GreenSmoothieGirl Logo
Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Minutes. Add 10 Years to your life.
Our beautiful template for infinite variety of greens and superfoods in your smoothies—print this and eliminate the need for recipes! Get it now for free!

How To Break Your Sugar Addiction in Only 4 Days

Robyn Openshaw - Updated: March 5, 2024 - - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

How To Break Your Sugar Addiction In Four Days

On the GreenSmoothieGirl lecture tour of 450 U.S. cities, I was asked one question, over and over:

How do I break my sugar addiction?

And I suspect that far more of us want to ask this question, relative to the few brave enough to say it out loud.

Because we all have Shame about our food addictions. We’d all love to get off sugar.

I’m going to talk about how the Shame Monster is your worst enemy, if you’re addicted to sugar. Worse than the chemical addiction, maybe. And then I’m going to tell you the somewhat triumphant, somewhat humiliating story of my Year of No Sugar.

In this post:

6 Things You Need to Break a Sugar Addiction

But first, here’s what you need to get off sugar once and for all (I eat it occasionally now, but it doesn’t own me as it used to):

  • An accountability buddy. Someone who is truly willing to do something difficult. Someone as motivated as you are to break the grip of sugar in their life.
  • A serious, hardcore bet. One where the reward or punishment is bigger than your cravings and your fear of failure.
  • Four days with no sugar at all, not even natural sugar from fruit. This will knock down 90% of your craving.
  • Some positive, loving self-talk. For one, a commitment to shifting thought patterns and self-talk, loving yourself instead, when Shame starts to creep in. (More on that next.) And two, daily affirmations that life is sweet, even without the “nice girl’s crack cocaine.”
  • Some touchstones to come back to daily and, later, weekly. Journaling how you’re doing, texting your "accountbilibuddy," posting on social media. Be accountable. Don’t be silent for weeks, because then it’s too easy, in a moment of weakness, to drop out. Write down the gains in your energy, health, cravings, control of your life.
  • Celebrate your wins. When it’s been a week. When it’s been a month. When it’s been a year (if you feel ambitious). Celebrate with something that isn’t, you know, sugary.

Photo of a bullet journal from "How To Break Your Sugar Addiction In Four Days" at Green Smoothie Girl.

Use tools like a journal to help keep track of your progress and changes.

When you set yourself up for success, state your intentions to the world (social media is great for that), and hold yourself and your buddy accountable, you’re going to win.

You’ll have to brace yourself for the first few days, when your cravings will feel like they’re going to kick your butt. They won’t last. And we really have to talk about Shame.

Shame Feeds Sugar Addiction

The most toxic and negatively charged human emotion is Shame.

Why am I capitalizing it? Because we have a lot of it, wrapped around the foods we vow, in the morning, to quit forever—the same food we secretly stuff in our mouths in the afternoon and evening.

You’ve likely heard the story about the dopamine cycle created by addictive foods, so I’ll spare you. Knowing that you’re in the grip of a chemical, every day, every week, every year—that knowledge doesn’t really help.

You’re also aware of the way sugar adds inches to your belly, causes your energy to crash right when you need the most productivity, and puts you at risk for cancer.

And blah, blah, blah.

It’s the Shame I’m more concerned about. Let’s just own it, shall we?

Graphic of a girl being shamed from "How To Break Your Sugar Addiction In Four Days" at Green Smoothie Girl.

The most toxic human emotion is Shame.

If we don’t have a sugar addiction, we have a salt addiction. (Some of us are unlucky enough to be obsessed with both sugary and salty foods.)

[Related: 90 Seconds to Reframe And Release Any Negative Emotion]

Both kinds of junk food come with high risks to our health—and even though we know all that, we’ve got a bag of Peanut M&M’s in the bottom drawer at work, or a box of powdered-sugar mini-donuts in our underwear drawer at home.

Where we put them says it all. They’re hidden. More often than not, we eat our sugary junk food when no one’s looking.

And as if the toxic food isn’t bad enough, then we emotionally beat ourselves up about it.

“I’m so self-disciplined about other things—I work out, I have a successful career, I got a master’s degree, for crying out loud—why does sugar own me?

And the self-loathing keeps the cycle going, with the Shame driving the sugar binge habit underground.

And we wake up the next morning, vowing to do better. I’m going to tell you how I beat my sugar addiction for good. It started with a big, bold move.

Break Your Sugar Addiction: My Sugar Bet

My Sugar Bet | How To Break Your Sugar Addiction in Four Days

If you're addicted to sugar, try getting yourself into a high stakes bet with a friend.

Years ago, my dear friend Matthew and I took on a one-year Sugar Bet. It was a vow of sugar celibacy.

If one of us failed, we owed $10,000 to the other. (Plus, the loser had to eat a silkworm, which is apparently the worst thing you’ve ever eaten--or a dead tarantula, and other humiliations and horrors.)

Before I tell you the outcome, I’ll share my ugly, humiliating moment–then later, I’ll share his.

(And ask his forgiveness after this post is published. Or just hope he doesn’t read it.)

We jointly set some rules that naturally sweet foods, like fruits, were legal.

But no birthday cake, donuts at the office, soda, no chemical sweeteners (like what’s in diet soda) were allowed—not even ketchup.

(Yep, ketchup is chock full of the worst kind of sugar, corn syrup.)

Six months into my year, feeling great, I was in Hawaii on a lecture tour, and my friend, Debbie, and I were doing a little window shopping in town. We stopped for lunch and both had a salad.

Then, the waiter asked if we wanted dessert, and Debbie ordered a brownie with hot fudge and ice cream. I declined, and had a moment of panic.

Here’s the problem: the only temptation trigger worse than a brownie, for this girl, is a brownie with hot fudge and vanilla ice cream.

Photo of brownie and ice cream from "How To Break Your Sugar Addiction In Four Days" at Green Smoothie Girl.

Who doesn't love brownies and ice cream? It is a dessert almost impossible to say no to.

My instinct told me to run. Debbie wouldn’t have minded. But my ego said, “Nah, you got this.”

As she began eating her dessert, Debbie, who had momentarily forgotten my vow, asked me if I wanted a bite.

A strange thing happened in my mind. This Big Fat Lie seemed completely rational, for as long as it took for me to grab a spoon:

“We’re in Hawaii. Coconuts are fruit. I mean, that’s probably coconut ice cream right there, right? The brownie could be sweetened with coconut sugar … which is kind of like fruit. I mean, I don’t know they AREN’T, so … I could plead ignorant?”

I picked up the extra spoon on the side of the plate, and took one delicious, gooey bite.

A sick feeling settled over me felt like a faraway memory I couldn’t quite place.

The next morning, I went for a run on the beach, and my guilt (and the panic that I really owed Matthew $10,000) swallowed me—unavoidable now–and I actually started crying, while I ran. To be honest, my shame, guilt, and dread at the conversation I had to have, when I got home, ruined the rest of my trip.

I realized that the déjà vu I had as I ate that one illegal bite reminded me of when I was five years old. I put a roll of Lifesavers in my pocket, shopping at a department store with my Dad.

In the car, I tried to eat one, but my guilty feelings wouldn’t let me swallow, and I literally choked, as the candy dissolved in my mouth.

My dad finally asked me what was wrong with me, why my face was red and I couldn’t speak, and was coughing.

And the confession came out, with a flood of tears. My dad took me into the store, to confess to the manager.

Photo of lifesaver candy from "How To Break Your Sugar Addiction In Four Days" at Green Smoothie Girl.

Candy facilitates sugar addiction at a very young age.

Now, at 42 years old, I had no excuse. I went home and gave Matthew $1,000 in cash, and asked him for mercy.

I asked him: Is there was any way I could continue the contest, giving him 10% of the big money I really owed, and I’ll pay the rest if I messed up again?

Days later, he came over to my house, told me he agreed to “mercy” me, and tried to give me the cash back. I refused to take it.

I was grateful for the do-over, and I won’t defend that I talked my way back into the bet. I really wanted to finish. And save face.

(I know, I suck. Followers of my blog told me so. You can comment and tell me so, AGAIN, if you want to. But that’s the story. That’s what happened.)

The year ended, both of us successful, and I was pretty proud. By that point in my life, I was a certifiable “health nut,” but my sugar addiction had dogged me since my earliest memory.

(After all, I was stealing Life Savers at five.)

The night after our bet ended, Matthew showed up on my porch to pick me up for Zumba. And showed me the four King Sized candy bar wrappers he had just eaten.

We’ve had a lot of laughs about that year and the videos we made periodically, which are probably still on YouTube.

An interesting thing happened during those 12 months.

I can’t say I don’t ever eat sugar. Sometimes I do. But not very often. I can go days, and weeks, without it—and I don’t overdo, any more.

That year taught me that life is still sweet, without rewarding myself constantly with sugar.

But it doesn’t have to take you a year or even a month to break your sugar addiction. You can beat a sugar addiction in as little as four days.

A Four-Day Sugar Challenge Even Kids Can Do

My children’s book, The Adventures of Junk Food Dude, is a story about two kids who come from very different homes. I’d like to read you a few pages.

The Green Smoothie Guy is a 2nd Grader who plays sports and eats greens, vegetables, fruits—all the good stuff.

Junk Food Dude (whose real name is revealed later in the story) is his classmate who faces an all-too-common self-esteem-wrecker: childhood obesity.

This is the story of one-third of America’s children now.

Junk Food Dude is routinely picked last for dodge ball, but Green Smoothie Guy is kind, befriends him, and invites him to walk home with him after school.

They make some snacks, and Green Smoothie Guy proposes something interesting.

In this video, which you’re welcome to share with your kids, I read a few pages of the book and explain a very hopeful and true principle.

Your body doesn’t actually want to be addicted to chemical substances. (Sugar resembles a chemical in every way, and evokes the same cascade of responses from the human body.)

And when given a period of time as short as four days, sugar loses its chokehold.

On my lecture tour, I talked to many people who have never, in their lives, gone four whole days without processed sugar. I used to ask for a show of hands. And many had never done that.

But when I challenge you to ditch it for four days—remember, My Name is Robyn and I’m a Sugar Addict—you may be completely astonished that, for the first time in your life, you simply do not crave it, after that four days.

What You Can Expect When You Go Off Sugar

Sugar is Addictive | How To Break Your Sugar Addiction in Four Days

If you take a break from sugar, you'll find your tastes and cravings begin to change very quickly.

It’s a simple science experiment that will prove something interesting to you: that you are stronger than you think.

You are actually innately drawn to the colors, textures, and flavors of real food. That is your genetic programming, and those natural, whole foods are what your ancestors ate for thousands of years.

You can’t discover this UNLESS you quit sugar for four days.

I know you can do it. My first four days off sugar were much, much harder than the subsequent 361. (Well, except that one day in Hawaii.)

Choose the days of the week you face the fewest temptations, and plan ahead with delicious, flavorful, whole-food meals that will fill you and satisfy your taste buds.

Now, if you don’t find the sugar cravings completely disappearing after four days?

Whatever you do, don’t let Shame grab you by the throat. It serves no one. Behaviors driven underground flourish in the darkness. Say no to Shame!

You’re no different from me—and I make a living telling people how to eat healthy.

It takes some people a little bit longer, often because they have candida yeast overgrowth or they eat higher-than-average amounts of sugar or soda.

Sugar is more addictive than crack cocaine. Multiple studies have proven it.

But it’s actually quite amazing what four days off the “nice girl’s crack” will do for your confidence level. Sugar does not own you, and you CAN break your sugar addiction.

So, take a listen to a few pages of a children’s book, and see if you’re up for the challenge. You’ve got this. Let me know how it went. I’m rooting for you.

Get a free printable list of the good, bad, and ugly of sugar replacements, and how to use them in recipes!

Read next: Drink Wine, Drink Roundup: Why “Safe” Levels of Glyphosate Aren’t



Photograph of Robyn Openshaw, founder of Green Smoothie GirlRobyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.

How To Break Your Sugar Addiction In Four Days




Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Health Concerns, Mind/Body Connection, Relationships, Videos

28 thoughts on “How To Break Your Sugar Addiction in Only 4 Days”

Leave a Comment
  1. Christine J. Peterson says:

    Is coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, and honey

    1. GreenSmoothieGirl Support says:

      Coconut sugar, pure maple syrup and honey are all forms of natural unprocessed sugar, but if you’re going to give up sugar, I’d start only sweetening with stevia for at least a week to gain control over your sugar addiction. In our detox program, we allow in later phases small amounts of maple syrup.

    2. Helen Katy Support says:

      Yes, these in small amounts are far better than refined sugars. And consider Monk Sugar as another good option!

  2. Sara says:

    When you give up sugar for four days, should you give up fruit and natural sweeteners ( agave, honey, Stevia ) thanks, Sara

    1. GreenSmoothieGirl Support says:

      Fruit is a natural form of sugar, but maybe consider no fruit for a few days and then add low glycemic berries in to begin with, adding apples, bananas, pineapple, kiwi, etc as you go. Agave and honey are much higher on the glycemic index and can be triggers. Stevia is great as a healthy natural sweetener!

    2. Helen Katy Support says:

      It’s very good to use nothing for a few days – allowing yourself lemon in your smoothies for a few days and stevia.

  3. Cherilyn Bloomer says:

    I gave up sugar 100% on the 26 day detox I did with GSG. Why oh why did it call me back!? I’m in. Starting tomorrow will day one. I’m promising myself that I will not eat sugar and this includes sweeteners like maple syrup, honey and stevia because that will just trigger me. Thanks for the challenge. I’m ready!

    1. GreenSmoothieGirl Support says:

      Cherilyn, It’s great to hear from you! And believe me, you are not alone in answering that familiar call of sugar. You did great on the detox and had wonderful health gains! I know you can kick the sugar again!

    2. Helen Katy Support says:

      Cherilyn, you are a wonderfully successful detox participant and we SO enjoyed having you in our group. What you describe is a common question. You know after doing the detox that the intense addiction to sugar is real, or at least the struggle certainly is, but you conquered it once and can do so again! Where are you now on your post detox food plan? Consider detoxing with us January 2019?

  4. Richard says:

    Was fearful that when I stoped the herbal compounds I would resume with Lyme issues so I figured I would try and stack the deck in my favor by eliminating items in my diet that are unhealthy sugar and alcohol. I did that and in 2.5 months I went from 5’11 215lbs to 188lbs and feel great.

    I love your info, I’m looking at water quality and Infared Sauna for detox and ultimate health I want to get back into amazing shape and want to rid my body of toxin inflammation and build my immune system, any recommendations. I love your info my wife and kids are all thank God healthy and also eat right.


    1. GreenSmoothieGirl Support says:

      Hi Richard – Thank you for taking the time to share your health story! Sounds like you’ve come through the worst of the Lyme disease well with the help of a good functional medicine doctor. If you’re interested in taking your health to the next level, I’d love to offer you a link to 4 free Masterclass videos on detoxing. https://greensmoothiegirl.local/12-steps/oilong/ This would be the next best thing to do and then continue with a lifestyle of whole foods. We have so many happy detoxers that recently finished their 26 days ridding their body from sugar and salt and along with it inflammation! Let us know if you’d like more info! Congratulations on your wonderful achievement and we’re excited about your long term goals for a healthier, more high vibe life!

  5. Richard says:

    Somehow the first part of letter didnt come through so here it is.

    I was infected with Lyme disease for the second time . Out of fear I took the standard Doxycyclene for 30 days and was still not well I found an amazing world renowned Dr of Chinese medicine Dr Zhang who treated me with 6 months of powerful herbal formulation, I feel great now except some lingering pain in my right ankle. So as I state in the second part of my comment I took the matter into my own hands, I was in really bad shape and new I needed to be very proactive, I’m 54 and not getting any younger, eliminated sugar and alcohol I was drinking too much. So it can be done It takes a positive approach influences like Green Smoothie girl and be accountable

  6. Barbara says:

    Does the 4 days include fruit or just the obvious processed sugars?

    1. GreenSmoothieGirl Support says:

      Fruit, especially berries are lower in sugar but for a few days, it may be easier to kick the sugar habit by using a high quality stevia if you need a bit of healthy sweetener for a few days. Then begin to add natural fruit back into your diet by choosing less sweet fruits like berries, then follow with apples, kiwi, bananas and all your favorites.

  7. Suelin says:

    Thanks for sharing this and I am definitely on for the 4 day challenge. Like someone else who wrote above, I completely was off sugar for the 26 day detox and I felt really great! It only takes a little and I am one of the kind of people who cannot have just a little and be moderate. I really have to off sugar completely, for my own good and for my health. So, I am back in!

    1. GreenSmoothieGirl Support says:

      Suelin, good for you to take back that control – so worth the positive health gains! 🙂

  8. Leanne says:

    Hi Robyn! ( I think I accidentally deleted my reply) I also have a story similar to yours. I stole a pack of gum at the age of 5, often stole cookies from the cookie jar, and ate an absurd amount of candy bars while I was young. That sugar addiction has carried on into adulthood. I can resist sugared drinks but not the “food”. A few years ago on Halloween I decided to quit sugar the next day. After about 21 days, I caved. I couldn’t take the withdrawal symptoms any more. I had read it could take months.. this past week I have been dramatiy reducing my sugar intake..
    I’ve been having my green smoothies about 4/5 times a week for the couple of weeks! Thank you for all of your hard work.

  9. Hope says:

    Thanks for this! I will do the 4 day challenge. Kind of makes it as “baby steps” instead of just saying I’m going to quit sugar for good and then give in the next day. My problem is I always want to know “why” with everything. Why can’t I give up sugar. Why am I holding myself back. Why am I afraid of letting go of sugar and knowing that I can’t return to it. Why can’t I see myself without it.

    1. Heather says:

      I wondered that too. Susan Pierce Thompson explains this with her Brightline Eating. It’s excellent!

      1. K says:

        I agree! Bright line eating shows HOW to get off and not use just sheer will power. She shows you had to change how your body is physiologically working so the cravings go AWAY!

  10. C J says:

    Where can I find the steps to break the sugar addiction in 4 days. I work long hours and would like a Step by step process. Thanks

    1. GreenSmoothieGirl Support says:

      Hi CJ – Literally, you can stop your sugar addiction by only choosing to consume sugar in the form of whole fruits. You simply do not add sugar to any of your foods, nor to you purchase processed foods which contain refined sugar. It is hard as your body will crave it, but after 4 days, you should be over the hump.

  11. Tammy says:

    Robyn, I will start the 26 day detox in a few days, I was wondering, do I need to take my vitamin supplements while on the detox?

    1. GreenSmoothieGirl Support says:

      Hi Tammy, I’m not sure which supplements you’re referring to, but we do encourage you take our Daily Dose 3-Pack while detoxing to obtain the best results and support while detoxing. Here’s a link to the Daily Dose 3-Pack:

      If you were referring to your own vitamin supplements, you’re welcome to, but being that you’re consuming high quantities of nutritious food, you may not need to take all of them until after the detox. We do however, encourage continue taking Vit D with Vit K2.

  12. SC says:

    Some, hopefully, helpful advice from a sugar addict and over-eater: Substitute the pictures of trigger foods with healthy alternatives. (I’m going to be non-stop thinking about cupcakes now. lol)

  13. Anna says:

    I am extremely addicted to sugar like bad want it all day . I want to try this 4 day sugar fast but I make my own water kefir and do not want to go off of that. The water Kefir grains feed off of raw unrefined sugar. Some studies say that it eats all the sugar and none is left but I find that hard to believe. What is your opinion? Can I still do the sugar fast and drink my water kefir? It is a must for me for my digestive system.

  14. cyndi scheidegger says:

    Hi IAM a sugar addict too.everything I eat is bad.want to start the 4 day sugar break, but please tell me how to get started.thanks

  15. Janet penserum says:

    I read today , all about your progranm is amazing , for 2 months i didn’ t used sugar , is hard but iam more healthy not more sick, pain i go away allthe junk food, now i. Has new life thanks to my God

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content