What can you do about severe food cravings?

Ask Bitten Jonsson

How do you introduce fruit after a sugar detox? How do you get below 25 grams of carbs per day? And is there anything you can do to try and resist severe sugar cravings?

These and other questions are answered this week by our food-addiction expert, Bitten Jonsson, RN:

Painful cravings

For as long as I remember I get a craving pain in my chest. I don’t know how else to describe it. I stand looking into my pantry/fridge and look for foods to eat that will stop this craving pain. I having tried searching the Internet for Web sites that describe this sort of craving pain but have not found any. What is causing this craving and how do I get it to stop?


Hi Bruce, good question. Cravings are very painful, stressing and energy depleting. I have interviewed many clients on how they perceive cravings and there is everything from “pain in my hair” toothache in my whole body”, “aching feeling all over”, “headache from hell”, “wired and tired”, “a hole in my stomach ” and so forth, so for you it is in your chest.

Craving is a signal from deep down in our reward center in the brain and it is very different from hunger. It is an obsession and have several causes. First of course due to not eating enough and/or nutritious foods, imbalances in our intestinal flora and more.

We talk about two types of cravings, one is “cue induced” and happens when we think about sugar/flour, see it on TV, in the store, when we smell processed foods, bread, having “drug food” at home. Then it will “move in to our heads” and cravings starts. When someone talks about it, you might experience cravings right now from reading the word bread or chocolate! Our addicted brain want the drug, that’s what addiction is all about.

The other type is stress-induced cravings and it is harder to pinpoint the cause, and occur usually because we have not learned new coping skills. If starting LCHF, i.e changing food is your only tool, this will happen more frequent. In order not to return to our old way of eating we need to change many things in our life. If you are a sugar/carb addict, you need to widen your tool box in order to not relapse. I suggest you join our support group ‘Sugarbomb in your brain‘ on Facebook and start to communicate with others that have had cravings and learn more tools to lessen and get rid of them because they are very destructive to our new lifestyle.

Terence Gorskis book “Staying Sober” is also a good read to learn how to be aware of risksituations and warningsigns that occur before picking up our favourite drug. Just read “sweets” where he writes alcohol.

Best wishes,

Introducing fruit after sugar detox

Dear Bitten,

I’ve been off sugar and all sugary food (including starchy vegetables) for 90 days. I consider myself a sugar addict.

In one of your videos, you presented that your trigger fruit is apple, but not banana, that says that sugar addict CAN eat fruits if its not a trigger one.

Please be kind and explain WHEN and how one food addict can introduce fruit and starchy veggies. If it’s trial and error process, than the email question is only WHEN…

I found Vera Tarmans’ book ‘Food Junkies‘ very helpful, thanks for wonderful suggestion.

Best regards,

Hi Dragana,

Yes many of us can have fruit but not as a snack, that seems to trigger since fruit is sugar.

I advise you to try it but as a dessert, so after a good LCHF meal. I eat mostly wild berries such as strawberries, blueberries and cloudberries, all of them I pick myself around where I live in the middle of Sweden. If I find organic strawberries, I’ll have those too. Try one a week to start with and probably not more then 2 a week and se if berries might be better.

As for starchy vegetables if that is something you want to start with, try a very small portion once a week. If you suddenly find yourself longing for them or obsessing over them, take them away and the same with fruit of course.

Take care,

How do you get below 25 grams of carbs per day?

I’m having trouble getting below 25 carbs a day. I am 220 lbs (100 kg), athletic 5’9 (175 cm), about 40 pounds (18 kg) overweight, but I’m not in bad shape, I look good in a suit. How do I get to 25 carbs or less a day?


Keep a food diary for a week and make a note of the type of carb foods you eat and look for better options. You write “Addicted to sugar “ in the title of the question, does it mean that you can’t stay away from sugar so that you lose control and eat? Then you need more knowledge about sugar addiction, start reading about it here: http://www.sugaraddiction.com, there are many tools there. Or Dr. Vera Tarman’s book ‘Food Junkies‘.

My best,


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