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You’ll Stop Eating Sugar After Reading This Post

Full disclosure: Our family loves sugar. We sprinkle it in our coffee, you can find it in the cereal we eat, and my kids have been known to sneak candy every now and again (understatement of the year). When you take a close look, it almost seems like everything has sugar in it! Did you know two cups of some store-bought spaghetti sauce contains as much sugar as a poptart?

I recently watched Fed Up, a new documentary produced and narrated by Katie Couric, which digs deep into the obesity epidemic, and discovers a surprising culprit — sugar, not fat, is making us fat. This made me think: Should we really be using so much sugar in our home? And is sugar hidden in everything? Sparked by the reporting about sugar in the documentary, I set out to do my own research across the wide world of the internet, and found dozens of similar studies that shed light on the dangerous effects of sugar. Share this with your husband, share this with your kids (do they really need so many gummy bears?) — these 25 tidbits of information that I discovered about sugar were enough to motivate me and my family to cut back. Do you feel the same way?

  • 25 Things You Should Know About Sugar 1 of 26
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    Don't want to be the weird mom that won't let her kid have cupcakes? Me either. But these 25 truths I found about sugar may change your mind.

  • 1. Sugar is Addictive 2 of 26
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    In one of the more startling studies I came across, a 2007 study by James Cook University, researchers discovered cocaine-addicted mice actually preferred sugar-water as a reward over cocaine. This intense euphoria from sugar consumption can be a powerful driving factor in us reaching for it often and obsessively.

  • 2. Sugar Makes You Fat 3 of 26
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    We once thought fat made us fat. Turns out, sugar is the culprit. An abundance of sugar puts the liver into overdrive — it works frantically to re-balance your system — quickly storing sugar as fat so your blood sugar and insulin rates can stabilize. By not consuming sugar often, your body will brilliantly balance itself out. By eating sugar every day, at every meal, your body over time will end up with an excess of belly fat (yuck).

     

  • 3. Sugar Keeps You From Making Healthy Food Choices 4 of 26
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    You already know about sugar crashes (we have all seen them in our kids!), but there may be another reason sugar is making you tired. A recent study by the CDC discovered that an increased consumption of added sugars has been linked to a decrease in intake of essential micronutrients. In other words, when you fill up on sugar, you're less likely to eat the nutrients your body really needs, causing your body to shut down. 

  • 4. Sugar is Altering Our Kids’ Future 5 of 26
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    Professor Andrew Prentice revealed a staggering truth in 2002 to a group assembled at the British Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting — the rise in childhood obesity means that, for the first time ever, there is a generation of children that may be outlived by their parents. Modern diets laced with sugars aren't just making us fat, they're making our kids fat and sick for life.

  • 5. Sugar is Keeping You Hungry 6 of 26
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    No, you're not making it up. You are always hungry. Sugars — especially in the forms of liquids like sodas — don't satiate. Suck them down and you're not just consuming empty calories, you're inviting constant hunger into your life. 

     

  • 6. Sugar is Everywhere 7 of 26
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    Sugar is added to dozens of foods you didn't know about, especially "healthy" options. In my own pantry, Nature Valley's Oats and Honey granola bars contain 12 grams of added sugar, and a 6 ounce container of Yoplait vanilla yogurt contains 26 grams of sugar! The back of your cereal boxes, mini muffins, and health food snacks may surprise you. 

    Find more foods with sugar contents that may surprise you at WebMD.

  • 7. Sugar Feeds Cancer 8 of 26
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    Scientists have long noted sugar molecules are present in high numbers near cancer cells. A 2013 study by the University of Copenhagen shows that sugar actually aids the growth of malignant cells. 

  • 8. Sugar Accompanies Other Things You Don’t Want in Your Body 9 of 26
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    Sugar is often consumed in pre-packaged foods — many of which are made with additives, preservatives, and potentially toxic colorings, some of which have been banned outside of the United States

  • 9. Sugar is Making Us Sick 10 of 26
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    Are you one of those people that always seems to be sick? Sugar may be making illness more common. Sugar can actually suppress your immune system, causing your body to get common sicknesses more often. (Who knew that sugar could be responsible for how many times my family has been sick this winter?)

  • 10. Sugar is Costing Us Money 11 of 26
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    The U.S. healthcare system spends about $1 trillion yearly fighting the effects of excess sugar consumption. With sugar linked directly to coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes, health care costs related to sugar are exorbitant.

  • 11. Sugar Goes Straight to Your Belly 12 of 26
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    When sugar gets processed by your liver, excess sugar gets turned into belly fat. This can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Not to mention, it looks rather depressing in a bikini.

  • 12. Sugar is Causing Your Cravings 13 of 26
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    Sugar intake spikes your blood sugar, so your body quickly works to re-balance itself. Insulin is released, and the liver starts storing the sugar as fat. All this work from your body lowers your blood sugar, and as your blood sugar dips, you get ravenously hungry. So, you eat again, and get stuck in a vicious hunger cycle fueled by sugar cravings.

  • 13. Sugar is Sneaky 14 of 26
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    Sugar is listed on food labels under many names. Though the back of a granola bar may not list sugar as an ingredient, your body responds the same way to sugar in all its forms. Here's a quick list of the many names sugar can hide under, via Harvard School of Public Health: Agave nectar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, sucrose, and syrup. 

  • 14. You’re Eating Way Too Much of It 15 of 26
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    Quick lesson: 4 grams of sugar is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of sugar. The USDA and American Heart Association recommend a total of 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, as a healthy amount for women. So, that would be 24 grams of sugar — total — per day. That yogurt I found in my fridge was 26 grams of sugar alone!

  • 15. Sugar Hides in Your Drinks 16 of 26
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    Sugar-sweetened beverages were tested in this study, which found a connection between drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

  • 16. Sugar Ruins Your Teeth 17 of 26
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    Nearly 100 years ago, a dentist named Weston A. Price was shocked by the rise in childhood cavities, and the growing demand for orthodontic braces. Wondering about the link between diet and tooth health, he quit his practice and traveed around the world with his wife, visiting tribes far removed from agricultural advancements and industrialized society and discovered nearly nonexistent levels of decay — even among groups of people not brushing their teeth.

    Since then, multiple studies have linked tooth health to sugar consumption. Bacteria in the mouth feeds off of sugar, and increases the likelihood of cavities. 

  • 17. Sugar Contains No Nutritional Value 18 of 26
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    You don't need sugar. It contains no nutritional value, nutrients, or minerals. It contains only calories. 

  • 18. Sugar Withdrawals Are Real 19 of 26
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    Sugar encourages the body to release opioids and dopamine. It has an actual effect on your body chemistry, and your body likes that. So it wants more. And more. And when the chemical lending the effects is taken away, it goes into withdrawal. It's not uncommon to experience headaches, fatigue, mood swings, and other detox effects as you come off sugar.

  • 19. Sugar May Be Making You Mood Swing 20 of 26
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    Mood and energy swings can be related to a lot of things, but sugar is among the possible precursors of moodiness. Insulin is a hormone. And when this hormone is secreted into the body to ward off excess sugar consumption, it can effect the other hormones in your body. Blood sugar-related swings can also contribute to adrenal fatigue, making your mood rollercoaster as your body tries to balance itself.

  • 20. We Think Sugar Is A Reward 21 of 26
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    Think about it: How many holidays do we have devoted to sugar? Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Christmas all revolve around sugar-laced foods in many American homes. A recent study by the CDC found we're consuming more sugar in our homes than we are away from our homes. Our personal sanctuaries and celebrations have become a celebration of sugar!

  • 21. Sugar isn’t Helping Your Skin 22 of 26
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    A 2011 study funded by Unilever found a connection between blood sugar levels and healthy, youthful skin. Want to avoid wrinkles, breakouts, and bad skin days? Cut the sugar, and you might just cut years off your appearance.

  • 22. Sugar is Affecting Our Kids 23 of 26
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    A 1986 study from Journal of Abnormal Psychology showed decreased learning performance in groups of preschoolers given sugary drinks. Couple this with other known effects like potential mood swings, cravings, and rising childhood obesity rates, and I am worried about our kids!

  • 23. You Don’t Actually Need Any Calories from Sugar 24 of 26
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    Fruit and starchy vegetables easily provide more than enough calories for a healthy adult diet. Sugar is the ultimate empty calorie, it lends no nutritional value at all to your plate. No matter how many ads you see for electrolyte drinks, fruit juices, or protein bars, the added sugars in the products are entirely unnecessary in the average adult diet.

  • 24. Sugar is Connected to Major Health Concerns 25 of 26
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    Sure, sugar is bad. But giving it up entirely would be weird, right? Who wants to be that crazy mom that won't let her kid eat cupcakes at the party?

    However, take a look at these 76 harmful effects of sugar Dr. Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, has outlined. From depression to Alzheimer's disease, and food allergies to blood pressure, sugar may do more harm than we ever originally imagined.

  • 25. Sugar Affects Your Brain 26 of 26
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    High blood sugar has been linked to memory loss and cognitive decline, in a study released by the American Academy of Neurology. In layman's terms, sugar consumption can lead to a domino effect in the body which can prematurely age the brain. 

 

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