How Sugar Affects Your Entire Body

It’s poured into coffee, baked into desserts and sprinkled on everything from breads and meats to fruits and vegetables. It seems like a staple of modern life – and is even used as a term of endearment for loved ones. But as it turns out, sugar can be lot more scary than sweet.

While it’s undeniable that sugar makes every food under the sun taste better, research is mounting that it actually wreaks havoc on your body. You may think that just a sprinkle is harmless, or may not realize the incredibly high amount of sugar that’s hiding in your favorite foods, but these beliefs can lead down a harmful path.

Sugar tastes delicious, but wreaks havoc on your body.

It’s possible there’s a nationwide sugar addiction going on. A little more than a century ago, the national average sugar consumption was 15 to 20 pounds per person a year, according to figures collected by the U.S. Commerce Department for the National Confectioners Association. But times have changed: Today, the average person eats his weight in sugar {where did this come from? is it the actual term they used? it seems really vague} along with more than 20 pounds of corn syrup. What’s more, globally people consume an average of 500 extra calories a day from sugar, noted the Huffington Post. So it sure does sound like the world has a sweet tooth.

As good as it tastes, sugar can cause a number of serious health problems.

Sugar turns off your self-control
One of the major tenets of effective weight loss is to learn to recognize when you’re full. It’s easy to go into auto-pilot  when eating something tasty, especially if you’re plopped in front of the couch watching your favorite soap, but learning to put the fork down is an important component of losing weight. However, sugar is a sneaky substance that works against you by slipping into your body and turning this “appetite switch” off.

Sugar is just empty calories – it doesn’t have any protein, fat or other compounds that signal to the body that it’s becoming full, the Huffington Post explained. This means that sugar doesn’t send signals that we’re sated and can step away from the plate, unlike other foods. This sneaky shut-off function spells bad news for your diet, since it becomes incredibly easy to consistently eat much more than you need to.

Sugar raises the risk of heart disease
Sugar may taste great in the moment, but it can cause major problems for your heart. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that eating too much sugar raises your risk of dying from heart disease.

"Eating too much sugar raises your risk of dying from heart disease."

The study found that individuals who received at least 25 percent of their daily calories from sugar were twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to those who consumed less than 10 percent of their daily calories from sugar.

Sugar hurts the liver 
To prepare for digestion, sugar is broken down by the body into two types of simple sugars: glucose and fructose. While glucose is naturally produced by the body, fructose is not, and as Authority Nutrition noted, there's no physiological need for this type of simple sugar. One of the many problems associated with fructose is that the liver has difficulty metabolizing it. The site explained that when the liver is full of glycogen - which is usually the case for most people - it turns fructose into fat, which could eventually cause the development of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

These are just a few of the harmful effects of sugar, so it's worth considering how you can reduce your intake of the sweet stuff. Read Part 2 of our Not-So-Sweet series to learn which of your favorite foods are hiding a high sugar content.

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