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How to Deal With Sugar, Coffee, Chocolate, Alcohol Cravings

Beat Your Food Cravings With These Tips

We've all see-sawed between depriving ourselves and binging on the food we crave, usually because we crave things that we know we should avoid. According to Annemarie Colbin, PhD, founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute and prominent author and lecturer on natural health and holistic medicine, we should listen to some cravings. They are the body's signal to search for nutrients it needs to operate properly. However, we often also crave addictive foods and substances that are nonessential (and often harmful) to our bodies.

People who experience a food addiction indulge in stimulants such as sugar, white flour, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. Giving them up can lead to withdrawal symptoms like unpleasant headaches, intense cravings, depression, and anxiety. One bite can instantaneously alleviate these symptoms while propelling the body to pig out. Remember, easily ridding yourself of the symptoms won't reverse the addiction. Colbin says the first four days of a cleanse are the hardest, but the cravings will diminish with patience and time.

Let's take a look at the biggest culprit. We all know that white sugar is detrimental to our heath, but here's why sugar should be hard to swallow. In her book Food and Healing ($16), Colbin explains, "To metabolize refined sugar, the body draws out the missing companion nutrients (needed as catalysts in the digestive process) from other sources." The "other sources" can be additional foods eaten during the meal, or else your body strips the micronutrients from its own tissues. Colbin warns that to digest sugar, "We lose B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, [and] iron . . . from our own reserves." This is obviously a body's last resort, and the body will try to flash a hunger signal first to search for foods with essential nutrients. Instead of bulking up on unnecessary calories to find the right food to satisfy your munchies, Colbin has mapped out an easy-to-use chart.


Refer to Colbin's chart of "Common Cravings and How to Deal With Them" to figure out types of food your body really wants when you are craving food you shouldn't eat.

To Diminish Cravings For Have More Eat Less Substitute
Sugar (cakes, cookies, pastries, candy, ice cream) Whole grains, baked yams, squash, apples, dates, cooked fruit Meat, salt, dairy products Frozen bananas (for ice cream), desserts sweetened with barley malt, rice syrup, maple syrup
Alcohol Complex carbohydrates, vegetables, corn, leafy bitter greens Fats, salt, miso, soy sauce, animal protein Nonalcoholic beer, fruit
Coffee Vegetables, salad Meat, sugar, flour, grain, salt Grain coffee
Salt Seaweed, black beans, vegetables Sweets, fats, alcohol, meat, grain Natural soy sauce, miso (small amounts), herbs, and spices
Milk Products Leafy greens, whole grains, beans, fish Sugar, baked goods, fruit, meat Tofu (small amounts), nut milk
Fats and Sweets Protein: beans, fish, chicken, eggs Grain, fruit, salad Try to eliminate from diet
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
Lizagna Lizagna 4 years
Is "MrChristopherSea" the only one reading this with any level of critical thinking? The table is rubbish. I don't care what letters "Dr" Colbin has after her name, she is not exactly on top of her nutritional research game. POPSugar usually provides excellent information, but this one gets the hook.
mrchristophersea mrchristophersea 5 years
The table above makes absolutely no sense. It basically says to eat less sugar eat more sugar. Or to eat less sugar eat less meat. And it says to eliminate 'fats'. Any article that refers to 'fats' as a single thing clearly has no idea what it's talking about. Fats are a broad range of chemicals with various carbon arrangements. Each having vary different properties. Coconut oil for instance is vastly different (and healthier) than refined soybean oil (which is toxic).
Anna-Monette-Roberts Anna-Monette-Roberts 6 years
I definitely recommend this book-Food and Healing. It discusses the macrobiotic diet, traditional Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda. Good luck!
tylerkendall124 tylerkendall124 6 years
This is such a helpful article - thank you! Can you recommend any books to read about holistic healing and eating healthy? I just read Focus on Healing by Jennifer Barraclough that introduced me to the concepts of holistic medicine and I'd like to read more especially as it relates to food and eating.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
This is a great list! Thank you!
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