breaking up is hard to do – saying goodbye to sugar

Five little words.

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Chances are, you’ve said it, or been on the receiving end of this catchy little bullshit break-up excuse. It’s supposed to make someone feel better and ease the pain of the ending of the relationship. But nobody buys it for a nanosecond that this is the real deal. It’s just become an accepted way of dissing somebody without being accused of being obnoxiously rude.

My relationship with sugar has worn out its welcome. Sure, we had some good times, you and me. I’ll never forget the cream cheese brownies and toll house cookies from my childhood. I’ll remember the holidays and birthdays we celebrated with angel food squares from HoKamps Bakery in San Francisco or making the family Choo-Choo cake with chocolate wafers and whipped cream. It was a good run.

Or the semester I spent studying abroad in Florence. You were right by my side as I experienced Italian cuisine at every opportunity from gelato and chocolate candy and pastries. You didn’t judge me when I ate my way through 2 pairs of pants backpacking through Europe afterwards: Nutella Crepes in France, Flan in Spain, English Scones with butter and jam and Twix bars on train rides.

I’ve tried to quit you before. People told me you were no good for me and you were a bad influence on me. But I chose to ignore them and continued my love affair with you. But I was less obvious about it and tried to keep our relationship hidden. Remember those middle of the night trips to the kitchen to pilfer candy from the kids Halloween bags?

J: “Hey, what happened to my Halloween candy? Did someone eat it?”

Me: “No! I don’t think so.” 

I’m not proud of those moments. You made me lie to my innocent kids. I looked them in the eye with a straight face and denied knowing anything about what happened to the cookie dough. Or the milkshake they were saving in the refrigerator. Or the peanut butter.


But the thing is, I can’t afford to be cavalier about your bad influence on me. Foods packed with sugar appear to increase serum insulin and serum IGF-I levels, which appear to stimulate cancer cell growth.

But wait, there’s more: (Courtesy of UCSF’s Report on Nutrition and Breast Cancer)

  • The consumption of sweet foods with a high glycemic index  and glycemic load have been implicated as a risk factor for breast cancer due to their effects on insulin and IGF-I.
  • Women who consumed the greatest intake of desserts and sugars had a 19% increased risk of breast cancer compared with women who consumed the least desserts and sugars.

So instead of making a drastic decision to sever all ties, and cut all communication, how about we settle on decreasing the intensity of our relationship? I’d like to be free to date others – like cruciferous vegetables, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and foods packed with fiber if I want to – and have you not get jealous. I need you to understand that I need to take a break and slow things down between us.

I’m not saying goodbye forever. I’m just saying farewell(ish). For now.

Oh, and if I’m being really honest: “It’s not me. It’s you.” But you knew that already didn’t you?



ps. Say hello to cute spring booties.

4 Responses

  1. I love sugar so much. But more than that I like to be able to not worry about what I eat. But I also like to feel good. When I break from sugar the cravings really do go away after a while. And it’s amazing what you can do with agave and coconut sugar and maple syrup. You sound clear in your intentions with your breakup. There’s something better out there for you. Congratulations.

  2. Or the waffle stand outside the train station in Amsterdam? Sorry it had to end but good for you and so many other delicious things out there! Xo

  3. You’ve addressed a very important topic in your usual clever and unique style. I just heard this morning that there is a huge link between sugar and heart disease, dimentia- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases . We all are learning so much from you!!! LOVE YOU oodles and oodles!!!

Leave a Reply