Sugar. We all know it can be harmful, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to shake off. Hurts so good, and all that jazz. The thing is though, if you want to break a sugar addiction, you need to have a plan. Your cravings are NOT going to simply disappear overnight, unfortunately.

Thankfully, sugar-free September is just around the corner, and we have seven simple ways that you can ease into a low-sugar lifestyle.

1 – Have darker things with no sugar with your low sugar alternatives (e.g. black coffee with dark chocolate)

This is a weird tip, but trust me, it works, and it’s helpful if you love sugar like I do. I’m a big chocolate fan, huge, and sadly, there’s way more sugar than I need in regular milk chocolate bars. Switching to dark chocolate, I have to admit, does not appeal to me, because it just lacks the sweetness of milk chocolate. Until, enter: black coffee. I’m very much into black coffee, and I’ve found that having a sip of nice, hot, completely non-sweet black coffee is the perfect way to bring out the hidden sweetness in dark chocolate, because its sugarless taste makes the dark chocolate feel very sweet.

2. Make your own sauces

Do you know how much sugar there is in your average ranch or ketchup? Sometimes up to 4 g a serving! And do you know how much sugar you’re supposed to have every day? 25 g for women, 37.5 g for men. That’s just the sauce, in one meal, if you stick to the recommended serving! If you can find low sugar options, or you’re able to make your own dipping sauces using olive oil, lemon, milk, etc., then do so – you’ll be surprised by the difference it makes.

3. Opt for full fat options

Two servings of dessert made of chia seeds, milk and strawberries on a gray table. Healthy Breakfast Concept

Fun fact: Low-fat foods typically contain more sugar than full-fat ones. We all know butter and milk help add flavor to things (hello, Paula Deen), but few of us have given thought to what happens when we take them away. Removing fat from where it usually appears means that food manufacturers have to account for the loss of flavor, which they typically do through the addition of sugar. And here’s the funny thing, more good fat is far better for you in the long run than more sugar. Stick to the full-fat foods, and if you’re worried about how much fat is in them, just eat less of them.

4. Watch your fruit intake (fruit has sugar too)

Fruit is incredible. But, as good as it is for you, it also contains sugar. A medium sized apple contains approximately 19 grams of sugar – which is a lot if you’re a woman who is supposed to consume no more than 25 grams a day! This doesn’t mean you should give up on fruit entirely though, just eat less of the sugary ones, and more of the watery, fibery ones, like watermelon (1 cup of diced watermelon contains just 9 grams of sugar), and eat more fruit than you do vegetables.

5. Try keto (not for the fainthearted)

Ketogenic food concept - plate with keto food, top view

If you know Lifesum at all, you know we love the Keto diet. It’s all about minimising carbohydrate intake so that you can burn your fat stores for energy, and trust us, it works. This is a pretty extreme method if you’re looking at cutting back on sugar, as that even includes fruit (see point number four), but it is proven to reduce sugar cravings over time, so it’s well worth the effort.

6. Sleep more

Ever noticed how when you’re exhausted you’re more drawn to soda, cake, chips, and candy? Sleep and sugar consumption are intricately connected. When you’re low on energy, your body naturally craves more sugar in order to account for the energy you’re lacking. Getting a good night’s rest is honestly the most powerful weapon against a high sugar intake. Sleep tight!

7. Ditch soda (and cocktails!)

For those of you who have, up until now, remained in the dark, your soda has sugar in it. And so do your cocktails. Those mai tais and that root beer are chock full of sugar, and that’s part of what keeps you coming back! The good news is that most of us (hopefully!) don’t drink a ton of mai tais often, so cutting back, or switching those for something with less sugar, like champagne, or good red wine can help. If you’re addicted to soda, resist the urge to jump ship to the sugar free or diet varieties; while they’re lower on sugar, they still contain a lot of stuff that isn’t good for you, and take up calories without really energizing you. Try a homemade fruit smoothie instead, which contains fiber and other useful nutrients, or start flavoring your water with a little bit of fruit.

Do you free ready for a sugar-free September? See if you can cut back on the amount of sugar in your diet!

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams