Using mindfulness can help wean people off adding sugar to coffee and other hot drinks, researchers have said.
A US study team says mindfulness training helped people to enjoy the flavour of coffee more and gradually give up sugar, which is recommended to avoid health complications such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Scientists at the University of Minnesota conducted a trial involving 127 people, none of whom had diabetes, who were randomly assigned to three different groups. One group gradually decreased the sugar they added to their coffee, the second received lessons on enjoying coffee, and the third were given the aim to give up sugar and sweeteners ‘cold turkey’ for two weeks without a prescribed strategy.
The researchers had predicted the group who gradually gave up their sugar would have been more successful, but the findings suggested otherwise. Those who learnt how to savour their coffee were able to give up having sugar in hot drinks more easily.
“Participants in all conditions had significant increases in consumption of sugar-free coffee that lasted six months, (but) the mindfulness group had a larger increase than the others,” said the authors.
After the trial the mindfulness group were still omitting sugar from their coffee and the researchers said most of that group seemed determined to continue with the new approach.
Speaking to news agency Reuters, one of the lead researchers, Richie Lenne who is a PhD student in social psychology at the university, said: “Initiating change is relatively easy, but maintaining that change is nearly impossible. We fully expected most of our participants would revert back to sugar-laden coffee, yet the mindfulness group persisted in drinking coffee sugar-free.
“Helping people reduce their sugar intake is an important goal for promoting health. Reducing sugar in coffee is a healthy change that is feasible and can be sustained without sacrificing the pleasure of one’s daily cup.”
It is pleasing to see that the research team’s perception that giving up sugar would be nearly impossible was proved wrong. It is very much possible to cut sugar out of daily life.
For help with lowering your sugar intake join the Low Carb Program, which has helped over 200,000 people take control of their health through easy-to-digest guidance.
The findings of the study have been published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

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