At one point or another, we have all dealt with a sugar addiction. I recently gave up all sugar for 30 days and felt actual withdrawal symptoms. I was exhausted and couldn’t shake a nagging headache. I was also snapping at my family for no reason at all.

Giving up sugar cold turkey is one option for breaking the addiction, but fortunately for our relationships with friends and family, it is not the only option. I had the chance to speak with leading physicians, health coaches, and wellness providers on manageable steps to breaking your sugar addiction.

Make sure you’re eating enough fat

Do you remember the fat-free trend in the ’90s? Suddenly we were bombarded with fat-free cookies and crackers, and they seemed healthy. We avoided fats, because we assumed eating fat made us fat. However, food companies simply replaced the fat in their products with sugar.

Our bodies need fat to feel full and satisfied, so it is crucial to consume enough when giving up sugar. “When you’re cutting back on sugar, pay attention to your fat intake,” Registered Dietitian with Virta Health Catherine Metzgar told me. “Not only does fat keep you full longer and provide greater satiety than sugar and carbohydrates, fat can also help manage your hunger and cravings. Try a square of 86 percent dark chocolate with a bit of peanut butter or even some berries with some heavy cream.”

Eat sweet vegetables

Another way to support your body when giving up sugar is to look for better sources of sweetness. Rather than focusing on the sugar that you’re missing, look for natural sources to add into your diet.

“By adding in naturally-sweet vegetables and spices, more sleep, water, and regular fat foods, a person can crowd out their addiction to sugar,” Michele J. Szymborski, a holistic health coach, told me. “Eat sweet vegetables earlier in the day to diminish evening sugar cravings.”

Some examples of naturally sweet vegetable are sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, and carrots.

Manage your stress

Have you ever walked into your kitchen after a stressful day at work and gone directly to the pantry? You weren’t even thinking about what you were doing, you just naturally started raiding the shelves for sugar. Moments later there were candy wrappers everywhere, and you felt a little better. That’s because most of us crave sugar when we’re stressed.

According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, eating sugar when you are stressed actually quiets those stress signals to the brain. That is why you literally feel better and more calm after inhaling that brownie.

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