While everyone suffers from sugar cravings there are ways to stop them from taking over and controlling them. Dietitian and nutritionist, Mark Robinson explains.

How to reduce cravings with Mark Robinson



Everyone suffers from sugar cravings – myself 100 per cent included, just about every day! I think it’s important to first acknowledge that cravings are both common and, for the most part, normal. It’s how we manage them that’s important.

I believe cravings stem from simply not getting enough protein and vegetables into your day. Your body has a set amount of protein it requires per 24 hours and, until we hit that number, you constantly crave; and, invariably, the first thing you crave is something sweet.

Vegetable consumption is the other key tactic due to their low calorie content and high activation of digestive enzymes that increase metabolism. The trick is to fill yourself up with vegetables in the form of vegetable sticks, salads, stirfries and smoothies to satisfy your cravings and still maintain calorie control.

Another cause for sugar cravings is to do with the timing of your energy intake throughout the day. Achieving an optimal frequency of meals and snacks means eating every three to four hours rather than fasting for numerous hours, which can lead to you becoming overly hungry before craving easy, convenient and largely unhealthy options!

In addition, you usually see weight gain from incorrect meal and snack timing because your metabolism slows down and you start to store food as fat as a safety mechanism – to have a ‘reserve’ knowing a ‘famine’ is ahead.


My top tips for reducing cravings are:

1. Consider the timing of your meals: Start the day with a breakfast that is definitely NOT sugary and then aim to eat every three to four hours, including some protein and vegetables with each meal and snack.

2. Intake type: Proteins should be the prioritised macronutrient to prevent and treat sugar cravings; thereafter, choose natural, high-fibre carbohydrates that provide long-lasting energy and stable moods. For example, low-GI rather than fast-releasing high-GI sugary carbs.

3. Vegetables: Aim to freely include a variety of predominantly green vegetables throughout the day to counter sugar cravings and maintain low blood sugar levels.

4. Social engagement: Yes, it’s extremely hard to stay strict when you are constantly surrounded by temptations – and, at this time of year, there are many! My tip here is to eat before going out so you go in satisfied – and then just join in the social scene by snacking on something small. At least if you are full you are less likely to actually crave and overindulge.

NEXT: Are you a coffee lover? Discover how caffeine affects your cravings.