If you think you’re doing okay by limiting the amount of candy and sweets you eat, think again. Sugar is, literally, in everything these days —from bread and granola bars, to yogurt and salad dressing. So it’s time to rethink how much sugar you consume each day. Below are the top 7 reasons to stop eating sugar now.

Sugar consumption is a hot topic now, and for good reason. What was once seen as the realm of childhood has become an American nightmare, as researchers discover all the myriad ways sugar damages our bodies.

Top 7 Reasons To Stop Eating Sugar Now

Sugar is more addictive than cocaine.  According to a Cook University study, researchers discovered cocaine-addicted mice actually preferred sugar-water as a reward over cocaine. Why? Research has found that sugar consumption has an actual effect on your body chemistry, encouraging the body to release opioids and dopamine. Still doubting? Give up sugar for just three days, and then decide. After three days, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms, which can include severe headaches, fatigue, mood swings, the jitters, and stomach upset.

Sugar is making you fat, and possibly even ugly.  Eating sugar puts your liver into overdrive while it tries to re-balance your system. Sugar is quickly stored as fat so your blood sugar and insulin rates can re-stabilize. Without sugar, your body balances your blood sugar levels naturally, and there is no need to store the extra sugar as fat, helping you to maintain a healthy weight. And, if you want to avoid wrinkles, breakouts, and bad skin days, cut the sugar, and you might just cut years off your appearance, according to a 2011 study funded by Unilever. The study found a connection between high blood sugar levels and skin issues like acne.

Sugar can feed cancer cells. A 2013 study at the University of Copenhagen concluded that sugar actually aids the growth of malignant cells, and that sugar molecules are present in high numbers near cancer cells.

Sugar consumption is directly linked to health risks. While it’s been known for years that sugar can contribute to type 2 diabetes, did you know that sugar is now linked to heart disease and inflammation that can occur in a whole host of diseases, including auto-immune diseases. According to Dr. Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, there is a direct relation to many health issues, ranging from depression to Alzheimer’s disease, food allergies to blood pressure issues.

Sugar makes you hungry.  Sugar intake spikes your blood sugar, so your body quickly works to try to re-balance itself. When Insulin is released, and the liver starts storing the sugar as fat, your blood sugar plummets. 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.

Sugar is rotting your teeth.  Since the early 1900s, multiple studies have linked tooth health to sugar consumption. Bacteria in the mouth feeds off of sugar, and increases the likelihood of cavities, especially in children.

Sugar contains no nutritional value. That’s right, sugar contains no nutrients, vitamins, or minerals. It contains only calories. We get enough natural sugar from starchy veggies and fruits, all of which have vitamins, minerals and fiber, which our bodies need.

So there you have it, the top 7 reasons to stop eating sugar now. And the above list is just a few of the ways sugar damages the body. So, it might be time to take a look at your own sugar consumption and make a new plan.

P.S.–Think all you have to look for is the word “sugar” when checking out food labels? Think again! Here’s the Harvard School of Public Health list of the many names sugar can hide under:  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.

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