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Easter, Sugar, Inflammation and YOU!

It’s that time where your shopping trolley fills with chocolate bunnies and bilbies, when the smell of Hot Cross Buns is too good to resist and when an egg hunt or hat parade is on your to-do list.


Whether or not you celebrate Easter, chances are, this weekend you’ll indulge in a little more chocolate and sweets than usual.


We all know excess sugar is no good for the waistline and by the end of the weekend the kids might be bouncing off the walls like a deranged bunnies too. It's timely to remember some of the other health implications of sugar, and how to manage our intake.


Sugar is a highly inflammatory food that can have long term impacts on your health, especially if you already suffer an inflammatory condition.


What is an inflammatory condition?


You may have heard that anything ending in ‘itis’ is inflammatory. Laryngitis, tonsillitis, appendicitis; these are good examples, and in all cases, inflammation is present.


It may be painful, with redness, swelling, heat and increased blood flow. These symptoms can sometimes become debilitating until 'fixed.'


Normally, inflammation lasts only a short time before the immune system takes over and fights off the infection, virus or pathogen, and we recover. Sometimes we need medications to help.


Chronic inflammatory conditions aren’t as simple.


In a chronic inflammatory condition the body constantly produces inflammatory ‘fighters’ even though they may not be required. The longer this continues, the inflammation itself becomes the problem and begins to damage healthy tissues and cells.


Chronic inflammation plays a role in the biggest health concerns of our time:

· Heart disease

· Obesity

· Metabolic Syndrome

· Type II Diabetes

· Cancer


Inflammation is a key part of auto-immune disorders like

· Rheumatoid arthritis

· Chron’s Disease

· Lupus


It also plays a role in less life threatening but still uncomfortable health concerns:

· Psoriasis

· Dermatitis

· Irritable Bowel Syndrome

· Sinusitis

· Asthma


What does sugar have to do with inflammation?


Diet and lifestyle play a role in the development of chronic inflammation. Processed white sugar and the many foods, drinks and forms it comes in are consistently recognised as ‘pro-inflammatory.’ That is, too much sugar from foods and drinks is associated with the development of chronic inflammation.


How much sugar is too much sugar?


The guidelines for sugar intake are

· 24 grams per day for women; about 6 teaspoons

· 36 grams per day for men; about 9 teaspoons

· For kids aged 2-18, the guide is simply to have less than 24 grams


We don’t want to rain on the Easter parade, but…


The dangers of sugar are something we should all be aware of. It’s important to know how much is too much, and how we can moderate our intake.


For people living with an inflammatory condition or at risk of those conditions, it’s even more important. And it’s something we should all bear in mind for our kids.


While we love Easter and all the fun and trimmings that go with it, remember to moderate your sugar intake.


Be mindful of exactly how much sugar your kids are eating, and balance it all out with some healthy anti-inflammatory vegetables, herbs and fibre rich foods.








Here are some of our favourite anti-inflammatory foods and herbs:






REFERENCES USED FOR THIS ARTICLE:


Esposito, K., & Giugliano, D. (2005). Diet and inflammation: a link to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. European Heart Journal, 27(1), 15-20. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehi605


Farhadnejad, H., Parastouei, K., Rostami, H., Mirmiran, P., & Azizi, F. (2021). Dietary and lifestyle inflammatory scores are associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome in Iranian adults. Diabetology &Amp; Metabolic Syndrome, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13098-021-00648-1



McConnell, A., Brown, C., Shoda, T., Stayton, L., & Martin, C. (2011). Friends with benefits: On the positive consequences of pet ownership. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 101(6), 1239-1252. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024506


Wellen, K. (2005). Inflammation, stress, and diabetes. Journal Of Clinical Investigation, 115(5), 1111-1119. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci200525102


Wu, H., & Ballantyne, C. (2020). Metabolic Inflammation and Insulin Resistance in Obesity. Circulation Research, 126(11), 1549-1564. https://doi.org/10.1161/circresaha.119.315896



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