By Michael Klaper, MD • A model of this text was initially printed on

There you might be, discovering your self knee-deep in Temptation City. Platters of chocolate chip cookies, lovingly-baked and recent from the oven, coyly name to you. Servings of sherbet shimmer seductively. The creamy pie appears particularly good tonight. How do you fortify your self towards these pitfalls?

Now, I want that I might say that for those who eat a clove of uncooked garlic in the morning and put on a rutabaga round your neck all day, you’ll by no means be tempted by sugary desserts. (Come to consider it, for those who eat garlic in the morning and put on a rutabaga round your neck, you most likely received’t be getting many occasion invites, anyway, so it may not be such a foul technique in any case!)

But, significantly, I’ve been cursed with one among the most voracious candy tooths (is the plural of “sweet tooth” actually “sweet teeth?”) in historical past. Until my dietary understanding grew to a degree when most sugary treats simply now not appeared as appetizing to me, any darkish chocolate bar or vegan cookie inside arm’s attain was in mortal hazard. Yet, they’re protected in my presence now (and I’m protected in theirs!).

What’s armed me with such fortitude? Why don’t I eat the cookies and the satan’s meals cake this yr? Because I do know what they’re!

The Problem with Sugar as a Food

close up of woman holding a hands full of sugar cubes

To arm oneself with this sword of data, a little bit candy chemistry understanding is named for. Sugars do style good, and there’s no downside in having fun with the naturally occurring fructose in entire, recent fruits. The downside is in consuming sugar as a meals! When you might be holding a cookie in your hand, a bit of cake, or a sweet bar, you might be holding a piece of sugar in your hand. You wouldn’t contemplate going over to the sugar bowl and shoveling tablespoons of the white stuff into your mouth, would you? But right here you might be, truly contemplating consuming this huge chunk of sugar as a meals.

If you do eat it, inside minutes, your bloodstream is flooded with sugar. Soon, the structural proteins in all of your tissues – the elastic fibers of your pores and skin, the hemoglobin in your blood, the filter membranes in your kidneys, the interior lining of your blood vessels, the lenses of your eyes – all get “sticky” with sugar (the chemists say they turn out to be “glycosylated.”) In the 98.6° F metabolic “oven” of our physique, the sugars and proteins soften collectively and oxidize, like the browning of bread crust (known as the “Maillard reaction.”)

These oxidized, broken, and congealed proteins, formally known as “Advanced Glycation End-products,” don’t perform usually. The gummed-up, oxidized protein fibers break, pores and skin cracks in the daylight; eyes turn out to be much less permeable to mild; muscle proteins don’t contract as vigorously; mind perform dwindles – sound acquainted? The growing old course of, maybe? EATING SUGAR AGES US! (Remember, the acronym for “Advanced Glycation End-products” is AGEs!)

Just Say No to AGEs

sugar cubes next to toxic symbol drawn in sugar

So, as my eyes fall upon the plate of cookies or sweet, I truly flash the picture in my thoughts of myself consuming it. And I concurrently assume, “This is a chunk of sugar in my hand. This stuff ages me. It makes my skin crack, my arteries stiff, and it leads me towards frailty and Alzheimer’s disease. Do I really want to eat it? Is it really worth it?”

I additionally know, after having indulged far too many instances in the similar sugary seduction, that I’m at all times bodily sorry after I eat it. That is, it’s assured that inside 15 minutes of consuming the cake or sweet, I’ll have that sickly, light-headed, barely nauseated “I can’t believe I just ate all that sugar” feeling coursing by way of my physique.

Nope. Not this time.

“Been there. Done that. Got the tissue aging. Don’t need to do that anymore…”

It is alleged, “The truth shall set you free.” And the reality is, whether or not combined with fats, as in ice cream, or baked into pies, candies, and truffles, or dissolved into tender drinks, refined sugars are candy poison. Like the poisoned apple in Sleeping Beauty, sugary treats style good upon the tongue, however silently and relentlessly, they harm us.

Sugary treats style good upon the tongue, however silently and relentlessly, they harm us. – Dr. Michael Klaper

Avoiding Sugary Temptation

Fortunately, for those who go searching, there may be often a safer, extra healthful approach to appease your candy tooth. There is nearly at all times fruit obtainable at festive gatherings. But to ensure that, carry some grapes, melon chunks, or almonds in a discrete container to munch on as an alternative of the sugary seducers. (Of course, consuming a hearty, plant-based meal at residence earlier than you exit to occasion can even make you much less possible to nibble on helpful however unhealthy treats if you are out.)

It additionally helps to do not forget that temptation is often place-specific, that’s, whereas the visible cue is true in entrance of you. I do know that if I transfer away from the website of temptation and actively do one thing else for 5 minutes, my thoughts lets the sugary deal with go so as to deal with the present dialog or activity in entrance of me. I do know that if I maintain strolling previous the bakery or the sweets desk at the occasion, the sights, smells, and temptations will fade away in a couple of minutes.

So, at the festivities, transfer to a special a part of the room, have a few of the meals or path combine you introduced with you, strike up a dialog with an attention-grabbing individual, and let your thoughts transfer on to one thing much less detrimental to your well being.

An particularly highly effective technique that labored for me not too long ago was to perceive the energy of dedication and abstinence. (I do know what you might be considering, “Uh-oh, here comes the dreary part.” But learn on; this seems to be a joyful, empowering technique.)

Having an Accountability Partner

close up of hands in a pinkie-promise

It started at the finish of a chat given by Rory Freedman, writer of Skinny Bitch. She stated, “If you can do without a seductive food for a month, you will seriously reduce, or eliminate altogether, your desire for that substance. So, turn to the person next to you, lock pinky fingers with him or her, and both of you vow to help the other overcome their next food stumbling block over the next month.”

The individual to my left was Ann Wheat, co-owner of the Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. And with out hesitation, we each locked pinkies and stated, “Let’s both stop eating sugar!”

From that time on, we have been “pinky buddies.” And at any time when I’d be tempted by a chocolate deal with or piece of vegan satan’s meals cake, I’d consider Ann’s smiling face and earnest effort and say, “No, I’m going to stay strong because I know I will be talking to Ann soon. And I don’t want to let her – or me – down.”

So, the month glided by with this straightforward dedication steeling me by way of every second of temptation. As the weeks sped by, my viewing of chocolate – and my want for it – considerably modified. I noticed it for the fatty chunk of congealed sugar that it’s. And I misplaced my want to eat it. Tastes definitely do change! So, one other approach to make your “sword” much more highly effective is to make it by way of a month with out consuming your “problem” meals, and see for those who don’t really feel much less pushed to eat it after that point.

Dust Yourself Off & Try Again

woman contemplating sugary treat

Finally, for those who do end up completely unable to resist tasting a given deal with, and also you do have a chunk or an entire cookie, don’t panic. Don’t regard your self as a failure. And above all, don’t say, “Well, I’ve blown it now, so I might as well eat every bad thing in sight.” Rather, make it a reinforcing studying expertise. Yes, you place it in your mouth and are consuming it. So, style it for what it’s – congealed sugar in your tongue. Then say, “Yep, that tastes like the chunk of sugar I knew it was, and I don’t want to eat any more of it.”

It is OK not to end the piece of cake or eat the whole gooey chocolate caramel. No penalty for that confirmatory chunk – simply absolutely style it, resolve you bought the style sensation you got here for, and that you just don’t want to eat any extra of it. Put it down, discover a more healthy Eat to Live (ETL) different (melon chunk, anybody?), and rejoice that your interior fortitude simply acquired stronger.

As you display this energy to your self again and again, you’ll discover your self to be like the mighty lion or lioness, who, as they stride by way of the forest, should not distracted by the frogs of temptation that croak at them from below the leaves.

To your good well being and happiness,

Dr. Michael Klaper

Editor’s Note: For some individuals, it takes greater than data, willpower, pinky guarantees, and all the finest intentions in the world, to break meals dependancy. If you or anybody you like is battling meals dependancy, you may additionally need to take a look at the work of fellow Food Revolution Summit speaker, Susan Peirce Thompson, PhD. You can take her “Are You Addicted To Food?” quiz, and find out about her good work, right here.

Tell us in the feedback:

  • Were you conscious that sugar ages you?
  • How do you keep away from sugar temptation & work to slay the sugary beast?
  • Do you’ve gotten an accountability associate or “pinky buddy” you can also make a dedication to?

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