Sugar and Inflammation: What Not to Eat

Sugar and Inflammation: What Not to Eat

Inflammation occurs in the body when it is faced with toxic agents like toxic chemicals, viruses, and bacteria. As the body becomes inflamed, the result is always some redness on the body, pains, bruises, and swelling. But sometimes it might become chronic, which will bring more complicated health problems such as joint stiffness or pain, chest pain, arthritis, or even systemic lupus. 

The good thing is that some foods can help abate the problem of inflammation in the body. On the other hand, some foods are capable of increasing inflammation in the body. This is often a result of the chemicals that are found in such foods that trigger the body to be inflamed.

We will be discussing some of the foods you may want to avoid if you wish to prevent inflammation in your body. You will also discover some of the alternatives you should rather eat to help fight inflammation and keep you in sound health.


Foods That Can Cause Inflammation 

These foods are known as inflammatory foods since they increase the chances of inflammation in the body. The body finds it difficult to digest inflammatory foods which spike blood sugar levels and resist insulin which causes inflammation in the body. 

Below are some of the foods that you may want to lower their intake as they encourage inflammation in the body:

1. Sugar

A lot of people have always asked questions like "does sugar cause inflammation?" Well, according to experts, sugar, especially processed or added sugar, is a culprit when it comes to inflammation of the body. Taking too much sugar into one's system can greatly increase chronic inflammation as well as raise one's blood pressure. 

When you consume processed sugar, signals are sent to the body to produce a pro-inflammatory substance, and as a result, there will be inflammation in the joints of the body.

How Does Sugar Cause Inflammation In The Body

There are various ways by which sugar causes inflammation in the body; some of them are explained below:

  • When sugar is consumed, the guts become permeable, and this will allow inflammatory particles and bacteria into the blood easily, thereby causing inflammation in the body.
  • Another way is when processed sugar is taken, it combines with fat or protein in the blood. This combination will bring about a harmful compound in the body which is known as Advanced Glycation end products. With too much of these compounds in the body, inflammation will occur.
  • Again, taking in processed sugar can trigger weight gain, which brings about excess body fat. Of course, this excess body fat leads to insulin resistance. The bottom line will be inflammation in the body.

So to reduce inflammation in the body, you must reduce your sugar intake and go more for non-sugar sweeteners.

What are the alternatives to added sugar to avoid inflammation?

You need to keep in mind that when sugar is talked about as an agent of inflammation, we are referring to added sugar; these are sugar carbohydrates that are in both beverages and foods like soda, cookies, cakes during production. Added sugars are mostly used to sweeten the food. This sugar is different from natural sugar. 

Natural sugar can be found in vegetables, unsweetened dairy, and fruits. Natural sugars don't trigger inflammation. The reason here is because the body processes natural sugar differently; and unlike added sugar, natural sugar is part of the whole food that the body needs and can digest effectively. 

Natural sugar comes with beneficial nutrients to the body which include protein and fiber. With the presence of such nutrients, they encourage the sugars extracted from the food to be absorbed into the bloodstream steadily and at a slow rate. 

So while added or processed sugar spikes blood sugar, which triggers inflammation, natural sugars stave off blood sugar spikes and downplay any inflammation that would have come on board.

So you would need to avoid consuming added sugar that comes with varieties of names like maltose, dextrose, molasses, rice syrup, high–fructose corn syrup, and agave. 


2. Gluten

According to research foods that contain gluten can bring about inflammation in the body, especially in the joints. So when one eats food like pizza, bread, cereal that has gluten in them, you might have an immune reaction and this will trigger inflammation which can damage the intestinal tracts. To help keep inflammation at bay in your body, it is expedient to consume gluten-free foods.


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3. Omega-6 fatty acids

Taking omega-6 fatty acids comes with various benefits to the body which include maintenance of bone health, stimulating the hair and skin growth, nourishing the reproductive system, and even regulating metabolism. 

But when taken in excess, research shows that it can trigger the body to produce proinflammatory substances. The truth is that with excess omega-6 fatty acids in the body, it can be converted to another acid known as arachidonic acid. When this happens, arachidonic acid which is a building block for molecules will trigger inflammation.

Experts have suggested that taking on an average of 11 to 22 grams of omega-6 fatty acid daily will suffice. You can get the recommended amount of omega-6 fatty acids from vegetables, soy, peanuts, grapeseed, corn, or sunflower.


4. Saturated Fats

This is another food group you need to be mindful of when it comes to fighting inflammation. It ought to be reduced as much as possible or done away with completely. Saturated fats can be said to be among the unhealthy fats same with trans fat. The saturated fats are always solid at room temperature; this includes palm oil, butter, coconut oil, red meat, and even cheese. 

So taking excess saturated fats will produce an inappropriate inflammatory response causing weight gain. The fact remains that with increased weight gain comes increased inflammation. So as one consumes a lot of saturated fats to gain excess weight, inflammation will heighten as well.

Another way that saturated fats trigger inflammation is through high-fat meals. When meals with high fat are consumed, it will increase endotoxin levels in the body. This chemical will move into the bloodstream and then stimulate immune cells. With this happening, it will bring about a transient postprandial inflammatory response. All of these happen mostly by the type and the amount of fat eaten which must be cut out or cut down.


5. Alcohol Consumption

When trying to deal with inflammation, the best bet is to do away with excess consumption of alcoholic drinks. Studies have shown that alcohol-related health issues stem from chronic inflammation. 

This is mostly induced by gut microflora-derived lipopolysaccharide, otherwise known as LPS. When alcohol is consumed in large quantities, it doesn't only impair liver functions; it does the same to the guts. This will then lead to damaged organs and perpetual system inflammation. 

The fact is that alcohol taken for a long time can cause inflammation to the joints of the body. When alcohol is taken, the body metabolizes it in the GI (gastrointestinal tract). This will disrupt tissue homeostasis, which triggers chronic inflammation in one's intestines, and it also causes joint inflammation, which is arthritis. So to deal with this is to take alcohol in moderation or cut off the intake to reduce inflammation.


Alternative Foods That Aid In The Reduction Of Inflammation

As earlier stated, it isn't all foods that trigger inflammation; there are other anti-inflammatory foods you can take as a good alternative to the ones listed above. These foods will help to fight autoimmune disorders, improve the symptoms of inflammatory bowel syndrome and arthritis. 

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The truth is that if you consume more anti-inflammatory foods then you are on the way to lowering the risk of sickness. But pick the wrong ones as listed above, you will accelerate the inflammatory disease process. The alternatives below can greatly improve your diet and help you in fighting inflammation:

  • Fruits and Vegetables 

Fruits and vegetables are a good source of natural sugar and the perfect alternative for processed sugars. Some examples of these essential fruits are apples, blueberries, and cherries. These fruits have in them both catechins and anthocyanins, which aid in inflammation prevention. 

Then for the vegetables, you can consume more leafy greens, sprouts, broccoli, Brussels as they are high in natural polyphenols, protective compounds, and antioxidants that are contained in plants. Better still, you can go for a Mediterranean diet that will provide anti-inflammatory nutrients that would be gotten from healthy oils, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

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  • Protein

Consuming proteins would do your body a world of good if you are looking to minimize the risk of inflammation. Studies have shown that eating more protein, especially from plant sources, can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Food that contains protein is easily metabolized by the body and some contain compounds like protectins and resolvins that produce anti-inflammatory effects. 

You can take fatty fish as they are noted to be a good source of protein. Fatty fish such are mackerel, sardines, salmon, and anchovies are recommended. Added to the list are poultry you would love. You wouldn't be going wrong consuming them.

  • Fiber

A food that contains fiber is another good alternative to the food listed above that triggers inflammation. Consuming high-fiber food will naturally lower inflammation by expanding the permeability and the PH of the gut. Taking fibers that are high in prebiotics works better with the body; this is because prebiotics, which are fiber in plant foods aid in enhancing one's health via reducing inflammatory signaling pathways. 

This kind of fiber can be found in inulin, oats, onions, garlic, chicory, and dandelion root. Fiber reduces the inflammation in the body by helping first to reduce one's body weight; then it will help to feed the bacterial bacteria that is living in the gut. It will go further to release the chemical substances that will aid in reducing inflammation in the body. 

Lastly, high fiber foods such as beans, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits can help with easing symptoms of gastritis, which is otherwise known as stomach inflammation.

  • Legumes 

Another group of alternative foods you can consume to combat inflammation is legumes. Legumes fight inflammation since they are loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds, protein, antioxidants, and fiber. Legumes like black-eyed peas, pinto beans, lentils, black beans, chickpeas, and red beans contain anti-inflammatory properties to combat inflammation. 

Though some of these legumes contain lectins that might seem difficult for the body to break down, the soaking of them in water helps to neutralize the chemical, which makes eating the foods very safe.


In Summary

If you wish to improve your overall health, combating the inflammation levels in your body should be among your top priority. One of the natural ways you can achieve this is by ensuring that you always consume a healthy, balanced diet. These diets will take care of your joints, muscles, and other body parts. As listed above, you will need to know the foods to avoid consuming to help you deal with inflammation.

However, bear in mind that each body differs in its constitution, so it will do you a world of good to come to terms with a food combination that would suit your system. You would need to start by limiting your intake of popular inflammatory foods and start slowly to introduce more anti-inflammatory foods to your system 

Inflammatory foods are those foods that increase your odds of having inflammation when consumed, and examples of these foods are sugar, foods that contain gluten, alcohol, and saturated fats. These are food groups that you need to avoid since they will increase your chance of inflammation. 

Though medications might do the magic, you can naturally help change the situation by eating foods that lower the odds for you. The fact with anti-inflammatory foods is that they are healthy and nutritious foods. So apart from them having anti-inflammatory effects on the body, they help to reduce the pains in the body, same with reducing the chance of dealing with other health issues.

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