By now, we know how terrible sugar is for your health and the aging process. Too much sugar affects your skin, your weight, and overall health. This includes arthritis. Yes too much sugar in your diet can cause inflammation in our joints and can worsen arthritis you may already have. Thankfully, by changing our diets we can help reduce the pain in our joints and symptoms of arthritis. Here are little known facts about sugar and arthritis.
How Sugar Can Damage Joints
Consuming too much sugar not only causes weight gain and general damage to our health, but it can cause our joints pain and damage as well. Arthritis is a term that basically means you have joint pain and inflammation. There are different types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis ( most common), rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.
The treatments given when you see your doctor focus on reducing inflammation and pain relieving medicines. Research has shown that decreasing the amount of refined carbohydrates, and sugars through our everyday diet and adding anti-inflammatory foods can decrease arthritis symptoms and inflammation.
These prepackaged, processed foods cause toxins called advanced glycation end stage products (AGEs) to build up in our bodies and cause damage because our bodies try to fight them off using cytokines which cause inflammation. Foods that are heated, fried, and processed can cause these toxins so its best to stay away from them especially if you have arthritis symptoms.
Low Carb Means Less Arthritis
A study conducted at the University of Alabama shows that eating a low carb diet helped reduce osteoarthritis in the knee. We are told most of our lives to eat low-fat diets, but it seems carbs and sugars are more destructive to our whole bodies. The study showed eating low-carb was more helpful than low-fat in reducing inflammation and arthritis in patients ranging from 65-75 years old suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
Researchers in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences also found the low-carb diet specifically increased the quality of life and decreased serum levels of the adipokine leptin and a marker of oxidative stress. These studies show that patients can reduce their pain significantly by a change in their diets, therefore reducing the need for medications, many of which have damaging side effects. Another report from 2018 at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation found that carbohydrate high diets increased the risk of osteoarthritis in lab mice, even when their weight didn’t change.
Foods To Avoid
I wanted to share a list of foods you should avoid due to the link here between sugar and arthritis:
- Sugars & Refined Carbohydrates – Soda, Fruit juices, Candy, Baked goods made with white flour ( cookies, doughnuts, cakes,pastries), Cereals etc.
- Fried & Processed Foods – Fried foods and meats that are fried, processed foods such as frozen prepackaged meals ( T.V. dinners )
- High Sugar Fruits – Mango, Lychees, Oranges, Pears, Kiwi, Pineapple, Grapes, Bananas. ( you can eat fruits but a limited amount is best ).
- Dairy – Animals products such as cows milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese ( These should be limited ) opt for nut milk such as almond milk, very low carb count in it.
- Salt & Preservatives – Check food labels and avoid additives and preservatives, which are in many prepackaged and canned goods. High salt can cause high inflammation in the joints.
- Certain oils – Check labels staying away from corn oil and omega-6 fatty acids. Opt for omega-3 found in fish, healthy oils such as olive oil and nuts, flax seeds.
- Alcohol – Too much alcohol is never a good thing and its high in carbs so consider cutting out of your diet.
- Syrups – Maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar
We can see the damage that too much sugar can do our health in general, as we get older so do our joints. There are types of arthritis that can affect younger people as well. Staying away from sugar and eating more lean meats, antioxidant rich foods, and veggies is the healthiest choice, and you may lose some weight as well as feel more energized and younger, we are what we eat.
Exercise is really important to keeping your health and if you have pain from arthritis, there are exercises you can do to strengthen the body and that will eventually lead to less pain as well as the change in your diet. Here are some exercises you can do if you have arthritis.
The more I research the more I see how bad our everyday food choices are, stay away from fast foods and drive-through windows. The “diet” frozen meals are usually no good so its best to read every label, but the frozen foods usually have preservatives, just because it says healthy doesn’t mean it is. I hope this post helps a bit and I would love to hear any comments or questions below. Thanks for reading!
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