Sugar has been the public enemy No. 1 when it comes to the health of Americans. In an attempt to adhere to doctor's orders and government recommendations on the use of less fat and cholesterol, Americans switched to "healthy" low-fat diets that were simply riddled with sugar.

The American Heart Association advises limiting the amount of added sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men (or 100 and 150 calories, respectively).

Consuming so much refined sugar has many health consequences, the most noticeable of which is weight gain. Added sugar pushes up your insulin levels, disrupts your metabolism, and allows the calories to turn straight into belly fat.

Weight reduction is just one of the many potential advantages of cutting back on the sweet stuff. Below are more compelling reasons - besides fitting into your skinny jeans - to curb your sugar cravings for good.

It helps to keep the brain sharp

You may have been warned that candy can eat away your tooth enamel. What is even more frightening is that sugar will eat away at your brainpower.

Research indicates that high sugar intake adversely impacts your mental function. In a way, sugar will rewire the brain. Consuming so much of it will change the function of the hippocampus - the portion of the brain that holds your memories intact.

It will reduce the chances of depression

Eating sweets produces a quick "high," but the thrill is short-lived. Several studies have related high-soda diets, juices, pastries, and other sugary foods to depression.

There are a couple of potential explanations for the connection. One is that sugar raises inflammation in your body, which may have a depressive effect on your mood. Sweets also affect the body's insulin reaction in a way that can affect your hormone levels.

It could keep your skin looking young

And now, for the sake of your vanity: a lifetime of eating so much added sugar will leave your skin dull, wrinkled, and prematurely aged.

Sugar in your bloodstream binds to proteins to form advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, which is the right term for what they do!

AGEs damage collagen and elastin, which are protein fibers that hold the skin firm and elastic. That damage contributes to wrinkles and drooping, which some experts refer to as "sugar sag."

You're going to help planet Earth

Growing sugarcane, according to the World Wildlife Fund, takes a lot of water and is also very harmful to the ecosystems in which it grows. Some of the regions where sugarcane is growing, such as the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, are already vulnerable ecosystems.

So, are you ready to give up sugar yet?