Sugar consumption has risen to an all time high. The average American eats somewhere around 20 teaspoons of sugar every day. However, some people are consuming much more. Some Starbucks may have as much as 25 teaspoons of sugar in one drink, according to Action on Sugar, a British campaign group.
There was a time not that long ago when sugar was mostly in desserts. Now, it’s showing up in everyday foods like peanut butter, marinara sauce, and yogurt. You may have heard that sugar wrecks your teeth, packs on the pounds, and can contribute to diabetes. But you may not know about other problems that are linked to a sweet tooth.
Sugar is as Addictive as Cocaine
A Connecticut College professor of psychology found Oreo cookies to be as addictive as cocaine. And just like people, the rats ate the middle of the cookie first.
In the ice cream study researchers concluded that cravings for ice cream were “similar to a drug addict's cravings for drugs. They found that when participants ate ice cream the brain wanted more, just like that of a regular cocaine user. Their study, published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, added weight to other studies showing that people can become addicted to sweets just like to drugs.”
Sugar Makes You Age Faster
Want the fast track to wrinkles? Eat sugar. Sugar is a major cause of glycation—a process wherein sugar binds to protein or fat and forms advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs contribute to inflammation and are connected with type 2 diabetes, signs of aging, and a variety of diseases.
Sugar is one of the major factors that increase production of AGEs inside your body. Along with oxidation, AGEs are a major contributor to looking older as well as developing diseases. High blood sugar levels dramatically increase AGEs. This is one reason why some people with type 2 diabetics may look older than their real age. Limiting or omitting sugar is a key to longevity and a younger you.
Sugar is Actually Worse for Your Heart Than Fat or Salt
Fat and salt have been trumped by sugar as being most implicated in heart disease. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute, reviewed dozens of studies and concluded that sugar is more dangerous than salt when it comes to cardiovascular risk.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported that “people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are more likely to have a buildup of cholesterol-filled plaque in their arteries, to develop cardiovascular disease, and to die from it.” Sugar can cause fat to accumulate in your liver. It’s known as lipogenesis—a process whereby sugar causes little fat droplets to collect in your largest internal organ of elimination.
In 2010 the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that showed “people who ate the most sugar had the lowest HDL (good cholesterol) and the highest blood triglyceride levels.”
With all these studies and overwhelming evidence that sugar causes major problems, are you convinced it’s time to ditch the sweets? It’s not that hard. With a little effort, wise shopping, reading labels, and making yummy treats with natural sweeteners like stevia and coconut sugar, you can get the white villain out of your life for good.