The American Heart Association recommends no more than 20 grams of sugar per day for adult women, and 36 for men. A can of regular Coke includes no less than 39 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 10 sugar cubes. Consumed in excess, sugar doesn’t just contribute to type 2 diabetes, it can also have many unwanted effects on your body.
Discover a few facts you didn’t know about sugar, and decide for yourself if the dangers of eating too much outweigh the pleasure of a sugar rush.
1. It Can Turn Into an Addiction
Causing a massive dopamine release in your brain’s reward center, sugar can be addictive for many people, and is one of the leading causes of childhood obesity.
Researchers at James Cook University discovered that for mice, sugar water is even more attractive than cocaine. For humans, the addiction can be subconscious, leading many to purchase brands of foods with the highest sugar content without even realizing it or overeating desserts.
2. It’s the Biggest Cause of Belly Fat
Sugar is turned into fat by the liver when it’s unable to process all of it, but one of the facts you didn’t know about sugar is that most of that fats stays put in the abdominal region, it’s not dispersed evenly throughout your body.
3. Sugar Feeds Cancerous Cells
Excessive sugar consumption can keep your insulin levels elevated, and that simply means a higher risk of cancer. Cancerous cells use more sugar molecules, but that’s not the only way in which sugar can increase the risk of disease. Excessive sugar consumption is also linked to inflammation, which can contribute to a higher risk of cancer.
4. Your Skin Is Influenced by Sugar Intake
If you’re not worried about your health, take a look at one of the most important facts you didn’t know about sugar. Excess blood sugar is bad for your skin, reducing its elasticity and increasing the risk of developing wrinkles. The process through which sugar molecules bind to collagen in your skin is called glycation.
5. You Can Eat Too Much Sugar Even If You Skip Dessert
This won’t be news to anyone, but sugar is often present in really high quantities in foods that aren’t considered sweets. Ketchup and bread can often contain a lot of sugar, but so can sauces, either in traditional dishes or in international cuisine. For example, Uno Chicago Grill’s Baby Back Ribs contain 62 grams of sugar, while Pei Wei Asian Diner’s Orange Peel Beef has 66 grams of sugar.
6. Added Sugar Is Worse Than Naturally Sweet Foods
Sugar naturally contains both glucose and frucose. One of the facts you didn’t know about sugar is that most foods which added sugars have a disproportional amount of fructose. While you can’t overload your liver by overeating fruit, sweets and other sugar filled foods will do just that, forcing it to transform the excess fructose into fat.
See also: Toxic Foods That Impede Weight Loss
7. It’s Just as Toxic for Your Liver as Alcohol
While the fat the liver makes often makes it way to your abdominal area, it can also remain in the liver tissues, causing as much damage as alcohol. The scariest thing about Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is that it doesn’t just affect overweight people who eat too much sugar. Liver damage can also affect people who don’t eat too many calories or gain weight, but who make sugar a big part of their diet.
8. Sugar Can Literally Make You Overeat
Excess fructose can also mess with your hormone levels. One of the facts you didn’t know about sugar is that fructose can cause leptin resistance, affecting the hormone that’s supposed to regulate fullness. Once you develop the condition, you’ll eat more food while feeling less satisfied.
9. Excess Sugar Can Affect Your Brain
Studies with both rats and humans have shown that eating too much sugar also affects the brain, potentially causing deficiencies in memory and overall aging your brain.
10. Your Sweet Tooth Might Be Genetic
One of the facts you didn’t know about sugar is that some people are much more likely to eat too much sugar and get addicted to it. Genetic variations can affect ghrelin, a hunger hormone that plays a big part in cravings, which means people who are naturally attracted to sugary treats should be even more careful.