You've probably already heard that sugar is bad for you. But did you know that 74% of products in the US food supply contain added sugars? It's not just in the cookies or soda that we indulge ourselves with. It's in dressing, pasta sauce, and much more. So what exactly is so bad about sugar? 

Sugar Is Addictive

According to this article, sugar is as bad, if not worse, than addictive drugs like cocaine. In studies done with animals, key elements of addiction such as bingeing, craving, and withdrawal were observed in response to sugar intake. 

Fructose: The Real Enemy

Most forms of added sugar contain fructose, a simple sugar commonly found in fruits. Fructose, unlike glucose (which is a primary source of energy for your body), is not necessary for proper bodily functions and so it is treated as a foreign substance.

As compared to glucose, where only 20% reaches the liver100% of fructose goes to the liver to be broken down. Fructose overloads your liver cells and eventually is converted into VLDL, which leads to an increased risk of heart disease. It also produces fat, which damages liver function, and free radicals, which damages cells and enzymes in the body. It also is released as free fatty acids which may lead to insulin resistance in the muscle. Not all of it can get out of the liver and fat accumulates in the liver, which can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fructose also leads to an increase in blood pressure.

So Why Aren't Fruits Bad For You?

Fruits contain fiber which slows down the processing of sugar in your liver to a rate that is tolerable. Fiber also fills you up, which may decrease your intake of sugar. 


So should we be cutting out sugar completely? No. While it is clearly evident that consumption of too much sugar can have negative effects, a little won't hurt us. But it is important to note how much sugar we are consuming-- the amount might surprise you.

The average American consumes 66 pounds of sugar every year, or 19.5 teaspoons every day. Yikes. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women should be consuming no more than 6 teaspoons a day and men no more than 9 teaspoons

There are some easy ways to reduce your sugar intake. One would be to drink water instead of sugary beverages, like soda. Also, try to eat fresh food as opposed to processed foods, which often contain hidden added sugars. 

#Spoontip: Start reading labels! See how much sugar is in the processed foods you are eating-- even the savory ones.