The holidays are a time for indulgence, and for many of us, that means enjoying all of the sweet treats that come along with the season. But before you reach for that next sugar-laden cookie, it’s important to consider the not-so-sweet side of sugar.

How Does Sugar Affect Your Body? 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American consumes nearly 50 pounds of sugar per year. And while most of us know that excessive sugar intake can lead to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, many are unaware of the impact that it can have on our joint health.

When we consume large amounts of processed sugars, our bodies release a pro-inflammatory protein called cytokine. This protein can lead to swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints, making everyday activities more difficult and painful. In addition to joint pain, a high sugar diet can also contribute to chronic inflammation, where the body’s own immune system becomes overactive and starts attacking healthy cells.

Chronic Inflammation Affects More than Physical Health

Chronic inflammation can have a range of negative effects on our health, including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, body pain, fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues, weight gain, and frequent infections. So if you’ve been feeling unwell or experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s worth considering your sugar intake and taking steps to reduce it.

Not All Sugars are the Same

Of course, it’s important to remember that not all sugars are created equal. Natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables offer a steady source of energy to our cells, and can actually be beneficial for our health when consumed in moderation. The key is to read food labels carefully and look for added sugars, which are often hidden in processed and packaged foods. Common names for added sugars include sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, dextrose, maltose, and rice syrup, among others.

Reduce Inflammation and Improve Health

If you’re looking to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health, there are several steps you can take. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, following an anti-inflammatory diet, quitting smoking, and taking natural supplements are all effective ways to reduce inflammation and support your body’s natural healing processes.

So go ahead and enjoy those holiday treats, but remember to do so in moderation. Your joints (and the rest of your body) will thank you!