How Sugar Makes You Fat

When you eat sugar, it gets stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. When the liver is overloaded with sugar, it begins to expand, and when it is maxed out, the glycogen is expelled in the form of fatty acids. This excess fat—called fatty acid—is deposited into areas such as the belly, butt, thighs, and hips. Where it gets most dangerous is when the remaining fatty acids end up in our major organs, including the heart and kidneys.

Sugary foods (candy, cakes, pies, muffins, and sodas) and other refined, starchy carbohydrates cause a rapid rise in insulin levels, which results in excess fat in the body. When food is eaten, it is broken down to glucose so it can be used to fuel the body. Insulin is the hormone that sends glucose out of the blood into the tis- sue cells for use as energy. When excess glucose remains in the blood, insulin lev- els stay high. Chronically elevated insulin can cause both fat storage and more inflammation in the body. When insulin levels are high, this is a signal to the body to store extra calories as fat and to refrain from burning fat. High insulin levels mean you’ll have more body fat, while low insulin levels mean you’ll have less body fat.

Research has also shown that a high-sugar diet causes cancer cells to multiply rapidly. An important study published in the medical journal Cancer Research was conducted by a team out of the University of California, Los Angeles. The re- searchers found that while sugar of any kind offered sustenance to cancer cells, fructose played a key role in the proliferation of cancer cells. That means that can- cer spreads more quickly on a high-fructose diet. The food industry has been extremely successful at designing foods to capture the hearts and minds of those who enjoy food.

Food manufacturers and restaurant owners may not fully understand the science behind why sugar, salt, and fat sell so well, but they know that they do. Thus, they make foods that are laden with sugar, salt, and fat. When food appeals to our taste buds, we say that it is palatable. But scientists know that food that is palatable stimulates our appetite and cravings and causes us to eat more of it. In fact, we become motivated to pursue that taste over and over again. Eating foods high in sugar and salt makes us want to eat more foods that are high in sugar and salt. Eating foods that taste good causes us to eat more food that tastes good.

The average American’s sugar load is about a hundred pounds per year. We have become physically addicted to simple carbohydrates (candy, sugar, sweets). In a 2007 study conducted in France, cocaine-addicted rats were offered super- sweetened water using a combination of sugar and artificial sweeteners. In just three days, the cocaine-addicted rats switched their allegiance from cocaine to the super-sweetened sugar water.

The conclusion was that sugar activates dopamine receptors just as cocaine does. But unlike cocaine, sugar has no adverse effects on the nervous system. When the rats got a hit of sugar, they gained the highs of co- caine without the downside of increased nervousness. Since cocaine is known to be one of the most addictive substances on earth, we can see how humans can so easily get addicted to sugar. Sugar gives them the same effect of the hit on their dopamine receptors as cocaine does. Humans can easily become addicted to sugar and go through withdrawal if they can’t get sugar quickly.

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