The devil’s in the details.
I’ll get right to it. There’s one thing above all else that makes sugar poisonous. And that thing is fructose.
You see, sugar, otherwise known as sucrose, is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Fructose is the sweetest part of sugar. It’s the thing that makes your favorite candy irresistible.
And it’s not just in sucrose. Fructose is highly present in high-fructose corn syrup (55%), agave syrup/nectar (84%), honey (50%), and any other syrup/added sugar you can think of.
And why is fructose so bad?
Well, unlike glucose, which is mostly broken down by insulin, fructose is 100% processed by the liver. This is very similar to how alcohol behaves in the body. In the process, the following things happen:
- Fat deposits in your liver increase, which ultimately leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (Hint: It’s essentially the same effect as alcoholic liver disease.)
- Insulin resistance increases, which makes your pancreas start producing way too much insulin. This shortchanges your brain’s ability to read signals that you’re full, causing you to overeat. It also leads to Type II Diabetes.
- The insulin resistance elevates insulin-like growth factor (IGF), which can dramatically increase your risk for multiple types of cancer.
- The fats in your blood rise out of proportion, skyrocketing Pattern B LDL — the worst cholesterol in human nutrition. This condition is known as dyslipidemia, and it’s a MAJOR marker for heart disease.
- Uric acid, a byproduct of fructose metabolism, rises in your blood. This cranks up your blood pressure (hypertension). It also increases your risk for developing gout.
And here’s something that will really shock you…
30% of the fructose you consume becomes fat in your body.
Yep, you read that right. 30%. And that’s compared to around 2% of glucose (think potatoes and rice) turning into fat.
So, take a look at that sugar cube next time you want to drop it into your coffee. You can actually see the portion of it that will become fat inside you.
And there’s another feature of fructose that makes all of this much, much worse…
Perhaps the most insidious part about sugar is how hard it is to stop eating it. Sugar is, in fact, genuinely addictive.
And much of this addictiveness has to do with reward signals in your brain — specifically, the sweet reward, which is supplied directly by fructose.
The effect is so powerful that scientists in France, the U.S., and Canada have observed cocaine-addicted rats demonstrating a clear preference for the sweet reward over the cocaine they were addicted to.