Do you get regular knee pain, hip pain, or low back pain? Your diet could be the culprit.
A new study from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) found that osteoarthritis (OA) could be caused by excess sugar and starch in your diet despite your weight. (1)
“We know increased body fat elevates risk, but we haven’t appreciated as much how diet itself affects the disease risk,” said Tim Griffin, Ph.D. “These findings give us new clues that there can be significant dietary effects linked to increased OA risk even in the absence of obesity.”
Even though the study was done on mice it could have implications for humans.
“It’s important to understand how our diet affects the health of our joints,” Griffin said. “We were surprised to see so many OA-related differences between the two high-carb diets even though body weight and body fat were the same.”
I’m not surprised. Anything you eat that is processed or refined can’t be good for you in the long run. I have written about this in numerous articles:
- Foods that Cause Inflammation: 3 Food Toxins You Should Avoid
- My Stance on Gluten
- Is Gluten Bad for You?
- Is Inflammation Causing Your Muscle Weakness and Chronic Pain
- Anti-inflammatory Diet to Solve Your Low Back Pain?
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition you can develop where your joints wear out and they become painful and swollen. As a result, OA limits your mobility and the activities you enjoy.
The main risk factors for OA include include poor posture, joint misalignments, traumatic injury to the joints, being overweight or obese, not getting the right amount of exercise and other conditions that can cause inflammation (swelling) in the body.
One of the risk factors I have written about in previous articles are food intolerances. Specific foods can cause the body to get inflamed. Although there are more than a couple of foods that can cause inflammation, refined sugar and flours (wheat/gluten) are definitely two of the top foods.
This study focussed on a high carbohydrate diet, specifically refined sugar (sucrose) and refined starchy foods (cornstarch).
Refined sugars caused an increase in inflammation in the blood, signs of arthritis within the knee joint, and an increase in the stress response (associated with swelling and tissue damage).
On a personal note, when I go camping, I don’t eat as well. I tend to have way more refined sugar than I would when I am at home in my normal routine. If I eat too much refined sugar for a longer period of time, my left big toe, which has OA in it, gets sore. When I get home and get back on track with my clean diet, the soreness in my toe goes away.
Gluten (in starchy food like refined flour and wheat products), in general, causes the small intestine to become “leaky” or permeable on everyone increasing the chance gluten can get into the blood and cause an immune reaction. (2) When the immune system reacts it creates inflammation. The severity of the reaction depends on a person’s genetics, age, levels of stress, lifestyle, the health of their gut microbiome, and their general state of health.
Because gluten can cause an autoimmune disease, and because it very low in nutrients, my recommendation would be to avoid it all together. If you know for sure your immune system isn’t reacting to it, I don’t see the harm in having the odd slice of bread or pastry.
If you’re eating plenty of fermentable fiber to support your good gut bacteria, enough protein and fats that help regulate appetite, there’s no reason small amounts of sugar should cause a big problem for you.
Now I’d like to hear from you, have you rescued or eliminated the above foods and diet they help your osteoarthritis?
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