose, which helps curb your craving for sugar.

6. Make sure you get enough sleep! When we are tired we often use sugar for energy to counteract the exhaustion.

7. Many people turn to sweet foods when they’re stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn’t solve emotional issues. Consider whether emotions are involved in your sugar cravings or if you need help to find other solutions to those emotional problems.

8. People believe that “Fat” makes you fat, but don’t underestimate the power of healthy fats. Like protein, healthy fats help keep blood sugar stable in the body. Healthy fats are found in nuts, avocados, extra virgin olive oil and natural fats that are found in animal products.

9. Spice it up. Spices like coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamom will naturally sweeten foods without the need for added sweeteners. It does wonders for reducing cravings.