For the love of sugar
You asked: Why is giving up sugar such a struggle?!
Girl, you are not alone--I'm fairly certain my heaven looks something like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. But let's get something straight: sugar = carbohydrate = something your body needs to function. Remember the low-fat craze of the 80s and 90s? When fat was the devil, sugar was largely used to replace the flavor lost by removing fat. The problem isn't sugar itself. The real problem is that sugar can be found in nearly everything.
There are the obvious sugar laden things like candy bars, soda, cookies, and cakes that many overindulge in. And although we may have too many of these sugary treats, we aren't eating only soda and pixie sticks all day long (but if you do, put the ho-ho's down and call me right now). The real culprit here is the unexpected sugar that is lurking in your tomato sauce, salad dressing, flavored yogurt, granola, peanut butter... This stuff is added to all sorts of every day foods. Even worse, products that seem "healthy" can also pack in unbelievable amounts of sugar:
cereal, juice, dried fruit, sports drinks, workout bars
And don't be fooled by the health halo of agave, raw sugar, or other "healthy" sugars; your body has to turn it all into one simple form for energy. This is why the natural sugars found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains are preferable: since your body has to breakdown food to a usable form of energy, the fiber in these foods make your body work a little harder. Same goes for the natural sugar in plain dairy: it's paired with protein lending to slower digestion of the sugar.
See where the sneaky guy is hiding in your everyday diet by looking at the ingredients. If sugar (or one of the many names used for sugar) is one of the first three ingredients, pass.
And remember, foods are made up of only three macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins. Fat was once our nemesis but now it's carbohydrates. I wouldn't be surprised if protein is the next problem child given our overconsumption of it. But science has never told us to cut out an entire food group. The truth is that corporations profit most from the villification of an entire macronutrient, food group, or part of a food (ie. low-carb, paleo, gluten-free). It provides an opportunity to create new products. Marketers are running out of 25g or 6 teaspoons for women