100 lb. Club - Sugar and joint pain

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02-11-2012, 11:33 AM
I have been off of sugar for a week and my knees feel so much better. I have not lost enough weight in a week to make a difference. In the past, I have also noticed that when I go on a sweets binge, my knees start hurting.

Has anyone heard of a connection with sugar and joint pain? Has anyone else experienced this?

02-11-2012, 12:26 PM
There's some articles that link that with inflammation. Try googling "sugar joint pain."

It wasn't til you mentioned it that I remembered my own joint pain has been a lot less. Still sometimes, but a lot less -- but it's been years since I went low sugar.

There's also a shift in my tastebuds. Things I thought were ok before are now TOO sweet. It's like "Ack!" if I have it again. So I keep clear.


02-11-2012, 12:33 PM
I definitely notice it anytime I eat something with sugar or, even worse, sugar and white flour. My finger joints start aching within hours. Overall my arthritis is much more tolerable now that I've cut sugar, wheat, and processed grains out. I always woke up stiff and achy but that almost never happens anymore. Wish I'd known this years ago

02-11-2012, 01:05 PM
hmmm interesting! I'm embarking on a promise to give up sugar for a month, starting on the 15th.... A guy in our office was just diagnosed with diabetes and out of solidarity we're all giving up the white stuff!

how awesome if some hip pain disappeared in the process ~ I'll keep you posted!!

02-11-2012, 01:41 PM
I have osteoarthritis in my knee, and when I'm not eating sugar or grains the pain is much, much less. Most days I don't have any pain at all, and when I was eating sugar and wheat I had to walk down stairs sideways, it was so bad. I think there's definitely something to it.

02-11-2012, 01:50 PM
... A guy in our office was just diagnosed with diabetes and out of solidarity we're all giving up the white stuff!
Tracy, it is wonderful that you all are supporting him that way! We read so much here how our coworkers make staying on plan more difficult. What a refreshing change!

I am coming to believe that there is a correlation between sugar and my joint pain. Maybe that will help me resist. Overall, it is amazing how much better I feel after just a week of healthy eating.

02-11-2012, 01:53 PM
Just the other day.. on a health show.... they talked about how sugar intensifies inflamation in our body. It makes sense that we would feel better without it. Good for you, Cheryl. Feeling better is GREAT.

Lori Bell
02-11-2012, 09:19 PM
Wow, I never even thought about a correlation between sugar and joint pain but thinking back to my last sugar bender I do remember that my hands and fingers were so stiff...I could barely get a lid off of a jar. I've not had any processed sugar inseveral weeks, but if I happen to fall off the wagon again (lol) I'll take note if it happens again. I remember I used to get hand stiffness all the time but never really noticed when it quit happening so often.

02-11-2012, 09:26 PM
I have Lupus with an RA component. If I eat sugar I might as well stay in bed all day... serious pain. There is definitely a connection, for me at least.

02-15-2012, 04:44 AM
"Researchers at the Veterans' Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis tested pain tolerance in eight healthy young men. They placed an electrical clip on the web of skin between the first and second fingers on each volunteer. As one of the researchers gradually turned up the voltage to the clip, they asked each subject to say when he could feel any pain and when it became unbearable. They found that when they gave the subjects an intravenous infusion of sugar (glucose), their pain sensitivity increased markedly. They were aware of the pain sooner and experienced it more intensely.

"They then tested people with diabetes, who, of course, generally have higher than normal blood sugars. They found the same thing. Their pain sensitivity was much higher than that of people without diabetes." (Foods That Fight Pain, by Neal Bernard, M.D.)

02-15-2012, 09:23 AM
My dad has 4 different kinds of arthritis and bad, bad joints. When he eats a little too much sugar, his pain is much worse. He uses sugar substitute as much as possible now and it definitely helps.

02-15-2012, 01:25 PM
More reason to stay away from sugar!

02-15-2012, 04:12 PM
Thanks for this! Looking back I think sugar effects me too.

02-15-2012, 04:17 PM
I also wonder about other illnesses/immune system being affected by sugar.
I suffered with bronchial infections for years and years in the winter, never leaving home without two inhalers.

Since eating low carb/sugar, etc. I haven't had so much as a sniffle this winter and can't remember the last time I used an inhaler.

02-15-2012, 04:49 PM
I get terrible joint pain when I overindulge in sugar. To the point where I wake up in the middle of the night. I used to attribute it to aging, but I noticed a definite correlation to sugar consumption! When I stay sugar free or very low sugar, I am magically ache-free. You're not alone!

Arctic Mama
02-15-2012, 05:44 PM
Sugar hugely exacerbates my joint pain and general inflammation. It is a notable and fast difference (just a day or so) if I cut out sugar and then have it again, in the change in how I feel. As Val said, I might as well stay in bed all day, it is debilitating.

Sugar, grains, high lactose dairy... Just not my friends.

02-15-2012, 08:26 PM
When my doctor suggested that I try low-carb (but warned me not to go too low, but admitted he didn't know what was too low) I started experimenting with different carb-levels. I saw tremendous improvement to my pain levels and other health issues as well, but wondered were ALL carbs to blame for my symptoms or only certain carbs, so I started experimenting not only with different carb levels, but with different carb choices, and I've discovered that for me:

wheat is the worst trigger. Even small amounts of wheat can trigger joint pain and skin issues (itchiness, redness, swelling, flaking, and without steroid treatment it becomes an impetigo-like, oozy rash that hubby calls face rot. It burns like fire and yet itches so bad that it's hard to keep from clawing my face off, and the yellow crusting ooze is just horrifically disgusting).

I tried rye wasa (no-wheat) bread to see if wheat was the problem, or whether perhaps it was gluten. I did react to rye as severely as wheat. I have not tried barley, because it's also a gluten grain, and I didn't reallly want to risk it. I was tested for celiac disease, and tested negative. So I may have a gluten sensitivity or I may just coincidentally be allergic to both wheat and rye. Or the rye was contaminated with wheat and it didn't show up on the ingredient list. I do not react to corn or rice as long as I keep portions reasonable.

second to wheat is refined sugar. It doesn't cause as dramatic a reaction as wheat, but it's still very noticeable and life-altering. My skin does have some of the same issues and I may still have to use the steroid cream to prevent redness and flaking. I have more flares of pain and fatigue and respiratory and irritable bowel symptoms.

coming in a rather distant third is "healthy, whole-grain/whole food carbs." If I eat too many servings of non-gluten whole grains, or starchy foods like potatoes, or even too much fruit, I will notice an aggravation of symptoms, but it takes a much larger quantity. It all seems to be sugar-related (or starch-related and starch breaks down into sugar so I see it all as a sugar issue). It takes more sweet potato than white potato, it takes more fruit than dried fruit, it takes more fruit than grains... so it does seem to be a matter of blood sugar control. Eating low-glycemic helps, but overall carb count matters too.

Keeping a detailed food and symptom log really has been vital in learning to recognize patterns.

I feel best eating paleo - and while I do include some modern foods, it's a tightrope walk, that I'm always tweaking. Ironically, the better I do in avoiding non-paleo foods, the worse I feel when I do indulge, and the smaller amount it takes to notice negative consequences.

There are some triggers I can't control (weather and sleep are my biggest triggers for pain, fatigue, and brain fog - even more so than the wheat. I do what I can to have good sleep habits, but a few days of insomnia or a drastic weather change can really wipe me out). Hubby and I have even joked about selling everything we have and giving up our apartment to buy and live in a nice rv, and become the opposite of storm-chasers. We'd chase stable, comfortable weather instead. The idea is really a pipe-dream though, because I think "living on the road" unless we had a couple million dollars to buy a really high-tech dreamhome rv, would make eating healthfully a challenge.

02-16-2012, 02:12 PM
I have definately noticed a decrease in joint pain when I'm off the sugar. I've also noticed that my fibrocystic breast pain is much better too, but that's another story!

02-16-2012, 02:31 PM
Without succumbing to reading research (I can't handle it! :) ), I can speak from personal experience that my husband's arthritis is much better. He's relatively young (39) but has joints of a 65 year old, so said his orthopedic surgeon. When he refrains from sugar and white flour he does so much better.

As well, a family friend has a more uncommon type of arthritis where the medication was costing an arm and a leg and compromised her immune system, which meant she couldn't be around her grandbabies as much. She is off the medication and controls is strictly by eating a "clean" diet.

02-16-2012, 03:08 PM
Thanks for posting this. I've been experiencing joint pain lately- I will have to cut out all sugar and see if it improves. Thank you.

02-16-2012, 03:43 PM
Thank you all so much for your input. I am glad to learn that others have seen the correlation between sugar and joint pain.