Did you know that sugar and caffeine are just as much an addiction as alcohol and drunks? Quitting sugar and caffeine are less traumatic than some other addictions but certainly not a pleasant experience. I’ve provided some tips on how to break your habit.Many of us drink a cup of coffee or six every morning to wake up. We may also drink two, or three, or half a dozen, cans of cola during the day. And a cookie or a bowl of ice cream after dinner. And maybe…
Does this sound familiar?
When you think of addictions you probably think of alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. But sugar and caffeine can be habit-forming in their own rights, although to not as strong a degree and not in such a strong physical way. The effects of sugar and caffeine dependence are primarily psychological. If you know someone who is in these situations, we encourage you to visit, addiction help for first responders.
That doesn’t mean there are no physical effects, or that quitting sugar and caffeine is a totally pleasant experience. It’s just less traumatic than some other addictions.
How do you know if you’re addicted?
I’m no doctor, nor do play one on TV, but there are some acknowledged guidelines. Do you drink more than two sodas a day, or more than two cups of coffee? Do you know how much sugar you consume in a day? Do you ever, or have you ever, stood at the counter with your bowl of cereal in one hand and the sugar bowl in the other and just dumped sugar on your cereal without measuring it?
If you feel bad when you don’t have your caffeine or sugar, you’re probably hooked. If you start physically craving sugar after a day or so without it, or if you get headaches when you forego caffeine, you’re hooked.
It’s okay. A lot of people in our society are hooked on these two substances. We drink a lot of coffee, and usually something “jazzy” like a mocha or a latté. We drink a lot of cola. We eat a lot of chocolate. And once you’ve gotten over being dependent, you probably will find that you can limit your intake of these substances and enjoy them in moderation.
But right now, moderation is probably out of the question for you, because your system is so used to having all the sugar and caffeine it wants, that it starts screaming if you try to just quit, and even if you cut way back all at once.
Why might you relinquish your caffeine and sugar dependency? Because you are not in control of your life if you have to have a certain amount of caffeine and/or sugar each day to feel good. And who wants to live an out-of-control life?
As I said, you don’t want to quit cold-turkey. One technique I’ve heard for going off of caffeine is also effective with sugar, and takes less than ten days to get completely off the substance. I do suggest that you only do one thing at a time – caffeine or sugar. It’s just easier to only have one thing to deal with at a time.
To get off caffeine, or sugar, first determine about how much you’re taking in each day. Just a good estimate is fine. Then, on your first day of cutting down, reduce your intake by 20%. This will not be enough to cause headaches, if you are cutting back on caffeine, and any caffeine or sugar cravings should be manageable. Do this for three days, then cut back another 20%. Hold that for two days, then another 20%. At this point it’s been five days, and you’ve dropped 60% of your caffeine or sugar. Go another two days, 20% more. One week, and you’re 80% done! Go two more days and drop it all. Try to stay completely off of the substance for at least two weeks before trying it again in moderation.
To break your caffeine or sugar addiction now:
- Keep a journal today of what you consume
- Tomorrow, cut back by 20%
- Keep a journal tomorrow to make sure you’re cutting back