When you are trying to be healthy, those sweet tooth cravings can crack even the toughest resolve.  Sugar is everywhere and can be hard to avoid, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.  You have heard that it should be eaten in moderation, but after reading this article put together by Huffington Post you’ll want to stay clear of the stuff alltogether.

sugar bowls

Sugar is harder to resist than any other food: We need sugar to function—without it, we’d quickly power down. It’s so important, in fact, that our bodies have the ability to synthesize it from fat, complex carbs and protein through processes that take place in the liver. But when presented with effort-free sugar on a platter (or in a drinking glass or a candy box), our bodies go wild. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sugar is even more compelling than fat. Researchers tracked brain activity in more than 100 high school students while they drank chocolate-flavored milkshakes and found that shakes that were high in sugar but low in fat fired up the brain’s reward circuitry just as strongly as super-decadent shakes that paired sugar and fat in large quantities. Increasing the fat content of the shakes didn’t have the same effect, affirming that sugar was what the students’ brains really wanted.  

Sugar can be as hard to resist as drugs: The idea of a “sugar addiction” isn’t just a concept broadcasted far and wide by your green-juice-obsessed neighbor. Experiments with both people and animals have shown that sugar affects the brain in the same way that morphine and other opioids do. When sugar-addicted rodents were suddenly taken off the stuff, they went through withdrawal—complete with the shakes and anxiety. According to Nicole Avena, PhD, a neuroscientist with the New York Obesity Research Center at Columbia University who was involved in these studies and is the author of Why Diets Fail (Because You’re Addicted to Sugar), the rodents had become chemically dependent. Humans get hooked, too. The more sugar we eat, the more we want, Avena says, and we continue to need increasing amounts of it to keep producing the same euphoric effects. That’s one of the main reasons people who say they’re just going to have a tiny scoop of ice cream (and really mean it) end up eating four scoops.

woman pinching belly fat

It makes you gain the worst kind of fat: Consuming refined sugar won’t only lead to a gain in body fat, but it can also cause you to develop fat inside your liver. That’s a major health risk, explains Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL, an obesity expert and the author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease and The Fat Chance Cookbook. When you eat more fructose (the sweet molecule in sugar) than your liver can handle, the liver turns the excess into fat. Some of it gets transported out and lodges in the arterial walls, increasing your risk of heart disease, while the rest accumulates inside liver cells, leading to non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease, making your liver sick. Lustig says this causes insulin levels to rise, which drives up blood pressure and increases your risk for pancreatic burnout and diabetes, lipid problems and cancer.

Want to get more reasons to give up sugar? Click here to be taken to the original story on Huffington Post.