However, a 2017 survey of people with rheumatoid arthritis found worsening of symptoms with sugary foods, specifically desserts and soda. This could be because sugar causes a pro-inflammatory state in the body due to resultant hyperinsulinemia.
4 theories that link sugar intake with rheumatoid arthritis
- Change in the bacterial flora of gum and mouth
- Increased ACPA levels
- The blood levels of anticitrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA), a type of protein, are found to be elevated in many people with rheumatoid arthritis. ACPA triggers the inflammation and causes the development or increase in the intensity of RA symptoms. Some experts believe sugar causes ACPA to increase in blood, which worsens the RA symptoms.
- Impact on the gut microbiome
- Weight gain
4 ways to cut down sugar from the diet
Instead, try the following strategies to minimize your sugar intake:
- Keep sugary foods out of your reach: Do not stock sugary stuff, such as pastries, candy, and cookies, in your cupboards and fridge. Instead, stock your fridge with fruits. Fruits can help satisfy your sweet cravings and provide you with antioxidants, which can help reduce joint inflammation.
- Opt for bland foods and skip the sugary drinks: Opt for unsweetened foods or beverages, such as iced tea, plain yogurt, and unflavored oatmeal. Then, add sweetener according to your taste. This way, you can control your sugar intake. Skip the sugary drinks, such as sweetened sodas, and go for fruit juices with no added sugars.
- Read the labels carefully: Sometimes, fat-free or low-fat products are loaded with sugars. So, read labels while grocery shopping.
- Have breakfast and healthy snacks: Having a healthy and fulfilling breakfast in the morning can curb your sugar cravings throughout the day. Options include wholewheat bread with a fruit spread instead of a jam spread, oatmeal, low-fat yogurt or milk, eggs, a serving of nuts and seeds, and fresh fruits.
Levine H. The Link Between Sugar and Rheumatoid Arthritis. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/features/sugar-ra-link
Tedeschi SK, Frits M, Cui J, et al. Diet and Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms: Survey Results from a Rheumatoid Arthritis Registry. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2017;69(12):1920-1925. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28217907
Hu Y, Costenbader KH, Gao X, Al-Daabil M, et al. Sugar-sweetened soda consumption and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Sep;100(3):959-67. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25030783
Top Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Caused by Sugar Related Articles
11 Home Remedies for Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term disorder that progressively affects many parts of the body. Home remedies, diet, and lifestyle changes can help reduce pain and discomfort associated with RA alongside medical treatment. Home remedies alone cannot effectively treat RA or prevent the progression of the disease.
What Are the 7 Diagnostic Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis?Defined in 1987 and followed until 2010, the seven diagnostic criteria for rheumatoid arthritis are no longer in use. Instead, doctors rely on a new set of classification criteria for diagnosing RA.
What Is the Best Infusion for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?Learn the four most effective DMARDs for rheumatoid arthritis infusion therapy, which aim to control RA symptoms, reduce complications, and improve quality of life and lifespan.
Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Caused by Stress?Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by and result in stress, as well as other conditions such as gastrointestinal problems (IBD).
How Serious Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the joints and other body parts. If not diagnosed early and appropriately treated, RA can lead to permanent deformities, disabilities, and serious systemic complications.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) affects one child in every thousand annually. There are six types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis depends upon the type the child has and should focus on treating the symptoms.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Alternative RA TherapiesLearn which alternative treatments show promise for rheumatoid arthritis.
16 Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Signs & SymptomsEarly rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms and signs vary differently from person to person. The most common body parts that are initially affected by RA include the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet, and the knees and hip joints. Joint inflammation causes stiffness. Warmth, redness, and pain may vary in degree.
RA SlideshowWhat is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about treatment, diagnosis, and the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes and the best medication for RA and JRA.
RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
RA Home RemediesPeople try all sorts of things to relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain. WebMD debunks some of the common ones and lets you know what needs more testing.
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Lupus: Differences and SimilaritiesRheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus are two varieties of autoimmune diseases that cause flare-ups. While RA attacks the immune system on the joints, lupus involves many other parts of the body besides the joints. Common RA symptoms involve warm, swollen, and painful joints; morning stiffness in the joints or stiffness after inactivity, joint deformity, fever, fatigue, etc. Lupus symptoms include Malar rash (butterfly-shaped rash involving the cheeks and bridge of the nose), fever, joint pain in the absence of joint deformity, etc.
Sugar AddictionLearn about sugar addiction to see why we often crave sweets and binge on carbs. Learn how sugar affects the brain and get tips to combat your sweet tooth so you can lose weight.
Sugar QuizSugar lurks in surprising places. Take the Sugar Quiz to learn of the many ways sugar sneaks into your diet and see what you know about sugar and artificial sweeteners!
What Are the Four Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis?Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease categorized into the following four stages and classifications. Learn the causes, symptoms, and complications of RA below.