Sugar and Inflammation: How the Two Co-Exist

Explore the relationship between sugar and inflammation in the body.

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Added sugar is known to have long-lasting effects when consumed regularly. In addition to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, high sugar intake is also linked to chronic inflammatory responses. Over time, low-grade inflammation can lead to more serious health concerns. Our Greenwood, IN primary care doctors discuss the relationship between sugar and inflammation in the body. Also, be sure to review our list of anti-inflammatory food recommendations to lower your sugar intake.

What’s the Relationship Between Sugar and Inflammation?

We all know that consuming too much sugar is bad for our waistline, teeth, and heart health. It’s time we turn our focus to a less-discussed, yet common effect of excess sugar intake: chronic inflammation.

A Look at Chronic Inflammation

To understand its connection with sugar, we have to look at the role inflammation plays in the body. First, you should know that not all inflammation is bad. Your body relies on this natural healing response to fight viruses and bacteria. Once your immune system begins this repair process, you’ll notice redness, warmth, and swelling at the site of injury or infection. These inflammatory responses, which result from short-term damage, typically let up after two or three days.

Those with chronic inflammation, on the other hand, consistently have more inflammatory markers in their blood. Researchers have observed higher traces of these markers in those whose diets are rich in sugar. Let’s take a look at how added sugar coexists with inflammation.

How Sugar Affects the Body and Causes Inflammation

Several reasons explain why too much sugar can cause inflammation. For starters, high sugar intake is linked to weight gain. Carrying excess body fat leads to swelling. Also, once sugar enters the bloodstream, it combines with protein or fat and produces harmful compounds. This end product is linked to both oxidative stress and inflammation.

High blood sugar causes the body to become insulin-resistant and store fat in the abdominal region. This type of body fat is widely associated with inflammation in obese humans. Additionally, higher blood sugar causes the body to produce inflammatory molecules in the central nervous system.

Maintaining an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Cutting back your sugar intake is an easy way to reduce your risk of long-term health consequences. Swap processed foods high in trans fat (such as white bread and soft drinks) for healthy fatty acids. Olive oil, avocados, cheese, nuts, and whole foods such as whole grains and brown rice are all great anti-inflammatory substitutes. It’s important to note that only added sugar, such as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, is detrimental to health. Natural sugar, which is found in fruits and vegetables, can actually have anti-inflammatory effects.

One popular anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean diet. This approach includes avoiding added sugar and incorporating a variety of anti-inflammation foods. The diet is far from bland, including fresh flavors and easy to make recipes. From quinoa bowls and salmon dishes to tostadas and even cake, you’re sure to find nutritious anti-inflammatory recipes that you’ll love.

Maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet is more than just regulating your sugar intake and eating healthy. Inflammation arises from a variety of factors. You’ll also want to monitor lifestyle factors, such as stress, medication, and excess fat intake.

If you’re battling chronic inflammation or want to learn more about following an anti-inflammatory diet, Supro Direct can help. Our concierge medicine services in Indianapolis help patients achieve total health through a more comprehensive approach to medicine. Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled physicians to begin your journey to better health.

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