We all know that sugar shouldn’t be a main staple in our diet. With sodas, cookies, candy, and other sweets, sugar can pose a major temptation. However, did you know it could be a major reason behind your back pain? Here’s some ways your sweet tooth may be causing you pain:
- Weight Gain
A diet high in sugar can lead to weight gain. Food or drinks with an elevated sugar content not only are unable to provide your body with essential energy, they also have a low level of satiety, according to The American Society of Clinical Nutrition (1). This leaves you feeling hungry, even if you have just eaten. As a result, you’re more likely to consume an increased number of calories, which leads to weight gain. This weight gain strains and inflames the back muscles and ligaments, causing a painful sensation. This risk of pain may raise with age, as the Obesity Society found a relationship between increased pain and increased BMI in adults age 60 and older (2).
- Higher Cholesterol
Those who consume a high-sugar diet are at risk for higher cholesterol levels, according to The American Society for Clinical Nutrition (3). While eating sugar every once in a while won’t wreak havoc on your cholesterol, a consistent amount of sugar being consumed can be a large contributor to increased cholesterol levels in the body. This could lead to more pain in your back. According to the medical journal “Spine,” those with above normal cholesterol levels report pain more often than those with normal cholesterol levels (4).
- Increased Risk of Developing RA
Your sweet tooth may lead to the development of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) in the spine. RA causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissue, which leads to painful swelling of the joint linings. Consuming sugar, particularly sugar-sweetened drinks, can lead to RA, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (5). RA can affect your spine and lead to debilitating back pain, so think twice before ordering a soda with your next meal.
- Increases Inflammation
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a diet high in sugar promotes inflammation within the body (6). When inflammation occurs, the affected area swells, which leads to pain. Eating too much sugar leads to this swelling and can be fixed by replacing sugary snacks with healthier options like nuts or unsweetened yogurt.
When you find yourself reaching for the cookies too often, keep your back in mind. This January, aim to shred the sweets to have your back feeling its best. If your back pain is interfering with your daily life, give Houston Physicians’ Hospital a call at 832-340-2134. Our Spine Solutions Center is the most comprehensive spine treatment center in Webster, Texas, and can help get you back to a pain-free life.