Sugar! People love it and it’s practically found in everything. The average American consumes 47 pounds of sugar and 35 pounds of high fructose corn syrup per year! We all know sugar is in foods like cakes and other desserts, but it’s often hidden in other “healthy” foods as well. Cereal, yogurt, Nutrigrain bars, protein bars, Gatorade, and many others, all contain it. Sugar-dense foods, such as these, are linked to heart disease and obesity, but they can also affect your joint health, as well.
High sugar diets spike your insulin levels. This leads to several biochemical reactions that can produce inflammation in the body. For example, when a person consumes a high sugar diet, it can lead to an increase in visceral fat, or abdominal fat. This type of fat secretes inflammatory proteins and hormones that create chronic inflammation in the body. If a person is injured and eats a lot of sugar, the healing process may take much longer.
Sugar also depletes the body of important minerals, like magnesium, calcium, and others. Muscles need these minerals for normal contractions and relaxation. Magnesium supports muscle and nerve function and energy production. Some studies show that the body requires 28 molecules of magnesium to break down one molecule of sugar! Therefore, a diet high in sugar can deplete the body of the magnesium needed for muscle contraction.
If you suffer from joint pain or stiffness, try eliminating sugar from your diet and focus on natural foods that haven't been processed. Any questions, please feel free to contact our Registered Dietitian, Tad, and he’ll be happy to go over anything with you!