12 Reasons to Stop Eating Sugar Forever

By Elizabeth Lang on 6 July 2015 1 comment

I love sugar. I consume plenty of healthy food each day, but my sweet tooth is my downfall and prevents me from being in better shape. And it turns out that sugar is even worse for you than the general news would have you believe. Here are the top 12 reasons to give up sugar (specifically refined or added sugar) forever.

1. Sugar Is Linked With Heart Disease

A 2012 medical article found that in a study involving over 40,000 people over a 22-year period, those who were among the highest quartile of sugary-beverage consumers were 20% more likely than those in the lowest quartile to suffer from heart disease.

2. Heart Disease Caused by Sugar Is More Likely to Kill You

Not only does eating excess sugar likely cause heart disease, the heart disease caused by sugar is more likely to cause your death. Over the course of this 15-year study, participants who took in 25% or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar. Those aren't great odds.

3. Sugar Changes Your Heart Physically

So we know that sugar is bad for your heart, but just how bad? A 2013 study published by the American Heart Association found that a particular molecule in sugar changes the protein around your heart and affects the pumping mechanism. This was a controlled study involving the hearts of rats, but subsequently the study's authors also examined failing human hearts and saw many of the same reactions.

4. Sugar Is Worse for Your Blood Pressure Than Salt

We often think of salt as the culprit when it comes to blood pressure. But a December 2014 study found that added sugar is worse for your hypertension than salt. They reviewed multiple studies involving sodium intake, as well as studies involving sugar, and determined that salt may actually have limited effects on your blood pressure, but sugar, in multiple studies, did increase blood pressure.

5. Sugar Destroys Your Teeth (But Not in the Way You Think)

Did you know that sugar isn't directly the cause of tooth decay? What actually destroys your teeth is acid — not sugar. But there is a link between the two. The sugar ends up causing the bacteria in your mouth to produce acid, which causes your teeth to decay.

6. Belly Fat Is Caused by Sugar

Excess fructose intake (not glucose) causes visceral fat cells to mature as found in a 2010 study. In a UK study involving children, scientists found that when children's fat cells are maturing, and glucose is present, more cells turn into fat cells in belly and visceral (below the skin) fat.

7. Sugar Decreases the Colon Cancer Survival Rate

The Oxford University Press published a study in 2010 that found that "higher dietary glycemic load and total carbohydrate intake were statistically significant associated with an increased risk of recurrence and mortality in stage III colon cancer patients. These findings support the role of energy balance factors in colon cancer progression and may offer potential opportunities to improve patient survival." In plain English: too much sugar is found to decrease the survival rate for those with colon cancer.

8. High Sugar Intake Decreases Breast Cancer Survival Rate

A study published in 2005 links increased carbohydrates and refined sugar with poorer survival rates after a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. This study examined those women with breast cancer, and found that women in remission have much lower blood glucose levels.

9. Sugar Is More Addictive Than Cocaine

In a study with rats, French scientists found that rats chose sugar over cocaine. What is most surprising is that even when the rat was already addicted to cocaine, it still was most likely to choose the sugar over the cocaine. So, it will be no small task to overcome a sugar addiction.

10. Sugar May Be Just as Toxic for Your Liver as Alcohol

In a study published in Nature in 2012, the authors argued that the dangers of sugar may justify putting public health warnings on certain sugary products. And, they cited evidence that refined sugar may be just as bad for your liver as alcohol.

11. Sugar Is a Toxin

Sugar is now sometimes even referred to as a "poison" because of how terrible it is for you (see the public health warning mentioned above). An incredibly popular lecture on YouTube is called "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" by Robert Lustig, and a similar article sifts through the evidence of referring to sugar as a poison in Scientific American.

12. Sugar Is Expensive

Beyond the financial costs of helping your body overcome any of the ailments above that plague you, sugar consumption is actually quite tough on your wallet. Assuming you eat an average of 130 pounds of sugar a year (which is the U.S. national average), if you only ate this in the form of white sugar you purchase at the grocery store, you would be spending around $200 a year. But most people consume the majority of their sugar in the form of soda and candy. If you consumed 130 pounds of sugar in cans of Coke, you would be consuming about 1340 cans of Coke, at an average price of 60 cents each; over $800 total. And Coke has a lot of sugar per can, so this is still relatively cheap.

Obviously you can't give up all forms of sugar, since fruits and vegetables also contain plenty of sugar (though research suggests that the molecular makeup of fruits and vegetables means that the sugar in these foods does not damage your body the way processed sugar does). But the list above ought to be enough reason to at least start trying to cut down your sugar intake.

How will you cut back on sugar?

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Guest's picture

Wow, this is brutal. I'm feeling pretty guilty drinking my Coke while reading this.

Guest's picture
Helping Guest

Sugar (glucose) is in everywhere. We can find it in rice, vegetables, fruits, and more. It gives us energy to start our day. So why I should stop taking sugar? This is irrelevant blog.