Does sugar make rheumatoid disease worse?

arthritis autoimmune autoimmune disorder chronic pain joint pain rheumatoid rheumatoid arthritis rheumatoid diet rheumatoid disease rheumatoid treatment sugar

lilac green and blue cupcakes

We have bad news for you. 

Sugary foods can increase rheumatoid pain. 

Sugar increases inflammation. Inflammation exacerbates the symptoms of joint pain. 

A diet high in sugar can lead to chronic, low-grade inflammation. Swollen joints are one of the main symptoms of rheumatoid disease (aka rheumatoid arthritis). 

The goal of many rheumatoid treatments is to reduce inflammation, and in turn, reduce pain.

So how can you  - realistically -  reduce your sugar intake?

Some rheumatoid diets suggest cutting out sugar altogether. 

This is difficult for many rheumatoid patients (including all of us here at Women with Rheumatoid Disease!). 

It is hard to resist delicious desserts, sweets and candy when you are feeling exhausted or down from living with rheumatoid. 

We have found it much easier to cut down on sugar, rather than attempting to cut it out entirely, failing after a few days and binging on a pile of cakes. 

A good place to start is to become aware of how much sugar you eat in a day. 

Cutting out sugar in tea or coffee is an easy way to reduce your daily sugar intake. You can also dilute fruit juice with water (we love cranberry or apple juice mixed with sparkling water), and switch out sugary sodas for diet drinks or water. 

Eating a healthy diet, full of protein, leafy green vegetables and whole fats will leave you feeling fuller for longer, reducing the sugar cravings that make you reach for that afternoon chocolate. 

If you aren’t well enough to cook homemade meals from scratch, you could buy ready meals. Look for options with low sugar content. You are aiming to stay under 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. 

When you check the ingredients label, look for words like Dextrose, Fructose, Galactose, Glucose, Lactose, Maltose and Sucrose. These are all other words for sugar. 

You may be surprised by how much hidden sugar you find in savory things like sauces. 

It is hard to reduce sugar intake, but the long term effects are worth it in terms of reducing inflammation, pain, and pressure on rheumatoid joints.

Shame it's so delicious.


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