It’s no secret that sugar is bad for you. It rots your teeth, packs on pounds around your belly, and provides zero nutrition.
However, these to be the least of sugar’s crimes. In fact, the biggest reason you should say goodbye to sugar is that it’s one of the most pro-inflammatory foods.
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process. During injury or infection, the body releases an increased amount of white blood cells to help protect or fight off infection. This can cause redness, warmth and swelling. Inflammation is not usually a bad thing — it is just the body trying to protect itself from further injury or illness by increasing the immune response in the area being threatened by bacteria or injury.
Some foods, such as sugar, can cause inflammation in our bodies. While some inflammation can be normal, eating too much inflammatory foods may increase your risk chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause other chronic health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and allergies. Some signs of chronic inflammation include – mood disorders, body pain, insomnia, chronic fatigue, digestive issues, weight gain, and frequent infections.
It is important to note that natural sugar is not linked to inflammation. There is a difference between added sugar and natural sugar. Added sugar is removed from its original source and added to foods and drinks to serve as a sweetener. Added sugar is found mostly in processed foods and drinks. Table sugar is also considered an “added sugar”. Other types include, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sucrose, Fructose, Glucose and corn sugar. Excess amounts of added sugar have been linked to inflammation, whereas natural sugar, such as fruits and veggies, have not been linked to inflammation.
Foods That Can Cause Inflammation
Along with sugar, there are many other foods that can increase inflammation in your body. Research suggests that diets high in saturated trans fats can increase the risk of chronic inflammation. A diet that is high in added sugar can cause harmful effects on a persons health.
- All Sugary Foods – such as desserts, pastries, chocolate and sodas
- Saturated Fats – Including red meats, full fat dairy products
- Trans Fats – Fast food, fried foods, cookies
- Refined Carbohydrates – breads, white rice, white potatoes
- MSG – commonly found in Asian foods, soy sauce, canned soups and deli meat
Obesity, Diabetes and eating high levels of saturated fats, trans fats and refined sugar are all risk factors of chronic inflammation
Natural ways to reduce inflammation
Below are some simple tips to help reduce inflammation:
- Limit processed foods and drinks: By reducing or eliminating these products, you’ll naturally exclude key sources of added sugar like soda, cakes, cookies and candy, as well as white bread, pasta and rice.
- Read food labels: If you are unsure about certain products, get into the habit of reading food labels. Look out for ingredients like sucrose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, maltose and dextrose.
- Choose whole-grain carbs: These include oats, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa and barley. They have lots of fiber and antioxidants, which can help control blood sugar and protect against inflammation.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which can protect against and reduce inflammation in the body.
- Eat lots of antioxidant-rich foods: Fill your plate with foods rich in antioxidants, which naturally help counteract inflammation. These include nuts, seeds, avocados, oily fish and olive oil.
- Keep active: Regular physical activity, including both aerobic and resistance exercise, can help protect against weight gain and inflammation.
- Manage stress levels: Learning to manage stress levels through relaxation techniques and even exercise can help reduce inflammation.
In short, consuming excess amounts of sugar can cause massive inflammation throughout your body. Eliminating sugars from your diet is not easy, however cutting added sugar from your diet can improve your overall health!