We were interested to read recently about a trial conducted at the University of Minnesota looking at how easy, if possible at all, it was for a group of people to give up sugar in their coffee.

All the 127 participants (who didn’t have diabetes) were placed into three groups. These were randomly selected groups, each with a different aim.

One group was told to give up sweeteners and/or sugar for a fortnight, going ‘cold turkey’ with no coping strategy. Another group’s aim was to gradually decrease their sugar intake, whilst the final group received lessons on how to savour and enjoy their coffee.

This was the group that would fall into the category of ‘mindfulness’ – described as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware”. Most people in the modern world live in a busy, almost detached state, dashing from one task or thought to the next. Living in a mindful way is all about coming back down to earth, taking time to enjoy the moment, being aware of what you’re doing and thus more conscious and connected to the moment.


What Did Researchers Predict?

The expectation was that the middle group, the gradual quitters, would be the most successful. However, it was the ones who savoured and took time to enjoy their coffee who found giving up sugar the easiest.

The authors said “Participants in every category enjoyed significant decreases in consumption of sugar in their coffee that lasted six months, but the mindfulness group had the best outcomes by far”.

This was demonstrated by the fact the mindfulness group was still omitting sugar from their coffee once the trial had ended, with researchers reporting most of the group seemed determined to continue with the new approach.

One of the lead researchers, Richie Lenne, 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”.