Sugar High

Dan DeFigioBehavior and Mindfulness

sugar high
If you get a real sugar high when you overload on the sweet stuff, here is a technique you can use to cut back:
Find one (healthier) alternative, and use it every other time.
Here’s what I mean:

The Sugar High

Sugar gives you two things you probably love:
  1. An enjoyable sweet taste, and
  2. A happy, satisfied feeling (from the dopamine hit you get from substances like sugar and alcohol)
So depending on which ‘sugar high’ you’re seeking, come up with a healthier alternative.
For example, for sweet, you can find healthier sweet things — strawberries, yogurt, cherries, blueberries.
For a dopamine substitute, make a short list of things (things that aren’t food!) that give you pleasure, or that make you happy. Here’s my “short list”:
  • Playing with my dog Ike.
  • Reading.
  • Playing a video game.
  • Meditating outside.
  • Holding hands with my wife. (Too cheesy romantic? Maybe. But it’s true.)
So now you can use a SUBSTITUTE next time you get a craving for the sugar high.
Because it’s not really the SUGAR that you want, it’s the ‘sweet’ or the dopamine high.
Even if you only substitute every other time, you’ve already cut your sugar intake in half!

More Smart Substitutes

Once you’ve gotten into the habit of substituting something healthier for your sugar high, take things up a notch:
Swap one unhealthy food for a healthier one during each meal or snack.
  • Instead of french fries, have some vegetable chips or some crunchy carrots.
  • Swap soda for mineral water with lime.
  • Instead of a cookie, have a strawberry.
  • Swap potato chips for some air-popped popcorn.

Over time, making one simple upgrade every time you eat can add up to a lot of improved health – and a lot fewer calories!

Healthier Food Swaps:

Spaghetti → Spaghetti squash

Chips → Baked sweet potato chips or beet chips or kale chips

Fries → Baked sweet potato fries

White rice → Cauliflower rice

Mashed potatoes → Mashed rutabaga

Pizza Crust → Crust made with cauliflower rice

White flour → Almond flour or coconut flour

Salt → Lemon juice

Sandwich bread → Lettuce wrap

Sugar → Stevia

Sour cream → Greek yogurt, coconut oil, or applesauce

Toast / Bread → Ezekiel bread

Croutons → Sliced almonds (in salad)

Ice cream → Small Bowl of frozen cherries or grapes


Get help

Sugar Free Me quit sugar program by Dan DeFigioIf you need help getting over your sugar high, pick up Sugar Free Me. It’s Dan’s flagship program to help you eat less sugar.