I want Candy.

I want Candy.

Since high-sugar diets have been linked to increased joint pain, how does sugar cause inflammation in the body? To know, we have to understand in simple terms the role of sugar in your diet.

When we talk sugar, we’re referring to simple sugar, the element manufacturers place in processed foods. A partial listing of foods that contain sugar include:

  • bread, including hot dog and hamburger buns
  • yogurt and other dairy products
  • cake
  • fruit juices and smoothies
  • soft drinks
  • sweets and candies
  • soups, sauces, and salad dressings
  • tea and coffee drinks
  • alcoholic beverages

Soft drinks and juices not only introduce 36 percent more sugar into the average person’s diet, which causes more inflammation, but they offered no caloric or nutritional benefit. In other words, you’re drinking empty calories. The research also indicated that people don’t know how much sugar is in the food they consume.

“Sugar is in just about anything that's processed or packaged. Especially diet foods. With diet foods, they take out all the flavors, so they have to replace it with something. They do this with sugar. The FDA allows for products to be labels sugar free or no sugar is there is 1/2 g or less sugar per serving.”

An easy starting point to reducing or eliminating sugar is learning to read food labels. A rule of thumb when looking for sugar content on food labels is to know the 61 common names for sugar (i.e., high fructose corn syrup or other -ose endings), and where you find them on the label. If one or more shows up within the first three ingredients, it's to be avoided.

“Sugar is also tricky as a listed ingredient. There are upwards of 50 names for sugar on labels. Many people are just looking for the word sugar,” says Brigham. “Really, they should be looking for sugars, syrups, nectars, and anything ending in -ose. I've seen foods have as much as six different sugars.”

Now that you know a little more about how sugar finds its way into your diet, how does sugar create inflammation in the body?

Back to blog