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10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell, are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat. Want more cooking tips like this? Check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods. See for yourself just how healthy and tasty desserts can be by trying my Dark Chocolate Silk Pudding from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral. Try the recipe for Hearty Lentil Soup from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. If you are deficient, you might also need to take a zinc supplement. Work with one of my nutrition coaches to ensure your nutrition status is up to par.

For more ways to use your kitchen to take back your health, check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles. Click here to learn more about how easy I have made it for you to buy The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, with these fabulous new bonuses:

  • $20 discount in The Blood Sugar Solution Store with your order over $100. It’s like getting the book for free!
  • Online access to the bestselling UltraMetabolism DVD
  • 10-Day Detox Diet—exclusive preview webinar
  • 10 Myths Sabotaging Your Waistline (and Your Health): an eGuide

Now I’d like to hear from you…

What has helped you replace your cravings for sugar, salt, and fats?

What are some of your favorite healthy meals that you like to cook at home?

To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD


Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (26)

  • Selling the idea of nutritious food to Big Food has at least one irrefutable argument – it’s a zero sum game. That is, the overall market will never shrink because people must eat. The only variable is what they eat. Therefore, Big Food can ensure market share by simply adapting to public taste by producing what people will buy. So if the market shifts to healthy alternatives Big Food will have to produce it or lose market share.

    Today it is easiest to manipulate the market with deceptions and lies. But as the public becomes informed these cons will become less viable. It is always best to stay slightly ahead of trends. Therefore there is no doubt that Big Food will have to adapt to serve a burgeoning healthy market or lose market share.

    • what the fast food people is only a small part of the our health problem ,
      more foods like yogurt and craisins and ketchup and most salad dressings are laced with sugar or h/f/corn syrup.
      untill the mfg. stop adding hugh amounts of sugar , people will always be fat and obiese. there are many good non calorie sweeteners , such as stevia, and it is very inexpensive when purchased in packs (walmart) 100 packs for $4.99 .
      coke contains 34 grams of sugar added , as you and i know evey 4 grams is a teaspoon , kids drink 2, 3, 4. cokes or any soft drink daily, thy are consuming as much as 24 teaspoons of sugar just from soft drinks, plus other foods.
      unless we the people get the cooperation from food manufactrures , nothing will change , it may take a law from congress to change our adult and children’s health.
      no wonder diabetes and cancer are running wild.
      i have true and correct information that our government is hiding that there is a cure for most cancers, money and greed are keeping this information from the american public, i have the proof, contact me, 7604692322 or email

  • Dr. Mark Hyman: When I flew to Lenox, Massachusettes to meet with you at the Ultra-Wellness Center to learn how to be healthy to 100 or more, I learned so much in that hour interview. At the time, you were in the process “The Blood Sugar Solution.” I purchased your book when it came out on the New York Times
    Best Seller List. And last week, I bought your “The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook”after I saw you on TV.
    That night I made your “Sweet Potato Burgers.” Thank you for explaining to America this valuable information.
    Reading Specialist and Children’s Picture Book Author: Sheralee Hill Iglehart, B.S., M.A., Stanford University.

  • I followed your Advanced Plan from “The Blood Sugar Solution” and within only a few days, my cravings for carbs & sweets, in particular, went away. I’ve always enjoyed fruits and vegetables, but since making my diet cleaner and greener, I enjoy them even more because I can really taste them now! The other day, someone offered me a sugar-free gelatin dessert (made with artificial sweeteners) and it was horrible. The metallic taste from the sweetener was overwhelming. This is something I wouldn’t have noticed before completely eliminating artificial sweeteners from my diet, per your suggestion. I agree, eating a whole foods, healthy diet will definitely perk up your taste buds!

  • It is enough for me to know that in a sweet environment the bugs in my body and the cancer cells prolifer, to go 0 sugar.
    And fats? I love avocados and I only use the best olive oil I can find.
    Cocking? I have always hate it. So raw food is the thing for me.
    It’s been 15 years since I changed my life style and have not got a cold since.
    I love your advices Dr. Hyman, because we need support. And I admire you for for all you do to help people be healthy. Blessings.

  • Dr. Hyman,
    Thanks for these great suggestions. I have some questions though. I recently learned about Phytic acid present in grains, beans and nuts which binds some minerals like calcium, iron and zinc and prevents them from being absorbed.
    I started doing some reasearch on it, because my 3 children always had many cavities even though we eat mostly vegetarian diet with lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains (gluten free), nuts, seeds, avocados, eggs and some fish. I cook all meals from scratch and we rarely eat out. I also make my own treats and desserts with dry fruits, honey and stevia.
    Recently 2 of my kids were told that they have several new cavities and I’m just so discouraged! They have a few friends that eat pasta, white bread, cakes, cookies and candy all the time and never had a cavity in their lives!
    That’s when I discovered some info about phytic acid and mineral deficiency that can lead to cavities.
    What’s your opinion about it and do you have any suggestions about how to prevent this mineral deficiency?

    • Dear Zaria,

      Thank you for your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Have you tried soaking your nuts, seeds and grains? This improves your ability to digest them. We can understand how discouraging your experience has been. For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s virtual nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.
      In Good Health,
      The Nutrition Team

      • First off, my husband and I have lost a total of 98 combined lbs. since mid-June of this year! Woohoo! We are both feeling awesome and have so much energy! One of our favorite snack/sweet foods is almonds and raisins. It tastes like a candy bar! Thank you Dr. Hyman for getting us on the right track and changing our lives!

  • My naturopath told me to cut wheat and sugar after he got my lab results. He explained my phosphorous was way too high And that meant stop eating wheat. I never thought I could cut sugar, though! But within day of no wheat, my sugar craving was GONE! Ever heard of that?

  • Thank you for the highly informative and motivational newsletters. Almost two years on a plant based diet, dished the animal flesh. It is a total game changer. Also, have slashed the processed foods to around 10 percent of my diet. Most important, I love my diet. As you suggested, it all done with upping the flavor with great herbs and spices. Variety is the spice of life, and I eat more exotic fruits now that I never heard of, and don’t miss the processed sugary sweets at all, and no cravings, the one huge thing I do that I find does the trick for me, is apple cider vinegar with the mother, a tablespoon, with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and half cup of cranberry/grape juice, no sugar added. I do this first thing in the morning, and throughout the day if I ever do have those cravings, which I can happily say now, that I never do, and I was a entire pecan pie in a day, type of guy, two burgers with fries, apple fritters every day, doughnuts, you name it.

  • What if you can not eat ANY nuts/sesame seeds (peanut or tree nuts) due to severe allergies) Coconut is the only one that is ok. Can you still make this happen? Please advise…. I LOVE nuts but my children CAN NOT be around them – safety first.

    • Yes, you can easily adapt Dr. Hyman’s programs to exclude all nuts and seeds. For additional help, did you know you can work with Dr. Hyman’s nutritionists virtually? For personalized nutrition coaching where you can receive 1:1 support with Registered Dietitians, please see:
      Wishing you the best of help,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • Thank you!! Do you have material on this for vegetarians? It can be challenging to find the right kind and amounts of food and proteins

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  • Day 7 of no sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy…and I am so excited! Feeling very energetic, enough to take 4 grandchildren (ages 4 – 9) swimming by myself and having fun! Sleeping so much better. Clear skin and no more dark circles under my eyes. No more bloating, embarrassing gas, sugar or alcohol cravings. Filling up with green smoothies, organic fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, chicken and wild elk meat…my body is thanking me. I think what has helped the most is eating avocado daily and using seeds (pumpkin, chia and hemp) and coconut oil in my smoothies. I can’t believe these amazing results in only a week! After trying every “diet” and food plan under the sun…this is my new life! At age 66!

  • I found out a very innovative way of eating what I wish especially the sweets and yet avoiding being excessively healthy.
    I noticed that come whatever may I cannot stop eating sweets this cannot be balanced as well so then read that Insulin produced by Pancreas must be stimulated after eating sugar such that it does not remain in circulation for long.
    and further also noticed that pancreas can be stimulated by as simple as walking so the basic rule is a brisk walk immediately after eating atleast for half an hour.The golden rule I follow atleast once after meals and it just works wonders and simultaneously I eat anything and everything I like.
    I noticed that my younger cousins are affected by diabetes and hypercholestrolemia but thankfully am saved.
    Just posting it as my experience as come whatever may I cannot stop eating sweets and found it to be very scientific to control weight as well.
    GOD BLESS!!!!

  • How come there is not much out there about “fatty liver disease”? Sugar = Obesity = Fatty Liver Disease….

  • You knoe what gets me ? Is that all these changes do not take into consideration those of us with severe allergic allgergies to these “healthy” foods. Where i work puts out food on steam tables and the majority of it offered is healthy like spagehetti with wheat noodles or. Made with egg plant. Other things like broccoli mash instead of potatoes or broccoli..Well those three things broccoli, cauliflower, and eggplant are some of those allergies. I also find cabbage/sauerkraut as a choice a lot again allergies. Peppers are another. Peppers, broccoli, spinach, are 3 things I cant even be in the vincinity of when cooking because i violently retch just by the odor. Other things are Fish, shellfish, canteloupe, honey dew, sweet potatoes etc. I am also allergic to penicillins, sulfonamides, and aspirin and gaufesin. Oh and aspartame. As a infant/child i was lactose intolerant and even had an issue with soy based products. Dont even try to tell me to try desensitising….been there done that and wou d up in the ER on IV fluids and exactrabation of kidney issues. So please explain to me what i can do?

    • Hi Sue,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.
      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. If you would like information on becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center, please see “How to Become a Patient” at You may also feel free to call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637-9991.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff