Sugar and Inflammation

Americans consume between 100 and 180 pounds of sugar each year. Only about 29 pounds is directly from the sugar bowl while the rest comes from foods and drinks. Sugar comes in many forms: refined white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), malt syrup, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, molasses, fruit juice concentrate and simple carbohydrates quickly turn to sugar in your body.

Every time you consume as little as two teaspoons of sugar, you upset your body chemistry and disrupt homeostasis, the balance in the body needed for maintenance, repair and life itself.

I rarely consume sugar, but yesterday I ate two pieces of cake. I was at a Bridal Shower and the cake was from Whole Foods. The benefit from eating a cake from Whole Foods is they don’t use artificial color or flavors.

Of course, that says nothing of the sugar content. This morning I could hardly get out of bed. Getting dressed was a challenge as my joints hurt and I had shooting pains in my back when I tried to bend to put my shoes on. I knew immediately this inflammation was a result of the sugar I ate.

Joint Pain and Inflammation
The pain felt in your joints is your body’s way of letting you know there is inflammation. Beyond joint pain, the typical high-in-sugar, American diet can easily be associated with an increase of atherosclerosis, cancer, obesity, diabetes, congestive heart failure, gout, digestive system diseases, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. Sugar can contribute to behavior problems in children as well.

There is a direct connection between sugar, inflammation and joint pain. Inflammation is the immune system’s healthy response to restore the affected area to normal following an injury, irritation or infection. However, in response to sugar intake, which includes all simple carbohydrates, the body is flooded with insulin and stress hormones. These inundate your blood supply triggering the inflammation process, which creates stress and pain on your organs and joints.

Reduce Inflammation
Limit your intake of simple carbohydrates like breads and cereals processed with added sugar, corn, French fries, fruit juices, pancakes, pasta, popcorn, and white rice, etc. Sodas and alcohol are also very high in sugar.

Beneficial fruits and vegetables will help build your body and reduce inflammation. Complex carbohydrates like apples, asparagus, beans, broccoli, blackberries, blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupe, green beans, honeydew melon, kiwi, leafy greens, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, spinach, and strawberries.

Add good sources of protein to your diet like salmon, cod, halibut, snapper, tuna, turkey, chicken and lean beef. Organic eggs, cottage cheese, whole milk and yogurt are good sources of protein. Both omega 6 (GLA) and omega 3 (fish oils) help reduce inflammation. GLA is found in leafy green vegetables and dietary supplements. Also, coconut oil, olive oil, walnut oil, sunflower oil, avocados, nut butters and macadamia nuts have great anti-inflammatory properties.

The less sugar you eat, the less inflammation you will experience, and the stronger your immune system will be to protect you from infectious and degenerative diseases.  I knew this morning that I needed to reduce the inflammation to reduce the pain in my joints. I made myself an apple, pineapple, carrot, cabbage, and celery smoothie for breakfast. I’m planning on a salad for lunch and no more sugar!

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