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The best way to quit sugar in your coffee
The alarm pings you out of bed, you take care of the biological necessities and then head for the kitchen, to grab your first cup of coffee.
Mmmmmm…this is the first of what will be 3 or 4 cups.
You’re not addicted.
But, you LIKE YOUR COFFEE !
I like my coffee with sugar
You currently have it with a generous dash of milk and two heaped teaspoons of sugar. Sometimes you have it with an artificial sweetener.
You wish you had neither.
Since 1 tablespoon of sugar, holds the equivalent of 48 calories, your coffee habit, adds up. And artificial sweeteners ? Are they really safe ? Click here to learn more.
Maybe you should give up coffee ?
Don’t be ridiculous !
Coffee is good for you
There is plenty of science suggesting coffee drinking, protects your health. Even with your 2 teaspoon sugar habit, the amount of sugar you’re consuming is significantly less than what shows up in a glass of coke or orange juice.
Maybe you should give up using a sweetener all together ? Plenty of people drink their coffee straight and they seem to enjoy it.
Let’s do this………but how ?
This is what a group of researchers in the psychology department of the University of Minnesota, set out to discover. Their mission, to find the best way to SUCCESSFULLY quit the sweetener in your coffee, habit.
Using flyers, they gathered a collection of people, ready to contemplate quitting.
254 people expressed interest !
Brave souls ? Maybe, but they did get renumerated for their sacrifice. I might agree to forgo the sugar in my coffee for two weeks, for $40.
Ultimately, 127 people participated in the study….
The brave souls
They were an eclectic mix. They were randomly assigned to one of three quitting sugar plans.
Plan A – a gradual tapering of the “dose”.
The team had the elves working in the lab, create customized packets of sugar. The sugar level was dropped by 1/6, every two days. Participants received their date labelled packets and were sent on their way.
This is the way I would do it, if I had an elf on the shelf.
Plan B – delighting in coffee
This was the technique, our team was routing for – remember they were psychologists.
The thinking behind this strategy, was if you “stop and smell the flowers”, coffee without sugar, will taste, just as good as coffee, with sugar. To “see the good” in every cup of coffee, the team hired a professional barista, to give the participants in the group, coffee tasting training.
They learned how
- to hold the cup and notice the warmth
- see the steam rise from the cup
- smell the aroma and notice how this made them feel
- place it against their mouth, to take a sip – notice how the coffee moves across the palate
- take small sips – notice the sensations and texture
- reflect on the experience
- and how to savour that sip and the next.
Plan C – cold turkey
They just stopped. Eish ! What a tortuous strategy.
The experience of sugar less coffee
Now to keep tabs on how it was going, the participants logged into a portal, to report their experiences. The enjoyment of the first cup of coffee consumed each day, during the 14 day intervention period, was rated immediately after consumption.
No surprises here….
Coffee without sugar, tastes awful, whether you’re being mindful (blue line) or mindless (green line).
But you get over it, after a few days.
And, if you’re deliberately working on, experiencing the COFFEE CHARM, sugar less coffee, becomes more charming, sooner. But imagination does nothing to buffer the shock to your taste buds, initially.
Weaning yourself off sugar doesn’t work
Ironically, slowly reducing the sugar, does not protect the experience at all, it just shifts it.
NOTE : For the vast majority of the people, in gradually reducing the sugar, the sugarless experience, kicked in at the start of week 2.
Lessons from the sugar less coffee experience
The take home from this………
You will be miserable for about a week.
If you can hold out, things will improve and you will be able to enjoy your coffee, without sugar.
i.e. it can be done
And going slow, does not offer any real advantage… particularly LONG TERM.
Sugar less coffee FOR LIFE
Our team, checked back with the “quitters” after the intervention, to establish who among them, had been successful, long term. The graph shows the percentage of cups of coffee, that were consumed sugar-free. All responses are plotted, that is why there are a gazillion dots, each dot represents one of the volunteers. Mean and standard error are depicted at each time point.
It’s clear, that there was an improvement across the board. On the plus side, there were some super star successes. The downside, there were some complete fails. Oh dear !
Quitting sugar is clearly NOT EASY.
On average, all the people who made the attempt, were consuming less sugar.
The benefit of less sugar
Our team did the maths….
Calories in, had dropped.
Taking into account, the number of cups of coffee consumed per day, the amount of sugar they used per day, before and after the intervention, the number of calories participants “saved” each day was
- 53 for the mindfulness group
- 36 for the cold turkey group
- 21 for the gradual reduction
The best strategy
Tough love works best………..
Just stop !
To make the transition, a little easier, it pays to encourage your tongue to see the big picture, by noticing the other sensory aspects of your “cup of Jo”. But, don’t placate it, by taking it slow and gradually decreasing the sugar content. You end up going nowhere, slowly.
Make the investment
A week or so of unpleasant, can save you pounds of trouble and help you create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY and better health in the long run.
Elves, like human children are small containers. Pouring a cup of coffee or a can of coke, into a small container magnifies the effect, leaving BIG results
The use of caffeine is self-regulating – when you start to swing from the ceiling, you’ve had one cup too many, so STOP !
Sophisticated coffee drinkers, have it black – NO sugar, NO milk. They’ve learned to appreciate coffee’s bitter flavor, do the same with green veg