April 05, 2009 · Comments (54)
I have yet to meet someone who struggles with sugar that hasn’t got a trigger food. A trigger food is something that “triggers” your desire to eat uncontrollably. It’s a sweet that makes you want to binge. When you have a little, you want to eat nothing but that food until you can’t possibly consume another bite. Often people will eat so much of their trigger food that they’ll become sick and wonder why they ate so much.
Of the sugar-addicted people I’ve spoken with, the most common and universal trigger food is chocolate. Chocolate can be found everywhere and there’s a reason for it. Eating chocolate has been said to make you feel happy and experience the same feeling as being in love. People who love chocolate jokingly label themselves “chocoholics.” Are you a chocoholic? It is common that chocolate trigger foods come in a variety of shapes and sizes. For me it was chocolate chips, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate candy bars, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, etc.
Some people’s trigger food is soda pop. On the Internet I found statistics saying that the average American drinks more than 53 gallons of carbonated soft drinks annually. Imagine having 53 gallons of soda in your house and it’s all you can drink for the next year. For some people that’s heaven. For some people it’s reality. I say it’s gross! Diet soda is even worse. People drink it thinking they are avoiding the sugar. Well that may be true, you’re not drinking sugar but instead you are drinking chemical sweeteners that have been linked to health problems.
Coffee is most certainly a trigger food. It’s often had with added sugar to sweeten the taste. Some people buy and drink several cups of coffee daily. If you purchase coffee from a specialty shop, you’re getting the caffeine high plus the sugar high. Flavored coffees have all kinds of sweet additives and chances are you’re getting some High Fructose Corn Syrup in there. It’s not called an “adult drink” for nothing. Who would give their kids a cup of coffee every morning? Nobody I know. But people will pour it into their own bodies at alarming rates.
Some smokers say that a meal isn’t complete without a cigarette afterwards. I knew someone who would have a cup of coffee and a cigarette for breakfast every morning—no food! Is that you? Did you know that sugar is a key ingredient in cigarettes? Who would think smoking was so sweet? Funny thing—when you get off sugar for some time, sweets look and taste gross. It’s very similar to when smokers quit smoking and they get grossed out by the smell of smoke.
Marketed as healthy alternatives to other forms of candy, these products are readily available in gyms, fitness centers, bike stores, department stores, convenience stores, and are often given out for free when you participate in a community race or bike ride. What you’re getting is a form of sweetened candy disguised at something healthy. With all that sugar, of course you get a burst of “aliveness” but it fades fast leaving you grabbing for more.
It’s rare that you will have just one trigger food. So how do you know if your favorite treat is a trigger food? If you are honest with yourself you probably already know. But if for some reason you’re not sure, try going without it for a month. If the very thought of doing that makes you cringe, you’ve probably already identified one of your sweet trigger foods!