Reasons To Avoid Sugar If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some people with rheumatoid arthritis choose to limit or eliminate certain foods from their diets to reduce inflammation. One ingredient that your health care provider may recommend you avoid when living with inflammatory arthritis is sugar. From aggravating RA symptoms and inflammation to increasing your risk for other complications or health issues, too much sugar or sugar substitutes can make life with RA even more difficult.
Here are three reasons why you should consider limiting your sugar intake as part of your RA care plan. As always, ask your rheumatologist or a health care provider for medical advice before making dietary changes. They can advise you on the best way to do so or refer you to a specialist, such as a registered dietitian, for further guidance.
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What Exactly Is Arthritis
Arthritis, or joint inflammation, describes swelling and tenderness of one or more of the joints. Its main symptoms include joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Arthritis is a general term for a group of over 100 diseases causing inflammation and swelling in and around the joints.
Joint inflammation is a natural response of the body to a disease or injury, but becomes arthritis when the inflammation persists in the absence of joint injury or infection. Arthritis usually worsens with age and may even lead to a loss of joint movement.
There are different types of arthritis such as:
- Warm skin over the joints
- Redness of the skin over the joints
- Reduced range of movement.
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Foods That Contain High Contents Of Advanced Glycation End Products
AGEs are molecules that are made from sugar and fats or protein reactions. They are existent in uncooked animal foods and they also result from particular cooking methods and high cooking temperatures. Some of the richest AGE food sources include fried, grilled, roasted, seared, and/or broiled high protein and fat animal foods- bacon, steak, hot dogs etc.
AGEs can accumulate in the body, especially as you age. Osteoarthritis is associated with growing older and it is pretty obvious why these foods should be avoided. As a matter of fact, those with arthritis have been shown to have high AGE levels. If AGEs accumulate within joints and bones, one may develop or experience a progression of osteoarthritis. American cheese, French fries, mayonnaise, and margarine are also rich in AGEs. With a high accumulation of AGEs in the body, inflammation and oxidative stress result. AGE formation and oxidative stress are akin to disease progression for those with arthritis. You can replace AGE-rich foods with whole foods and vegetables to reduce the load in the body.
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Added Sugar Increases Inflammation In Arthritis
Added sugar is found to play a major role in increasing inflammation in the body. It is evidenced by research that sugar has a major role to play in developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Added sugar increases the C-reactive protein and cytokines in the body, which are chemicals that are responsible for inflammation.
Sugar intake increases the insulin secretion in the body, a higher amount of insulin in the body also gives rise to inflammation.
End products derived from the added sugars in the body are found to possess damaging properties. These products tend to accumulate as one gets older and adds on to the bodys inflammation.
Research on animals has shed light on the chemical process that added sugars undergo. These studies reveal that added sugars activate the pro-inflammatory chemicals that initiate inflammation in the body.
What does this mean?Added sugars are responsible for increasing inflammation in the body through various biochemical processes which worsens arthritis in patients.
This Just In: Over Consumption Of Sugar Contributes To Muscle & Joint Pain
Americans eat a lot of sugar! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , the average American consumes roughly 47 pounds of cane sugar and 35 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year. We all know sugar is the main ingredient in the obvious villains such as candy, ice cream and other desserts, but there are also hidden sugars in most processed foods. This includes many so called healthy foods such as whole grain breakfast cereals, granola bars, pasta sauce, yogurt, and sports drinks. It is widely known that overconsumption of sugar causes obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, but did you know that it could be contributing to your muscle and joint pain as well?
THERES NOTHING SWEET ABOUT INFLAMMATION!
SUGAR IS A PAIN IN THE JOINTS!
Sugar also contributes to joint pain and stiffness experienced with aging through a process called glycation. Glycation occurs when sugar bonds with proteins to form compounds called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These compounds damage cells in the body by speeding up the oxidative process and changing normal cell behavior. AGEs are thought to be a major factor in aging as well as contributing to many age-related chronic diseases. Studies have shown that accumulation of AGEs in joint tissues causes changes in articular cartilage, making the cartilage more susceptible to damage and development of osteoarthritis.
LIMITING SUGAR INTAKE IS A MUST FOR REDUCING THE ACCUMULATION OF AGES THAT CAN LEAD TO JOINT DAMAGE AND PAIN.
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Foods High In Purines
For people who have gout, a doctor may advise a low purine diet combined with the medication.
Purines are substances in foods that the body converts to uric acid. Uric acid can build up in the bloodstream, causing a gout attack. According to the , the following foods are high in purines:
What a person eats can help:
Usually, inflammation protects the body from harm by helping defend against bacteria and aiding wound healing. However, when inflammation persists for an extended period, chronic symptoms can develop.
What a person eats has an impact on inflammation levels. Some foods are inflammatory, and others are anti-inflammatory.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, numerous studies show that anti-inflammatory foods can reduce arthritis pain and progression.
A persons body weight also influences inflammation levels. Fat cells produce cytokines, which are immune cells that increase inflammation.A person can use diet to maintain a moderate weight, which may help with inflammation and also reduce pressure on the joints.
Finally, some types of arthritis have specific trigger foods. For example, foods that are high in purines
Consuming the following foods may benefit people with arthritis.
If Youve Got Arthritis Youve Probably Experienced The Intense Pain Of Flares Heres How To Handle Them
Youre feeling good, barely thinking about your chronic pain, and then wham an arthritis flare hits you like a Mack truck. These periods of increased disease activity take a toll on you physically and emotionally, especially because they can come on unexpectedly. If youve got either osteoarthritis or an inflammatory type of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, you probably know what were talking about.
So how can you deal with an arthritis flare-up when it happens? I remind myself, This, too, shall pass, arthritis patient Beth Bloomfield told us on Facebook. Like a kidney stone! another patient, Katie Resnick, joked back. Although arthritis flares are never pleasant, there are techniques that can help shorten their duration. Also important: Being able recognize when a flare is starting and avoid the triggers that may cause your flare-ups in the first place.
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Does Sugar Cause Inflammation
You should be cautious about eating added sugar if you have arthritis. Studies have shown that sugar consumption increases inflammation in humans. Consumption of excessive amounts of sugar or a moderate amount over time will increase inflammation in the body.
The inflammation from sugar can worsen many health conditions, including arthritis. For people with arthritis, it is recommended to eat anti-inflammatory foods and reduce their intake of added sugars.
Many foods and beverages have hidden sources of sugar. That’s why it’s important to read the labels and ingredients of the foods and drinks that you eat. For example, studies have shown that beverages such as sugar-sweetened soda are associated with an increased risk of chronic inflammatory diseases.
How Your Sweet Tooth Makes Your Body Feel Bitter
Sugar! Its the main reason why so many of our favorites snacks and treats taste so delicious! Not only that, but its also affordable and readily available pretty much anywhere. Unfortunately, these facts often overshadow the not-so-hidden dangers of sugar consumption.
Its widely known that eating too much sugar can cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. But did you know sugar can also make chronic pain worse as well? Its true eating too much sugar causes your body to react in numerous ways that can wreak havoc on chronic pain.
But we dont want to come off all doom and gloom here. So, were sharing some useful knowledge on how sugar contributes to chronic pain as well as some helpful tips to find relief. There can be a place for some sugary snacks in your diet. If you do it right, you can enjoy your favorite treats while limiting the nasty side effects.
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Reasons Why Sugar Worsens Arthritis + Foods To Avoid
Inflammation is a response of the body towards any external and internal injuries. Inflammation is seen in numerous disease conditions, one such condition being arthritis.
Arthritis is a condition where one or more joints in the body are inflamed. It can affect any joint of the body. It is can be of many different types depending on the mechanism by which it affects the body.
Arthritis afflicted patients experience immense joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. As the disease progresses the inflamed joint affects the joint cells and damage them which further impairs functioning.
Managing arthritis utilizes medications to reduce pain and inflammation along with exercise and physical therapies.
Diet control is a major factor in managing arthritis as it can influence the symptoms. Some types of food can help you in reducing the pain and inflammation whereas others may cause an increase in them.
Sugar is the most used and liked ingredient of most people’s diet. It is added to a wide variety of delicacies. Read on to find out how added sugar affects your arthritis health.
Skip Refined Sugars And Sweets On An Ra Diet
While certain carbohydrates are an essential part of our diets, refined sugars and sweets are not, as much as we may enjoy them. Refined sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup, are empty calories devoid of any nutrients and are detrimental to our bodies. They should not be included on an RA diet.
“It’s a poison by itself,” says Robert Lustig, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist and professor at the University of California in San Francisco. Cutting down on refined sugar is even more important for people with rheumatoid arthritis because sugar drives chronic inflammation, something people with RA don’t need. Risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease are also high for people living with RA, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol is crucial.
Mary Poppins was wrong, Dr. Lustig says: “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the blood pressure go up.”
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Up
Because rheumatoid arthritis always causes a low level of inflammation, flares are common and sometimes occur without a trigger. Symptoms of a flare may include increased pain, swelling, and stiffness. Because rheumatoid arthritis also affects the rest of your body, you may also have fever, fatigue, and weight loss.
A common cause of a flare is decreasing your anti-inflammatory medication or missing a dose. Other triggers include physical or mental stress, changes in the weather, exertion, lack of sleep, or an infection like the flu, an upper respiratory infection, or urinary tract infection.
A rheumatoid arthritis flare may last hours, days, or weeks. A flare that lasts more than a week should be reported to your doctor. Your doctor may need to add on a mechation like a steroid, or change your current medications. To manage a flare, you should alternate rest with some gentle activity to keep your joints moving. Take your usual anti-inflammatory medicines as prescribed. A cold compress over a sore joint may reduce pain and swelling.
Foods That Help Reduce Inflammation
It may seem as if all of your favorite foods are on the do not eat list as it relates to joint and muscle pain. However, there are actually a variety of nutritious and delicious foods that can help reduce inflammation. A Mediterranean diet offers an excellent guideline, including these foods:
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips and yams
- High-fat fruits such as avocados and olives
- Olive oil and coconut oil and other healthy fats
- Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies and other fatty fish
- Almonds and other nuts
- Bell peppers and chili peppers
- Legumes such as beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts and chickpeas
- Spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon
Sticking to a diet consisting of these foods will not only help combat inflammation and pain but also help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk for many diseases. For more information on foods that can help with inflammation, read 10 Foods That Help Reduce Joint Pain.
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Foods To Avoid For Bursitis & Tendinitis
Bursitis and calcific tendonitis are painful conditions that result from inflammation around the joints and tendons. Although treatment consists of rest, medication and physical therapy, an anti-inflammatory diet may help too. Find out what foods to avoid with calcific tendonitis, bursitis or both.
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To speed up healing from bursitis and tendonitis, avoid sugar, unhealthy fats and processed foods, which have been shown to increase inflammation. The Mediterranean diet has been proven effective against inflammatory conditions, so give it a try.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis To Flare Up
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the more sinister forms of arthritis. Not only can the damage to your joints lead to swelling, stiffness and pain, theres no way to undo it aka, its permanent.
With rheumatoid arthritis, theres likely always some low level of inflammation affecting your joints, but it can also flare up in response to stress or, believe or not, the weather specifically, rain.
When youre stressed, either mentally or physically, your body is less equipped to handle the inflammation caused by your condition, explains Dr. Alam. Since it leads to swelling and stiffness, more inflammation means more intense pain.
As for why a change in weather might trigger a flare up of rheumatoid arthritis, its all about joints under pressure.
Changes in weather, such as rain, are often accompanied by changes in air pressure, and this change is thought to affect the pressure within your joints making any underlying swelling feel more painful, explains Dr. Alam.
While you cant control the weather, you can take steps to reduce your stress levels. And when a flare up hits, you can use a cold compress to reduce the inflammation thats causing some of your pain.
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Steer Clear Of Seven Foods That May Inflame Arthritic Joints
Inflammation aggravates arthritic joints, causing tissues to swell and become inflamed. Eating anti-inflammatory foods may reduce swelling, but its also important to know about the foods that can trigger painful inflammation.
Food is one of lifes pleasures, and nostalgic recipes take center stage as we celebrate the holidays. But, for people with arthritis, indulging in favorite dishes may trigger joint inflammation that causes tenderness and pain. We cant treat arthritis with diet alone, but knowing which foods cause inflammation can help us to make healthy decisions about our diet.
Although arthritis patients dont have to avoid these foods entirely, it may be wise to limit their appearance on the menu, and find ways to replace them with some of the healthier options we are suggesting. Food choices are easier to make when we understand the lifestyle benefits that go with them.
- Corn oil. This oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids think of omega-6s as the evil twin of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s can help to relieve joint pain, while omega-6s can trigger inflammation. When you are tempted to reach for baked goods and snacks made with corn oil, remind yourself that nuts, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds are alternatives that offer joint-friendly omega-3s.
- Sugars are not a friend to joints. Candies, sugary baked goods, and sweet sodas may be delicious, but they also increase the AGEs that can trigger inflammation. Choose fruit or unsweetened drinks instead.
Vegetarian And Vegan Diets For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some people with RA follow a diet that avoids meat or even all animal-derived products, including honey and dairy products .
But there isn’t much research that shows a positive link between these diets and reduced RA symptoms.
But the study didn’t show a corresponding reduction in RA symptoms.
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Sugar Inflammation And Achy Knees
Having a whole lotta sugar takes its toll on the body. It has been linked with weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dental caries, liver disease, accelerated ageing, and the list goes on!
But could too much of the sweet stuff be contributing to our bodys creaks and pains?
Joint pain and inflammation
Inflammation is a term we hear a lot with respect to health. We are told that anti-inflammatory foods are great for us, and things that cause inflammation tend to cause trouble.
This is true to an extent.
An inflammatory response is a normal part of the human defence system. The swelling, redness, pain and heat experienced when we cut our thumb is a reflection of the influx of chemical warriors coming to save the day, kick starting the healing process. We need inflammation to heal wounds, clear debris, and fight pathogens, to stand strong in the face of adversity!
But when inflammation is present long-term, all those warriors, such as cytokines, can get a little carried away, and begin to damage parts of our body that are otherwise quite healthy.
Including our joints, which can present as arthritis.
Oh my achy knees!
Common forms of arthritis include gout, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis , with fibromyalgia a related condition.
Inflammation aint only about diet but its a big factor
It seems when it comes to the swelling and aches in the joints, pro-inflammatory and processed foods have a lot to answer for.