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.

Leave A Comment

  1. steph September 30, 2008 at 10:14 am - Reply

    12 pieces!! Did you feel okay after that? Sugar is brutal to me. It is very addictive but if i eat more than one or two pieces of chocolate, I crash really badly and don’t feel well.

    I’d say work your way down. Next time eat only 7 or 5 and whittle it down until you’re okay with one. Or try dark chocolate. I find I don’t eat as much when it’s dark.

    I find if I don’t eat sugar, I don’t crave it. Even not having it say two days in a row can curb my need for it.

    Something else to consider: your candida levels may be way up with all the sugar, which is what causes the cravings. To get those back in control, try cutting down on other carbs (wheat and sugars) and take probiotics and anti-fungals, too.

  2. Beth Partin September 30, 2008 at 11:06 am - Reply


    What is candida? I’m not familiar with that term.

    I generally avoid sugars in foods, such as added sugar in applesauce or tomato sauce. I try to buy foods that have as few ingredients as possible.

    My real weaknesses are buttery, creamy foods and sweets. Other than that, I eat pretty well.

    I didn’t really crash after eating those chocolates. Maybe my body is used to it; I don’t know.

    I haven’t ever gotten to a point at which I didn’t crave sugar. I have managed to go for about a week without any sugar that I knew of, but I still was having cravings.

  3. BernardL October 1, 2008 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    My younger brother and I would make a small pitcher of hot tea with lots of sugar and milk before school. We would then toast up half a loaf of bread and dunk it, then slurp up the crummy remains. I guess that would qualify as a sugar starter. 🙂

  4. Beth Partin October 1, 2008 at 7:30 pm - Reply


    that reminds of making things like potato-chip-and-ketchup soup, which I did when I was a kid. Or maybe some kind of bread pudding.

    I have a feeling we ate a lot of the same foods as children.