Why Is It So Hard To Give Up Sugar?

There is a lot of emphasis these days on giving up sugar and people the world over, are kicking the sugar habit. Well, at least they’re trying to. And not for no reason. Sugar is associated with many health problems like diabetes, obesity, fatigue, chronic pain, poor immunity and even high blood pressure. Despite knowing the pitfalls of having sugar, it’s one hard habit to break. Is it just a lack of willpower that makes it so difficult to give up sugar? Or is something more at play? Let’s find out.

1. You Associate Sugar With Happiness

One of the main reasons we can’t quit sugar easily has to do with our mindset. We use sugar as a reward and associate sugary foods with happiness and celebrations. We may know that sugar isn’t healthy and know that we shouldn’t give in to the temptation, but since our brain associates it with happiness, it tricks us into believing that it will give us happiness and we end up eating it. This is how the brain’s reward pathway works and the more we give in, the stronger the pathway gets. The hardest thing about giving up sugar is to break away from this reward pathway and resist the reward.

And another problem with this kind of momentary pleasure is, that it vanishes the moment you finish eating. It’s a better idea to reward yourself and celebrate with things that last, like buying yourself a good book, or booking yourself a nice massage. They will make you happy without the guilt and last way longer than a piece of cake.

2. It’s Always Around To Tempt You

Don’t keep yourself surrounded by sugary treats. That’s the best way to stick to your no-sugar diet and keeping up your resolve to not fall off the wagon. Remove every trace of the forbidden stuff from your pantry, cupboards and the refrigerator. Not to mention your desk drawer at work and from that bowl sitting on the kitchen counter. When it isn’t there, you’ll end up not eating it and its complete absence from your surrounds will strengthen your resolve to stay sugar-free. Once you’re used to this, you will find it in you to avoid it, even when it’s in plain sight. But until then, it’s better to avoid having it anywhere near you.

3. You Give Up Easily

It’s alright to fall off the wagon once in a while. That shouldn’t be a reason to give up. Quitting this habit isn’t easy. It needs persistence, and some forgiveness towards yourself for giving in to temptations once in a while.

4. Your Substitutes Are Fructose-Filled

Natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or dates may be healthy when compared with sugar, but they’re full of fructose and that’s what you’re trying to avoid. Better alternatives could be low fructose fruits like blueberries, for instance.

5. You Depend On Artificial Sweeteners

Even if artificial sweeteners may seem like a good idea when you decide to give up sugar, they come with their own set of problems. They pass through your system without letting the brain know that you’ve just eaten and are now satiated. And you end up eating more than what you set out to eat in the first place. Also, some artificial sweeteners are known to cause diarrhea.

6. You Consume Store-Bought Drinks

Store-bought juices and drinks that claim to be ‘healthy’ can contain up to 31 teaspoons of hidden sugar. Staggering, isn’t it? Then how about giving them up? The next time you crave a ‘healthy’ drink, make yourself one at home without any added sugar.

7. You Only Avoid The Obvious Sugary Stuff

Saying no to dessert is a very wise thing to do. But don’t forget the not-so- obvious things that we think don’t have much sugar. The barbecue sauce you use, for instance. And not to mention the low-fat yogurt you picked up yesterday. It might be a good idea to stay away from processed food and opt for real food instead.

8. You Feel You’re Missing Out On A Lot

You might find the idea of celebrating events without a sugary cake a tad daunting. And Friday nights, with the sugary cocktails removed, may not really seem like Friday nights. But, to be honest, it isn’t as bad as it seems. You can still enjoy your drinks, your morning coffee and chocolate, sans the added and overrated sugar!