I figure if you can't give something up that's making you sick, it's not making you sick enough. Do I miss drinking cokes? Sometimes. Especially when Stuart brings them home and they sit right there in my refrigerator, staring at me. But I've been off them so long now, that even when I have a caffeine free one, it doesn't taste as good as I think it should. And because I don't like having burning diarrhea all day, I can go without. If it makes you sick enough, you'll quit eating it, and when you do eat it, it will be with planning aforethought--"If I eat this, I'll be sick tomorrow, but I have no where to go, so I can afford to stay home sick." Sometimes you just want something so bad you have to have it, but I have found that once you get off junk foods, sugar and junk fats, they no longer taste very good. At least not as good as you remember. It makes it easier to decline the next time.
It's all a matter of readjusting yourself. If you go cold turkey, you usually wind up failing. Me, I just had some honey-roasted almonds. Yes, they have sugar. But I only had a few and they have regular sugar, not corn syrup on them. Soon I'll be down to just plain nuts. I've already cut a lot of sugar from my breakfast and I've given up my green tea (which I have to have some sugar in) and have gone back to just plain water. By avoiding the pizzas, spaghetti and canned ravoili I used to eat, I have already begun cutting out some sugars. Will I ever end up completely sugar free? No. I'll still want sweets sometimes, but I plan on having them on special occasions and having very little when I do.
Here's an interesting theory I have: The proponets of the French Diet say that obesity levels in America started to sharply climb in the early 80's, which happens to co-incide with the introduction of fat-free products. The French Diet people say (and this is scientifically proven) that fat makes you feel full and that fat free products lead you to eat too much in order to get that same full feeling.
While surfing today, I found that the anti-high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) people say that obesity levels in America started to sharply climb in the early 80's, which happens to co-incide with the introduction of HFCS in the majority of American products, including colas. The anti-HFCS people say (and there is some scientific proof to this) that fructose keeps you from feeling full, unlike glucose (which is in starches), so you tend to consume more food even as you consume those empty calories.
Now, at first glance this would seem to be yet another case of the nutrition world contradicting itself (remember when eggs were evil?). However, I started thinking about it, and the two cases are not mutually exclusive. Low-fat foods have long been criticized by nutritionists as containing too much sugar; see, they replace the fat with sugar in order to keep it tasting good. Are low-fat foods with HFCS in them a double-whammy? Are you not only eating something that doesn't have enough fat to make you full, but it also has empty calories from too much sugar which also keeps you from feeling full? Of course, there are the people who credit the rise in obesity with a rise in fast food consumption. Many of those foods, however, contain HFCS. And they are made with partially hydrogenated crap which doesn't act the same in your system as normal fat.
The reason behind partially hydrogented fats/oils and HFCS? Shelf-life. There's a reason why ho-ho's are laughed at for having a shelf life of years. Butter and oil gets rancid after a time, or at the very least it will seperate out from whatever it was put in. But mix it in with a bubbling hydrogen mixture and it suddenly has the staying power of plastic. Likewise regular sugar can harden, separate or otherwise change its composition and/or go rancid. HFCS, however, does not go bad. Case in point: I buy fresh bread at the grocery store. It lasts a couple of days before it gets hard. A few more days and it's molded. I can get a week out of it if I put it in the fridge, but it still gets a bit hard. Almost certainly has no HFCS in it because that's what keeps bread soft for a longer period of time. Compare that to the Nature's Own high-fiber low calorie bread I bought. It stayed in my pantry for about a month and a half before I finally threw it away. It wasn't moldy and wasn't so hard it wouldn't toast up okay; I just got afraid to eat something that never went bad. That's not natural. And that's part of the reason why food got so much cheaper: it keeps longer. If you're not chalking up losses due to food going bad before it's sold, you can afford to lower your prices.
You mention that people are their own worst enemy. I agree. It's hard to resist temptation when it's staring you right in the face. Like me and the cokes that appear in my fridge. Could I lessen my sugar intake if Stuart was bringing cookies and junk food into the pantry all of the time? When I was bringing that stuff in, he was eating some of it, despite his being diabetic and knowing he shouldn't have it. When I don't bring it home, he doesn't bring it home either (except for those sugar-free things that are full of sugar alcohols which are nearly deadly for me--they make me sick enough that I never touch them). Imagine if in the grocery store the aisle of dessert items dropped away and all that was left was a few pieces of stick candy that you buy individually. What if the boxes and boxes of crackers were replaced with a few brands that contain nothing but bread and regular oil (no sugar, no partially hydrogenated things). Imagine a grocery store of the 40's or 50's. If temptation was removed, would people die from lack of sugar or hydrogenated oils? Even if all of that junk food was moved to a store all its own, would people who recognize that stuff is bad for them and makes them sick go to that sugar store, or will they stick to the regular grocery? Me, I stay out of candy stores because I know better; going in just makes me want some. I think that if junk food was removed to a separate place (like most hard liquors are kept in stores separate from the grocery/ gas station), people would find it much easier to stay away, and at the very least, they wouldn't get it as often. Americans are just too lazy to make multiple stops too terribly often.