Too much of a good thing is never, well, good, and that’s especially true of sugar in our diets. A recent study found that diets that contain a lot of sugar greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, even in healthy people. This might not come as a surprise to many of us, given the prevalence of heart disease and diabetes in our society. However, it turns out that lowering sugar intake can also reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong internally, but it turns out that sugar and other highly processed refined carbohydrates can instigate inflammation, sending false signals about your body’s health while potentially masking more serious health conditions.

What You Should Cut

While it might seem simple to cut sugar from your diet, it’s actually more complicated. Cutting sweets out, or even the use of sugar in baking or cooking, is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, sugar has wound its way into many foods—both savory and sweet. That includes (but is not limited to) breads, soups, low-fat diet foods. The best bet is to try to avoid as many pre-made processed foods as possible. Otherwise, you’re likely getting more sugar than you realized.

Additionally, don’t turn to highly processed artificial sweeteners. While it’s easy to find research both for and against their use, generally speaking artificial sweeteners only increase health risks, either directly or indirectly. Consult a nutritionist if health risks about eating them are a concern before you use them as a sugar substitute.

What You Should Eat Instead

Of course, it’s hard to cut things from a diet without replacing them. That’s why we recommend using natural, unprocessed and non-artificial sweeteners in your food. That includes:

  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • Raw sugar
  • Raw stevia

Yes, we included sugar and a sugar substitute on this list. The emphasis here should be on raw. Raw sugars are harder to break down and therefore pass through the body’s digestive system faster. Other options are including foods that have naturally occurring sugars in them, such as fruit. And generally, we recommend only eating whole grains, including oats, brown rice, and other similar foods.

Want more information about cutting sugar and reducing inflammation?

Be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our pain specialists. We treat many conditions and injuries of the back, neck, and spine by taking a whole-person approach to care. Our focus is getting you back on your feet in good health. In Maryland call 301.703.8767, or call 724.603.3560 in Pennsylvania to make an appointment.

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