Why is sugar bad for you?

Studies show that sugar and fatty foods are as addictive as cocaine and nicotine.  Read more about this here.

The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it, we are finding tremendous overlaps between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.
— Nora Volkow from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Because sugar causes an unaturally large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people. The dopamine release from sugar and fast food is a massive amount that is many times the amount of sugar that we would be exposed to from foods found in nature. The food industry knows this and uses these chemical reactions to their advantage to keep you coming back, spending your money and ruining your health. They even use chemical derivatives to attract you to those specific food like products. "You get this intense release of dopamine upon acute ingestion of sugar. After you chronically consume it, those dopamine receptors start becoming down-regulated — there’s less of them, and they’re less responsive,” he said. “That can lead to ADHD-like symptoms … but it can also lead to a mild state of depression because we know that dopamine is that reward neurotransmitter." (Source)

So, practice moderation when it comes to real sugar but completely get rid of sugar substitutes like high fructose corn syrup!

“The government subsidizes corn, so high fructose corn syrup is cheaper than sugar, and that’s why it’s so ubiquitous in our diets,” DiNicolantonio explained. “They need to start subsidizing healthy foods. We shouldn’t be able to eat a Snickers bar for cheaper than we can eat an apple.”
— James DiNicolantonio, cardiovascular research scientist at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute

They can use these chemical derivatives to attract you to those specific food like products, the excitation in your body causes you to be addicted and come back to eat more.

Artificial Sweeteners:

An artificial sweetener such as aspartame (sold under many different names such as Equal and NutraSweet). Diet soda is particularly toxic for your brain because not only does it contain caffeine but also aspartame, that when combined are extremely toxic. “These two agents create a very unique but deadly combination of excitotoxins that kill off your brain cells. “However, before they do so, they go out with a bang by giving you something akin to a buzz. It's the perfect plan to get you to go back to the store to buy another soda. And maybe a supersized soda—after all, it has ZERO calories, no matter how much you consume!” (Source)

“One example of an addictive food additive is MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is added to 80 percent of all flavored foods.” 80%!

In short, diet soda kills off your brain cells but while doing so it gives you a buzz, imagine your brain cells being zapped off because that is what’s happening.

“The food industry claims that aspartame is safe. However, if you look at the studies that claim to support aspartame's safety, you will see that 90 percent of them were funded by the food and beverage industry. When you examine independent aspartame studies, it's a totally different story. Ninety percent of those have found serious health problems related to aspartame. The FDA merely evaluates the studies that the industry submits—it doesn't have a team of researchers conducting those studies itself, contrary to what you might think.” (Source)

“When you see the high content of sugar in most kids cereals you might just as well roll up your kids sleeve and shoot in the heroin... because it is the same.
— Dr. Christine Northrup
At the neurobiological level, the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward appear to be more robust than those of cocaine (i.e., more resistant to functional failures), possibly reflecting past selective evolutionary pressures for seeking and taking foods high in sugar and calories.
— Ahmed, Guillem, & Vandaele (2013)
Our findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals. We speculate that the addictive potential of intense sweetness results from an inborn hypersensitivity to sweet tastants. In most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars and are thus not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastants. The supranormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets, such as those now widely available in modern societies, would generate a supranormal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.
— Lenoir, Serre, Cantin & Ahmed (2007)

Need more reasons why sugar might be ruining your health?  Here's 141 reasons why sugar is bad for you. Looking for healthy alternatives to sugar? Good idea! Click here.

Pubmed Research Article I

Pubmed Research Article II