Why is it so hard to quit sugar?
A new UK sugar tax on soft drinks comes into force today. Companies will have to pay 18p per litre of drink if it contains more than 5g of sugar per 100 millilitres and 24p per litre if it contains 8g of sugar per 100 millilitres.
It's a (small) step in the right direction.
Sugar is directly linked to weight gain. And more importantly, sugar is linked to 4 of the top 5 causes of premature death in the Western world. It also speeds up the ageing process. So basically sugar makes us fat, ill, and old!
Unfortunately it's also highly addictive. So it's a hard habit to kick. I know ... I used to be a total sugar junkie. I didn't eat refined sugar all the time ... I'd have green juices, salads, fresh fruits etc. But then I'd also eat cakes, chocolate, cookies, desserts ...
I was addicted because (a) I didn't really want to be eating this stuff but couldn't help myself and (b) when I did eat it I was out of control.
Giving up refined sugar has been one of the best things I've ever done for my health. On top of that:
- I've lost weight;
- My skin is clearer;
- I have more energy;
- I'm less grumpy;
- I feel better about myself;
- I'm a better role model to my children;
- I don't have to use up my energy and resources trying to resist cake!
... Because I just don't want it anymore.
Would you like freedom from sugar?
ASK YOURSELF THESE 5 QUESTIONS, and find out what you’re really seeking to find in those sugar binges. This will work even better if you write down your answers and get curious with yourself as you journal:
- How am I really feeling when the urge to eat sugary food overwhelms me?
- What am I seeking to feel by eating sweet foods? (How do I want to feel?)
- Where else can I get those positive feelings, which I've been getting from sugar, without hurting my health?
- What do I need to do to create more of these positive experiences in my life so that I'm not looking for the answers in sugar?
- Why am I not doing these things already? (What is holding me back? What am I afraid of?)
You may be surprised that what comes up has nothing to do with sugar at all …
Sugar is addictive. But sugar is easily available to everyone, and whilst some people get addicted, others don't. So what is it that differentiates sugar addicts from those enviable people who can take it or leave it?
The difference is that some of us are seeking (consciously or subconsciously) to meet our unmet emotional needs with sugar. The chemical effect on your brain might feel like love in the moment … but sugar cannot bring us the love or meaning or human connection we crave.
This 15 minute TED talk by Johann Hari is insightful and well worth a watch: