Image of cupcakes frosted in pastel colors topped with sugar sprinklesThere’s no way to sugar coat the recent headlines about sugar.  Americans consume nearly 130 pounds of added sugars per year, and new studies support the claim that sugar is toxic.   And, as anyone with a sweet tooth already knows – sugar is also extremely addictive. Even similar to some drugs!

The high amount of sugar consumption in America is “toxic” and is ultimately killing us, according to one California doctor – and new research may support his theory, CBS News reported.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, said he believes the main reason obese children get sick is due to the amount of sugar in their diet.  According to Lustig, high sugar ingestion leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and even heart disease.

Research out of the University California-Davis is now backing up his claim.  The study showed that excess consumption of high fructose corn syrup increases a type of artery-clogging cholesterol – which in turn increases the risk for heart disease.

Americans consume nearly 130 pounds of added sugars per year – including both sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  Lustig said that metabolically, there is no difference between the two.

“They are basically equivalent,” Lustig told CBS News.  “The problem is they’re both bad.  They’re equally toxic.”

The UC-Davis study also showed that calories from added sugars are different from calories in other foods. Nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope told CBS News the liver gets overloaded with fructose and then converts it to fat.  This fat then gets into the bloodstream and creates “small dense LDL” – which forms plaque in the arteries.

Eric Stice, a neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute, revealed that sugar is also extremely addictive – similar to some drugs, like cocaine.

Stice conducted many MRI scans of frequent soda drinkers, ice cream eaters and other sugar lovers, and found that the more sweet foods a person eats, the more he or she builds up a tolerance.  The more sugar a person consumes, the less satisfaction that person feels – resulting in eating more and more.

CBS News also spoke with Jim Simon, who sits on the board of the Sugar Association, about all those condemning studies.  He said that people should not just eliminate sugar from their diet because it places the blame on just one food, rather than promoting a healthy lifestyle of low-calorie consumption and regular exercise.

“To say that the American consuming public is going to completely omit, eliminate, sweeteners out of their diet I don’t think gets us there,” Simon told CBS News.

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