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How to Stop Craving Sugar and Salt

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Sky Abundo · Updated Dec 31, 2022

How to Stop Craving Sugar and Salt

You are a few days into your new diet, following your meal plan and counting calories. Then, food cravings strike, causing you anxiety and wanting to abandon the diet immediately. You want sweets; you want fast food. Frustrated and defeated, you ask yourself, “How can I stop wanting what is bad for my health?” Food cravings are an especially difficult hurdle for most people on a diet. Here is why you are craving certain foods and some ways on how to stop craving sugar and fast food. 

Why Do We Have Cravings? 

There are several physiological reasons why we crave specific kinds of food. Health and lifestyle factors can influence how long and how much we find ourselves salivating for certain treats. However, it is not as simple as thinking about how to stop craving sugar. 

Dehydration, for instance, has been linked to our cravings for salty food. Your food cravings can be your body’s way of communicating to you what it needs or what is lacking in your system.  

Stress and psychology can also play a factor. Eating (and sometimes overeating) can be a coping mechanism. People overeat as an emotional response. This habit may have developed through experiences in their life.

Whatever the reason may be for you, it is helpful to learn how to stop craving sugar and other food if you are on a diet.

What Causes Food Cravings?

Here are some important factors to consider on how to stop craving sugar and other food if you are on the journey to better health. 

You may be starving yourself

Be careful that your diet is not causing you to eat too little. A healthy diet enables one to eat right, not necessarily less.

Skipping breakfast or having a late lunch can easily backfire. Completely starving yourself in an attempt to lose weight can lead to intense cravings for salty and fatty foods. This method may lead you to go on an eating binge and prevent you from progressing. 

Sugar and salt addiction

When we crave food, it is usually something sweet or salty. How to stop craving sugar? Sugar and salt can be very addicting. Our brains are conditioned to enjoy things that bring us happiness or satisfaction.

Sugar produces chemicals that make us feel great. It leaves us wanting more of the experience. Our tolerance or threshold for sugar and salt builds up over time. For us to experience the same amount of pleasure, we need to consume more, which can lead to overeating. Eventually, it becomes a vicious cycle of craving and overeating.

This link between food and happiness or pleasure is also applied to certain food themes like Japanese food, Italian cuisine, and the like.

Your body is telling you something

Food cravings are your body’s way of telling you that it lacks certain nutrients. Your need for something salty or sweet can also be due to fatigue. When you are tired, the body will look for sources of energy and cause you to crave. You may also be dehydrated or stressed.

It is important to pay attention to your body and what it is telling you to distinguish better what is causing your food craving. Giving in to your cravings may lead you to overeat, which can lead to obesity. 

Here are the effects of eating too much sugar, salt, and other types of junk food.

How to stop craving sugar

How to Stop Craving Sugar?

Here are some tips on how to better manage food cravings:

Distinguish hunger from craving

Sometimes your body is just telling you that it needs nourishment, that you need to eat. Ignoring these signs can lead you to binge-eat or, worse, binge-eat on unhealthy foods you crave.

Moderation is key

Removing your favorite food from your diet may make you overeat once you eat them again. Instead of avoiding it altogether, you can indulge in your favorite treat on special occasions. Do not overdo it, though. Moderation is key. 

Eat small portions

If you skip meals, this may make you feel hungrier later in the day due to blood sugar drops. To sustain your energy, you can opt to eat smaller portions of low-calorie food throughout the day.

Healthy food first

It is easier to manage cravings when you are full. Always eat healthy foods first when you have your meals. Doctors recommend this as an effective means of how to stop craving sugar and other unhealthy food. When you finish off the healthy first, you are less likely to indulge in other junk food. 

Change your environment

How to stop craving sugar? It is easier to manage your cravings if less healthy foods are not easily accessible. Do not store these unhealthy treats in your house. Remove the temptations from your pantry.  

Redirect your cravings

If you find yourself craving food, do something else that you enjoy. Take a walk, bike, watch a movie, dance. Preoccupy your mind with activities that make you feel good. Wait it out. Food cravings, unlike hunger, usually pass after 20 minutes. You can distract yourself by chewing gum or doing something else. Chewing sugarless gum – especially the minty kind – can help reduce your cravings for salty and sweet food.


Sometimes, your cravings just mean that you are dehydrated. If you feel that you need to snack on junk food, drink 1 to 2 glasses of water. Drinking water will help your stomach feel full and keep you hydrated. If you still feel hungry after, you can eat a healthy snack or meal.

Sleep and exercise

Proper sleep and exercise can help reduce hormones responsible for appetite. Lack of sleep also leads to food cravings and overeating. Getting enough rest and exercise can also help activate your happy hormones, making emotional eating less likely.

Find healthy options

If you are craving something sweet, you can, for instance, choose to eat berries instead of a donut. You can quickly satisfy your cravings without feeling bad about what you put in your body. Choose a healthier alternative

Key Takeaways

It is essential to listen to your body and anticipate what it will need. While you can indulge in your favorite food once in a while, you should know that your body needs proper nourishment to function well. Sustain your energy with the right, clean “fuel.” Try out the different ways on how to to stop craving sugar and other fatty foods. 

You can find more information on Healthy Eating here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Sky Abundo · Updated Dec 31, 2022

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