The Sweet Tooth Sagas

I’ve been trying to pull my sweet tooth for years.

It wasn’t always this way. I could eat whatever sweets I wanted, thought nothing of putting two tablespoons of sugar into each of several daily cups of coffee, had a reputation as the girl who found the best desserts.

It’s charming, isn’t it, when you see someone not too overweight (5 foot 7; 155 pounds) and attractive who can’t manage to stop eating sweets?

That’s what I thought.

But in my forties I began to wonder if my dedication to sugar was a more powerful addiction than any I’d had: nicotine, say, or caffeine.

Those two I’ve overcome. I know now that I can have the occasional cup of coffee or black tea without needing one every day for the rest of my life. I know that with nicotine, there is no safe amount.

But with sweets? Well, the tooth is still in my mouth, string tied around it, and that string is attached to the doorknob. But I haven’t slammed the door.

Doing the Denver chocolate theme brought it home to me. One day near the end of September, I came back from the grocery store and calmly sampled twelve chocolates in a row. I didn’t stuff them into my mouth, and I was able to taste the different flavors in each one. But still…twelve in a row? And I wanted more.

Joel Fuhrman, who wrote Eat to Live, says that when we have a sweet craving, our bodies are really craving fruit. Now I love fruit, but twelve different pieces of fruit in a row? Even kiwis? Or strawberries? I’m not sure I’d want to do that.

Even though I couldn’t manage to stick to that particular diet, I do believe that our bodies naturally crave fruit sugars. It’s just that my body has been programmed to crave processed sugars mixed with dairy products, and it doesn’t want to stop.

I’d love it if I could get to the point with chocolate that I’ve reached with caffeine. Where I could just have a little. Maybe even buy a chocolate bar and leave it in the cupboard for two whole days! I’m not there now.

With caffeine, it took me years to get to that point. I started drinking coffee with milk and sugar when I was a child and didn’t stop having at least one cup a day until I was thirty-nine. I often think that my sweet tooth came in while I was drinking that first cup of sugary, milky coffee with my mother.

How long will it take with chocolate? I’m not sure. I keep hoping someone will offer sage advice other than, Just eat a piece of fruit every time you have a sweet craving.

Or, go cold turkey.

I don’t want to say goodbye to sweets, even for a while. I just don’t want to slam that door.