It’s not you. You’re wired that way.

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“I have no willpower.”

“I’m my own worst enemy.”

“I was so good all day, & then I gave in.”

“If it’s me versus the cookie, the cookie always wins.”

When it comes to conversations about sugar, these are the kind of statements I hear all the time. Our relationship to the sweet stuff is problematic, to say the least. It’s a battle, and often a losing one.

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’m a big believer in listening to the body’s intuition and messages. The body knows, and so often we’re just not listening to it or we don’t know how to interpret what it’s asking for.

wired that way |

One big exception to this rule is with sugar. Our relationship to sugar is anything but blasé. Rarely is it a “take it or leave it” kind of thing. More often it’s a ravenous “OH MY GOD I NEED THAT COOKIE AND I NEED IT NOW!!!”

How can our bodies crave something so powerfully that is SO harmful to us? What kind of body betrayal is this?

Well, if you look at our biology and how our bodies are designed to operate given the environment we have lived in for millions of years, a strong urge and preference for the sweet stuff actually makes perfect sense.

Historically, we experienced famine. Sometimes food was plentiful, sometimes it was scarce. That was the norm.

We crave sweet foods because they are fattening – a beautiful survival mechanism in a time where you never knew where your next meal would come from.

Eating sweet and storing fat helped us get through the lean times.

Our bodies’ mechanism is the same, but of course there is no such thing as famine or food shortage anymore. It’s a rare person who truly knows what it feels like to be hungry. And of course, not only is there an overabundance of food, most of the “food” (if you can call it that) on offer is highly processed with added sugar that is specifically designed to increase cravings and inspire binging.

Historically, the sugar we would have consumed would be in whole form with all the fiber and nutrients that went with it – whole fruit, whole sugar cane, raw honey. Its availability was extremely limited and usually seasonal. We ate it in abundance when it was there, upping our fat stores in preparation for the shortage that was right around the corner.

love of sugar

In short: your body is not betraying you. It simply hasn’t adjusted to the new food landscape.

The good news is that you don’t have to live in the clutches of sugar.

Not too long ago I couldn’t fathom a day without chocolate, let alone a day where I didn’t even think about chocolate. And now that is my normal. A day where I am craving sweets is happily a rarity and a cue that there’s something going on emotionally that I want to run away from (and that’s a whole other topic…).

If you’d like to change your relationship to the sweet stuff and loosen the grip it has on you, join us for the next Sugar Control Detox. Registration is now open! Join us and say goodbye to those overwhelming sugar cravings.


  1. I should add a PS to this post that I recognize that sadly many DO experience real hunger in our world today. When I say “it’s a rare person who truly knows what it feels like to be hungry”, I’m referring to those of us in dialogue on this blog. That we can even having the conversation about what to eat in this fashion is a privilege… That doesn’t escape me at all.

  2. Leslie


    Love this discussion Margaret. It seems that the whole sugar conversation is pretty complex and I love knowing that it doesn’t just boil down to will power (and my lack of it at times). So interesting to think about the wiring and conditioning from a time when our bodies truly needed the sugar to survive the times. Thank goodness we are fortunate enough to have so many more options and resources now.

  3. Isabella


    This is truly a logical reason you give and a great topic of discussion. Up until reading this, I was recently convinced that my life-time sugar cravings were due to the abundance of processed foods I’ve consumed since birth hich almost always have sugar in them! I used to equate sugar cravings as “my weakness”, just as you mentioned.

    Most of my life I used to think that “chocolate” was my biggest weakness, instead, it turned out it was sugar! So whatever sweet food I consumed equated to storing fat!

    Since following your Sugar Detox guidelines, I have done a 180 on this former life-long habit! My body continues to recalibrate as I incorporate a super healthy diet where I mostly cook and prep my own meals, and when I’m out eating I am much more choosy about what I eat. Sugar Detoxing makes sense and several of my ailments are dissappearing because of implementing this new nutritious life-style.

  4. Bill


    Great post. This is a very important conversation our society needs to be having. Certainly we need to break the habit of overconsumption of sweets (and switching to artificial sweetners doesn’t seem to be a solution, as they are appetite stimulants and come with health problems of their own). It seems to me that changing our meals is a good way to support our self-control. So eggs for breakfast rather than a sugary breakfast cereal. Water with lunch rather than a sweetened drink, etc.

    The food scientists who create processed foods are carefully calculating the type of amount of sweetness needed to addict us and stimuate overeating. They’re like pushers, imho.

  5. Susie


    For most people resisting the urges and pull of sugar is a daily struggle. I was the same, but my family has a history of diabetes, so I’ve made a conscious effort to cut down.

    There are days when I give in to sugar. But I don’t beat myself up about, it just happens and I try to keep living a sugar free life as best I can.

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