Sugar – how quickly can we get hooked?
I had an interesting experience over the festive season: I helped someone with an employment law case (I used to be an HR Director) and they very kindly sent me the biggest box of chocolates ever as a thank you. (My love of chocolate is well known). This was a 1.4kg box from Hotel Chocolat and it had everything from 100% cocoa beans to white chocolate batons. This arrived early in December, so we started munching about Mid December. Then I had a dark Hotel Chocolat Christmas selection and a ‘classic’ (not just dark) Hotel Chocolat Christmas selection arrive just before Christmas and then quite a few more chocs were delivered by Father Christmas…
(The above photo is of a 1kg box of chocolates – the 1.4kg box has the batons and slabs!)
Once I’d eaten all the 85% dark batons and slabs, one does find oneself having a coffee ganache here and a hazelnut praline there – but these are mainly sugar, not mainly cocoa/cocoa butter/vanilla/cream/nuts/coffee and other natural ingredients that can make up real chocolate. The outcome was that, within about 10-14 days, I woke up in between Xmas and New Year and found myself with a slight, but distinct, craving for sugary chocolate. I was really shocked to see how quickly cravings could return. I went with it on the first day to see what happened and I had an even stronger desire for pralines etc the following day. That day I nipped it in the bud and had no more for several days. I did have the odd one here and there after that but I am happy that they are now all gone.
The moral of the experience? I reckon most of us could get ‘hooked’ on sugar again within a couple of weeks, no matter for how long we had been avoiding it. Learning 2 is not to let any cravings grow by the day (as the three conditions are ‘fed’ and can take hold again). The minute you feel yourself needing something, rather than just feeling you could take it or leave it – that’s the time to stop having the substance immediately, so that the cravings can’t take hold again.
John Yudkin likened sugar to Heroin in his book “Pure White & Deadly”. I don’t think he was far wrong.