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Sorry Sweetie, We Need to Break Up!! How to End Your Toxic Relationship with Sugar

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Oh, Sugar, my sweet and tempting companion, we've had quite the journey, haven't we? We've shared a lifetime of passion and indulgence. It all started innocently enough with that first bite of candy as a child. Little did I know that you, my dear Sugar, would become such a significant presence in my life.

You've always been there for me, Sugar. You never judged me when I binged on cookies at midnight or drowned my sorrows in a pint of ice cream. I remember all those late-night rendezvous with you, secretly indulging me in whatever I craved. You were always there, right behind me, ready to comfort me with your sweet charms.

But lately, I’ve come to realize my dependency on you is freakin’ ridiculous!! I can't go a day without you. If I have a bad day, you console me with a slice of cake. If I have a good day, we celebrate with a chocolate bar. We've become so intertwined that I can't even enjoy a cup of coffee without needing you to over-sweeten it for me. You've become my crutch, my puppet master, my poison.

Sugar, I realize now that you have been a sneaky saboteur, whispering sweet nothings into my ear. You're the frenemy I don’t need. You sweet-talked your way into my heart and then stabbed me in the back with sugar crashes, extra pounds, guilt, and lab results that make my head spin in fear. My jeans don’t fit, I feel like shit, and my pancreas just filed abuse charges against me!

Maybe we'll meet again one day in a healthier, more balanced way. But right now it's time for me to find a more loving and sustainable relationship. One that won't leave me craving your confection and suffering in cycles of rush and crash. It's time to say goodbye to our passionate affair and hello to a happier, healthier me.

Our darling Sugar – that ubiquitous and alluring substance that has a remarkable ability to find its way into almost everything we consume. From sweet treats to processed foods, saturating our advertisements, and also hidden in plain sight, enticing us with its sweet taste and comforting properties.

Many of us have a complex and often unhealthy relationship with sugar, turning to it in times of emotional stress and using it as a crutch to cope with life's challenges. In this blog, we will delve into the evolutionary, psychological, and physiological reasons behind our attraction to sugar, explore the health problems associated with excessive sugar intake, reveal the hidden sugars in our food products, and provide a 21-day program to help you break your bad habits with sugar.

Prehistoric Sweet Tooth

The evolutionary basis for our relationship with sugar stems from our early primate ancestors. In prehistoric times, food was scarce and meals were inconsistent. Sugary foods, such as ripe fruits, were high in calories and provided a quick source of energy. Early primates evolved to crave these foods as powerful fuel, converting any excess sugar into body fat for future use. This was a survival mechanism, as storing fat decreased the likelihood of starvation during times of food scarcity. However, in today's world, where sugar is readily available and often consumed in great excess, this evolutionary adaptation has lead to an epidemic of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and emotional struggles.

The Sugar Connection - Psychology and Physiology

Emotional Comfort Food: Our bodies and brains are wired to crave sugar and sugar has a unique ability to temporarily make us feel better. When we're stressed or feeling down, we often turn to sugary snacks to temporarily lift our mood, creating an emotional connection to sugar. Consuming sugar activates the mesolimbic dopamine system, our brain's reward system, releasing dopamine, the feel-good chemical messenger. This creates a cycle where the more sugar we consume, the more we want it to get the same "sugar buzz”.

Physiological Cravings: Our bodies are hardwired to seek out sugar for its quick energy boost. However, excessive consumption can lead to an unhealthy cycle of sugar cravings, causing us to reach for sugary foods even when we're not physically hungry. Our bodies also crave sugar when they are deficient in certain nutrients like calcium, zinc, chromium, and magnesium. These deficiencies can create feelings of dehydration, which our bodies often interpret as sugar cravings.

Sugar and Stress: During periods of emotional stress, our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol, which can increase sugar cravings. We often seek solace in sugar to alleviate stress temporarily, creating an unhealthy coping mechanism. Emotional stress and depression can also trigger sugar cravings. Depression often reflects low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that sugar helps release when eaten. This can create a cycle of mood instability and binge eating.

The Health Consequences of Excessive Sugar Intake

  • Weight Gain and Obesity: Excess sugar intake is a leading cause of weight gain and obesity. Sugary foods and beverages are calorie-dense but often lack essential nutrients, causing us to consume more calories than our bodies need.

  • Type 2 Diabetes: High sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. This chronic condition has serious health implications, including heart disease, kidney problems, and nerve damage.

  • Cardiovascular Issues: Sugar can contribute to heart disease by raising blood pressure, increasing inflammation, and promoting unhealthy cholesterol levels.

  • Dental Problems: Sugar is a primary contributor to tooth decay and cavities, as it provides a food source for harmful oral bacteria.

  • Fatty Liver Disease: Excessive sugar intake, particularly fructose, is linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can progress to more severe liver problems.

Unmasking Hidden Sugars in Our Food

Many foods that we perceive as healthy can contain hidden sugars. For example, pasta sauces, granola bars, yogurt, instant oatmeal, salad dressings, breakfast cereals, and energy drinks can all contain added sugars. Reading product labels can be a helpful first step to lowering your added sugar intake.

  • Reading Labels: Manufacturers often use various names for sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup, maltose, and sucrose, which can disguise its presence. Learning to read labels is crucial for identifying hidden sugars in processed foods.

  • The Sugar in Disguise: Many seemingly healthy foods, like yogurt, granola bars, and even salad dressings, contain added sugars. It's essential to be aware of these hidden sources.

  • Beverages Beware: Sugary beverages, including soft drinks, fruit juices, and energy drinks, are notorious for their high sugar content. They can easily go unnoticed but contribute significantly to your daily sugar intake.

A 21-Day Program to Break the Sugar Habit

Breaking free from a toxic relationship with sugar takes some time and effort. But it can be done and its definitely worth doing! Here’s a 21-day program to help you regain control:

Days 1-7: Awareness and Education

  • Educate yourself about the types of sugar and their aliases.

  • Identify and note down your sugar consumption, including hidden sources.

  • Begin to reduce your sugar intake gradually by replacing sugary snacks with healthier alternatives.

Days 8-14: Reevaluation and Adjustment

  • Reassess your progress by comparing your current sugar intake with the initial record from week one.

  • Make further reductions, swapping out sugary drinks for water or herbal teas.

  • Experiment with healthier dessert options, such as fruit or sugar-free alternatives.

Days 15-21: Transition to a Low-Sugar Lifestyle

  • Your sugar cravings will typically have diminished greatly by this time. Continue reducing your sugar intake and make it a permanent change.

  • Explore recipes that use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

  • Focus on whole, unprocessed foods and home-cooked meals to have better control over your sugar consumption.

  • The World Health Organization recommends a free/added sugar target of no more than 25 to 30 gms per day. A teaspoon contains about 5 gms of sugar and a typical cube contains about 4 gms. Factory-made foods with added sugars can be calculated by portion size. Natural sugars in whole foods don't need to be counted for the WHO daily target of sugar.


Your journey to break free from a toxic relationship with sugar is a challenging but rewarding one. By understanding the evolutionary, psychological, and physiological drivers behind your sugar cravings, recognizing the health problems associated with excessive sugar intake, and unmasking hidden sugars in your food, you can take control of your relationship with sugar. The 21-day program is a guide to help you transition to a healthier, low-sugar lifestyle, one that will improve your physical health, boost your mental well-being, and ultimately set you free from the grip of sugar’s dangerous allure. Remember, you don’t have to quit sugar entirely, but most of us do need to find a more balanced and sustainable approach to enjoying life's sweet moments.

At Fasting and Thriving Retreats we strive to bring you relevant information regarding a holistic approach to healthy living. A Fasting Lifestyle will help jump start your journey into health. Take this opportunity to learn more. For an individual, free assessment use the QR Code below and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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