Between the blur of the holidays and the upcoming Valentine’s Day candy season, winter is surely a sugary season. Despite our staunchest resolutions, sugar is a difficult temptation to resist. It is, however, one of the most toxic ingredients you ingest on a daily basis.

Sugar wreaks regular havoc on our systems, as we all know by now. Whether you’ve already begun making an effort to cut back on sweets, or you’ve yet to make the break, here’s just a short list of reasons to nudge you along the path of most resistance:

Sugar ages your skin

Diets high in sugar can damage the elastin and collagen molecules in your skin, which will increase wrinkles and sagging over time. When your blood sugar is high, the effects of aging can be accelerated.

Sugar damages your teeth

The sugar in food and drinks produces an acid that dissolves and destroys the protective layers of your teeth, leaving them susceptible to cavity and rot. Sugar contributes to tooth decay, and can permanently damage your sparkling smile.

Sugar increases risk of diabetes

If you consume a high-sugar diet, you are 83% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. In the long-term, type 2 diabetes can lead to myriad issues with your cardiovascular, heart, and brain systems.

Sugar increases risk of cancer

While sugar itself does not cause cancer, a diet excessive in sugar can increase your cancer risk. High sugar diets are especially linked to breast and colon cancer.

Sugar causes weight gain, or makes weight loss more difficult

Sugary foods are empty calories, with next to nutritional value. Because of their addictive nature, these treats trick your brain into thinking you’re hungry and causing you to crave them more.

Fast facts

  • The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 20 grams of sugar and men no more than 36 grams of sugar per day
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4.2 grams of sugar
  • There are 39 grams of sugar in a can of popular soda
  • Sugar goes by many names and can be easy to miss
  • Sugar causes inflammation throughout the body, affecting our moods and hormones

Quick ways to cut back

  • Swap out sugary cereal with whole-foods style breakfasts (something with five ingredients or less, and low in sugar!)
  • Focus on whole grains, veggies, and fruits when you pack a lunch
  • Limit your intake of sweetened drinks like sports drinks, sodas, or teas