Nutrition as Medicine: Removing Sugary Foods

  • In my last blog we talked about adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet in an effort to reduce inflammation.  Today, we will talk about something you need to remove from your diet: sugar.

    Sugary foods include the sugar you put in your coffee or candy.  They can also be found in other refined carbohydrates like white flour, white rice or cereals.  These types of sugary foods can increase levels of cytokines and other inflammatory compounds.  In many instances, an excess of these types of foods in the diet can lead to excessive weight gain, which also increases inflammation in the body.

    In order to avoid these types of foods, you have to check your labels.  Look for terms like brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar or syrup. 

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    These terms, along with the number of grams of sugar found on the nutrition label, will make it clear how much added sugar is present.  Choosing whole grains and whole wheat over processed or white flours is also a great way to eliminate some of the sugars from your diet.

    In nature, simple carbohydrates are found in milk,  fruits and vegetables.  These kinds of natural simple carbohydrates also have nutrients, vitamins and minerals and are a good addition to a healthy diet.  Many fruits and vegetables also have added anti-inflammatory properties.  This is why "low carb" diets that don't address the "big picture" of inflammation are not the best for IBD.

    If you stick to whole foods as opposed to convenience foods, you can eliminate a lot of the refined sugars from your diet.  So, if you are craving something sweet, opt for a handful of berries over a candy bar and you can kick the craving and inflammation.

Published On: February 24, 2014