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Sugar and Inflammation: A Common Link

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Sugar and Inflammation: A Common Link

Inflammation is a tool our bodies use to heal itself naturally. When we are hurt or sick, our bodies release chemicals to help fight off any harmful organisms, causing redness , warmth, and swelling. And studies have been shown that foods like sugar can also cause inflammation in the body - which is totally normal! Of course, if eaten in moderation.

What kind of studies have been done? There have been some animal studies that show a high diet in sugar leads to increased gut permeability and inflammation. And in a human study of 29 healthy people, they found that consuming ~1 soda’s worth of sugar per day can lead to an increase in inflammatory markers.

In addition, a systematic review from 2018 shows that many studies have liked consuming more dietary sugar (specifically from drinks like soda and others with high sugar content) with chronic inflammation. People with higher sugar diets have more inflammatory markers, called C-reactive proteins, in their blood.

Researchers have tried to understand how sugar causes inflammation. It is known that sugar stimulates the production of free fatty acids within the liver, and it is hypothesized that when the body digests these fatty acids, the compound that is created can trigger an inflammatory process.

Doctors have also found that different kinds of sugar can cause more or less inflammation. For example, some researchers think that fructose causes more inflammation than glucose, but more research needs to be done. In addition, sugars such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose can all contribute to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.

It's important to remember that inflammation is never caused by just one thing, and other factors such as stress, injury, medication, and other EDS/HSD comorbidities can contribute to inflammation. But it's good to know what can possibly exacerbate or trigger more inflammation (aka more pain), in order to do what's best for your body! So even if it's just one less holiday cookie than normal, the littlest bit can help!

If you believe you have symptoms of nerve pain or inflammation, be sure to consult with your primary care physician or other medical professionals in regards to your medical concerns. This text cannot and should not replace advice from the patient's healthcare professionals. Any person who experiences unusual symptoms or feels that something may be wrong should seek individual professional help for evaluation and/or treatment, or call emergency services.

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