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High Sugar Intake & Joint Pain

By Jessica Bruso ; Updated July 27, 2017

A number of things can cause joint pain, including injuries, arthritis and certain viral infections. In many cases, inflammation is responsible for at least some of the pain, so reducing inflammation can reduce joint pain. Making changes to your diet -- including reducing your sugar intake -- may help you reduce this pain.

Sugar and Inflammation

The American Heart Association recommends women get no more than 100 calories from added sugars and men get no more than 150 calories from added sugars per day. Diets high in sugar, saturated fat and refined grains and low in fiber and omega-3 fats may cause an immune reaction that may increase inflammation, according to an article published in the "Journal of the American College of Cardiology" in August 2006.

Sugar and Obesity

An October 2007 article published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" notes that diets high in sugar may be at least partly responsible for the development of many health problems, including high blood pressure and obesity. Being overweight puts more pressure on your joints, potentially increasing joint pain, and this is why people suffering from arthritis are often advised to lose weight. Diets high in added sugar provide extra calories without providing any beneficial nutrients. These extra calories can add up, making you more likely to gain weight.

Sugar Sources

A healthy diet can contain some sugar, but most of this sugar should come in the form of naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in milk, fruits and vegetables -- and not from added sugars. Foods containing naturally occurring sugars are also loaded with essential nutrients, including a number of vitamins and minerals, while highly refined foods containing added sugars provide little in the way of nutritional value. Although fruits and vegetables may contain some sugar, they may also help reduce inflammation and joint pain.

Diet for Reducing Joint Pain

A diet to reduce joint pain should contain mainly anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish and seafood, and healthy fats from foods like nuts, olive oil, ground flaxseeds and avocados. Limit cheese, yogurt, eggs, lean meat and skinless poultry to no more than once or twice a week and eat mainly whole foods rather than processed or fast foods, recommends the Arthritis Foundation.

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