In this article, Joe English does better work explaining the difficulty of cutting out sugar than I can, and since I’ve been meaning to write a similar post for a while now (though I did a year-long experiment), I will take advantage of the opportunity to have someone write the post for me.
As someone who has had (and I would argue, continues to have, despite cutting sugar out) a sweet-tooth, I will say that it is very difficult for someone like me. I think sweet-tooth is a cover-up for “sugar addiction,” and trying to cut out something I’ve been chemically and psychologically dependent on is an ongoing process that can take years.
You may ask, “is it worth it?” Joe English didn’t get into this yet, but besides feeling satisfied for much longer, and having a feeling of reliable energy, other foods (like vegetables and nuts) have much more intense tastes, and one can sense the sweetness in anything including meats, nuts, and cheeses.
Another benefit has been that other stimulants (like coffee) are no longer as necessary to get me going or keep me going, but they help when a craving comes on. The danger of cutting out sugar is that it can be replaced by another addiction (like alcohol, tobacco), but having the will-power to cut out sugar (especially if you have a sweet-tooth like me) can assure you that you’ll be able to control any other addiction as well.
I don’t want to trivialize serious addictions that result in alcohol and drug abuse, but I also don’t want the addiction to sugar trivialized either. I think if people can be more aware of how pervasive it is as an additive, and how much control it has over what we consider “tastes good,” then one step towards combating obesity and its related diseases will be taken.
There seems to be tremendous interest right now in the health effects of sugar in our diets. Many people say that it is sugar, rather than fat, that is leading people to be overweight. Documentaries like “Fed Up” talk about both the addictive nature of sugar and how the idea of “eating better and exercising more” makes little sense when the environment makes it practically impossible to eliminate sugar additives from your diet in the first place. No matter how hard you try, the deck is simply stacked against you, so the thinking goes.
So 21 days ago I set out to see if it was possible: could I eliminate sugars from my diet and what would be the impact on my behavior and general sense of well-being? I didn’t go into this trying to fix some specific problem or to lose weight. Rather in the end I learned a…
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