Sugar and Inflammation

Sugar and Inflammation


Did you know there are 61 different names for sugar? These include maltodextrin, molasses, corn syrup, sucrose… we could go on and on. Added sugar is present in 75% of packaged foods in supermarkets, it’s hidden in things like bread, ketchup, and pasta sauce.

Is sugar addictive?

PET scans have revealed a decreased dopamine sensitivity in obese individuals, the heavier a person was the less responsive they became to dopamine. This same thing is observed in cocaine addicts and alcoholics! Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter involved in the pleasure and reward center of our brain. You might just be addicted to your can of soda every day!

How much sugar should we be consuming?

The American Heart association recommends no more than 25g of added sugar a day for women and 35g for men. This is in line with the WHOs Recommendation of less than 10 percent of calories from sugar a day – this is exceeded by every age group starting at age 1. With the average adolescence intaking 87g of sugar a day!


Fructose makes up 50% of sugar intake by Americans and this is not from eating apples, this is mostly from the consumption of sweetened beverages via high fructose corn syrup. Sweetened beverages are the largest single source of added sugar in American’s diets. Fructose in particular is damaging because it gets converted directly into fat in the liver and contributes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fructose from fruits is accompanied by fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins/minerals so this damaging effect is mitigated.


Inflammation is part of the body’s defense mechanism. It is the process by which the immune system recognizes and removes harmful and foreign stimuli and begins the healing process. Chronic inflammation is damaging to all parts of our body, this can be due to many lifestyle factors such as our diet, poor sleep, stress, and toxic load. Specifically, sugar has been linked to chronic inflammation and pain.  What does pain and inflammation from sugar feel like? It can present as joint stiffness, muscle aches, tightness, digestive discomfort, migraines and PMS.

Alternatives to refined sugar

  • Raw honey
  • Bananas
  • Maple Syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Monk fruit sweetener