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The Sweet Danger of Sweet

People with diets rich in refined sugar may be increasing their risk of chronic inflammation. Research suggests that inflammatory markers in their blood decrease when people eat and drink less sugar. 

A high sugar diet can have harmful effects on health, such as increasing the risk of chronic diseases, weight gain, and tooth decay. These also include heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer's. It can also result in chronic inflammation, where the body's immune system activates, damaging healthy cells. It also triggers a never-ending cycle of junk food cravings.

 

Why added sugars cause inflammation

Studies suggest that some diets can significantly impact inflammation in our bodies. For example, some food reduces inflammation while others increase it. For example, a diet high in sugar might be a key factor contributing to chronic inflammation. 

systemic review study in 2018 reported that consuming dietary sugar, especially sugary drinks, is very much linked with chronic inflammation. In the study, people with high sugar diets have more inflammatory markers in their blood, including a marker called C-reactive protein.  

In 2014, a study reported that decreased sugar intake and reduced sweetened drinks would lower inflammation factors in their blood. These findings support the theory that sugar consumption contributes to inflammation. 

 

How sugar stimulates inflammation

Sugar stimulates the production of free fatty acids in the liver. The resulting compounds can trigger inflammatory processes when the body digests these free fatty acids.

Sucrose and fructose can lead to plaque formation on a person's teeth, decay, and cavities. Bacteria that cause cavities use sugar as food. Diets rich in sugars allow the bacteria in the mouth to grow and erode tooth enamel.

Drinking sugar-sweetened drinks can add a lot of calories to the diet but do not make the person feel full. This short-term increase in calories can lead to long-term weight gain. Instead, calories from solid foods make people feel fuller and reduce overeating.

When we consume sweetened foods, our body will absorb the glucose from the food into our bodies. The insulin then uses the glucose to provide energy for our cells. Yet, when there is too much sugar at once, insulin will store the excess in fat cells, causing them to be deposit more in the body. In addition, sugar stimulates the production of free fatty acids in the liver. The resulting compounds can trigger inflammatory processes when the body digests these free fatty acids.

Sucrose and fructose can also lead to plaque formation on a person's teeth, decay, and cavities. For example, bacteria that cause cavities use sugar as food. Diets rich in sugars allow the bacteria in the mouth to grow and erode tooth enamel.

Drinking sugar-sweetened drinks can add a lot of calories to the diet but do not make the person feel full. This short-term increase in calories can lead to long-term weight gain. Instead, calories from solid foods make people feel fuller and reduce overeating.

There are several ways sugar causes inflammation in the body. Here are the four detrimental responses. 

  1. Excess production of AGEs. 

When protein or fat is combined with sugar in our blood, it results in harmful compounds called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). Unfortunately, too many AGEs lead to oxidative stress and inflammation.

  1. Increased gut permeability

Guts become more permeable, allowing bacteria and other inflammatory particles into our blood more efficiently. 

  1. Higher "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Sugar and other inflammatory foods cause our "bad" cholesterol (LDL) to rise, which leads to more C-reactive protein. This causes inflammation.  

  1. Weight gain

Sugar can cause weight gain, which leads to excess body fat, leading to insulin resistance. This eventually causes inflammation as well.

How to limit refined carbs and sugar intake

  1. Replace refined cards with whole-grain alternatives like quinoa, oatmeal, and brown rice. Whole grain takes a longer time to digest compared to refined carbs. Thus, it won't spike blood sugar quickly as carbs.

2. Eat more high-fiber foods. High-fiber foods include vegetables and fruits packed with vitamins and minerals.

3.Choose food with a low glycemic index.

4.Stay active and exercise regularly; avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

5.Try to reduce caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate. 

 

Nutrition and Inflammation

You are what you eat! Choose the right food and focus on adding colors to your plate in the form of different fruits and vegetables, plenty of healthy fats, and leaner sources of protein. Avoid processed and packaged foods.