How many times have you heard that you need to cut back on your sugar? It's practically ingrained into our minds, but for good reason. Our damaging relationship with the sweet stuff is the impetus behind the creation of SugarScience, a new website from researchers at University of California San Francisco. Thanks to their extensive analysis of more than 8,000 papers about the health-wrecking properties of too much sugar, they’ve gathered compelling evidence about just how harmful sugar can actually be. Read on to discover Prevention's nine most disturbing facts about sugar.
Liquid sugar is wreaking havoc on Americans' diets. Desserts aren't the only culprit! Sugar in a liquid form via beverages like sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks is the largest single source of added sugar in Americans’ diets, according to the USDA. It comprises 36% of the added sugar Americans take in. Think about how much easier it is to overdo it with an energy drink than it is to do the same with a bowl of ice cream, and you’ll start to realize how this works. Science even says so: It's hard to feel as full from a high-calorie drink as it is from chowing down on the same amount of calories, according to research in Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.
>> Read more: 20 Reasons to Limit Sugar in Your Diet
Soda is straight-up terrible. Time to kick that cola habit to the curb: Chugging one can of soda per day can increase your risk of dying from heart disease by almost one-third, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Even worse, a study in Current Diabetes Reports showed that, compared to drinking sugary beverages like soda less than once a month, indulging one to two times per day results in a 26% higher chance of struggling with type 2 diabetes.
Your liver might suffer. Fructose, an increasingly popular type of sugar, can harm the liver much like alcohol, according to research in Journal of Hepatology Nature. Fructose is what makes fruit taste so delicious, and as you know, sugar in fruit is a-okay since it’s naturally occurring. The problem is when fructose is manipulated: manufacturers take it from corn, beets, and sugarcane. Much like grain when it undergoes the refining process, fructose loses fiber and nutrients that help your body handle it properly — so it taxes the liver. Specifically, scientists are starting to link fructose consumption to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (too much fat build-up) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (liver scarring, inflammation, and fat build-up).
>> Read more: 7 Fruits Lower in Sugar
There are at least 61 different names for sugar. From sucrose, which is table sugar, to high-fructose corn syrup, which is liquid sugar, food producers have come up with a plethora of ways to list this nutrient on labels. This makes it even easier to skim over a long ingredient name in a shopping hurry and inadvertently take in more sugar than you meant to. Check out an extensive list of the names for sugar.
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