The Connection Between Sugar, Acidity, and Inflammation. By: Dr. Hardick
Sugar Wrecks pH Balance: Research shows an alkaline state is healthier for your body, and most tissues and cells maintain an alkaline pH balance. Sugar does the opposite: It imbalances pH and makes you more acidic, increasing your risk for numerous problems including kidney stones, chronic inflammation, and oxidative stress. Research shows an alkaline pH is healthier for your body. Sugar makes pH more acidic.The pH of your blood is tightly regulated and usually stays around 7.35 to 7.45.When experts talk about acidic or alkaline foods, they refer to your urinepH, since blood pH stays relatively stable. Urine pH provides clues about numerous things include cellular health and nutrient status.
However, excess sugar can lower pH betweencells. Excess sugar also creates sodium and potassium imbalances, contributing to that more acidic environment. Combine that with lostcalcium in the urine and decreased sodium bicarbonate (the body’s major buffer) and you’ve got a perfect recipe for metabolic acidosis.
Coupled with fewer higher-alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables, your body becomes more acidic while lowering its main buffer (serum bicarbonate). Metabolic stress ensues in your liver, pancreas, kidneys, and other organs.
Studies show overall people who eat more refined sugar consume fewer fruits and vegetables, creating sodium to potassium imbalances that mess with your body’s buffering system, creating – you guessed it – an even more acidic environment between your cells.
An acidic environment also stresses your body out. Sugar-triggered metabolic acidosis raises your stress hormone cortisol, keeping your body on high alert and cranking out more free radicals that damage mitochondria (your cells’ energy plants) while accelerating aging and ramping up fat storage.
Acidity also flips the switch for cytokine production, spiking inflammation and free radical production. An acidic environment also stresses out your liver, kidneys, pancreas, and other organs, ramping up those inflammatory and oxidative stress pathways, damaging cells and sometimes leading to cancer.
Sugar, Chronic Inflammation, and Oxidative Stress: The acidic environment excess sugar creates contributes to two major killers that often occur together: Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.Chronic inflammation plays a role in every disease on the planet. Numerous culprits contribute to chronic inflammation, including insufficient sleep, lack of exercise, and stress.
So does sugar. Excessive amounts can also increase oxidative stress, creating an antioxidant imbalance that leads to metabolic damage. Oxidative stress weakens your antioxidant defense, dampening your body’s ability to clean up this oxidative damage. Studies also link oxidative stress to obesity and chronic diseases like cancer. That particularly becomes true when you eat a diet low in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and antioxidant-rich foods like vegetables.
Sugar and Disease: So, sugar makes your body acidic, which increases chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, spiking obesity and nearly every disease on the planet. Consequently, obesity and disease increase chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, creating a vicious cycle.
What ensues is often catastrophic and sometimes deadly. Insulin resistance, which paves the path for Type 2 diabetes and other problems, might be sugar’s biggest culprit. Many overweight or obese people also have some form of insulin resistance, which becomes a major player for inflammation.
None of this occurs in a vacuum. Metabolic syndrome – an umbrella term that affects 34 million Americans and includes insulin resistance but also high blood sugar levels, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, weight gain, and high uric acid levels – also increases inflammation and oxidative stress.
Taubes, like some other experts and recent studies, pins sugar as the chief driver for insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
Many studies particularly blame fructose. Yes, fruit contains fructose, but getting 15 grams of this simple sugar from an apple becomes far different than a soda. For one, that apple comes packaged with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that buffer its fructose load.