We hope everyone knows by now that sugar is bad for you. But just how bad? Is it merely empty calories we have to spend an extra hour at the gym to sweat off? Apparently, no. A research team from the University of California, San Francisco, says it's so bad it should listed as a toxic substance.

While they don't suggest banning it, they do think people aren't aware of how hazardous it is, and steps should be taken to restrict sales and availability in much the same way we do with alcohol and tobacco. Their thought is that by increasing the public's awareness of the dangers of excessive sugar consumption through these measures, we can “actually increase people's choices by making foods that aren't loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.”

According to the report, consumption of sugar has tripled worldwide in the last 50 years, leading to an increase in metabolic diseases such as the obvious obesity and type 2 diabetes, but also liver disease, heart disease and some types of cancer.

What the researchers suggest is that you can't just look at someone and know they are being affected by too much sugar consumption: “40 percent of people with metabolic syndrome — the key metabolic changes that lead to diabetes, heart disease and cancer — are not clinically obese.” So just because you look healthy doesn't mean this isn't affecting you, too.

A quick glance at the list of health problems that can be caused by chronic fructose consumption (too much sugar) versus chronic ethanol (too much booze — which, the study points out, is a sugar-based beverage) consumption shows a lot of overlaps as well. Who knew? Well, now we all do.

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