Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Halloween is right around the corner, and that means that kids will soon be roaming your neighborhood looking for sugary sweets. It’s fine to indulge in sweet foods every once in a while, but you shouldn’t make sugar a staple of your diet. Sugar can have a significant impact on your spine health, so you don’t want to overindulge. Today, we take a closer look at how excessive sugar can negatively affect your spine.
Sugar And Your Spine
Unless you’re eating candy, you probably aren’t all that aware just how much sugar you’re putting into your body. Things like juice, soda, yogurt, pasta sauces, bread and other processed foods all likely have more sugars than you’re aware of, so you need to be cognizant of what you’re putting in your body. According to food industry experts, the average American consumes about 19.5 teaspoons of added sugar every day, which is equivalent to 66 pounds of added sugar every year!
So how can this consumption of sugar affect our spines? There are a couple of different ways. For starters, the overconsumption of sugar leads to our body’s release of insulin and other hormones. That combination can lead to an inflammatory response from our body, and inflammation can cause chronic back pain for a number of reasons. It can compress vital structures, inhibit healthy blood flow and even restrict movement.
But that’s not the only way sugar can affect your spine. Excessive sugar consumption can increase your likelihood for diabetes, which can weaken spine structures, or it can lead to weight gain. The more weight you’re carrying, the more stress your spine has to shoulder. This excess stress can leave you at an increased risk for spinal fractures, shifting vertebral discs or expedite the natural disc degeneration process.
Limiting Sugar Intake
The good news is that limiting your sugar intake and taking part in some activities that strengthen your spine is pretty easy. For starters, get in the habit of checking nutritional labels so you get a better understanding of the amount of sugar you are putting into your body. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 38g of added sugar a day for men and no more than 25g a day for women, so be cognizant of what foods you’re consuming.
Another way to limit sugar intake is to make sure water is your beverage of choice. Sodas are often packed with sugar or sugar substitutes, and coffee can be packed with sugar if you add creamer or sweetners, so try to stick with water or at least make it the beverage you’re consuming most throughout the day.
Finally, improving your diet isn’t the only way to protect your spine. You’re going to want to participate in some exercises or strengthening routines for at least 30 minutes a day, a couple of times a week. Your diet can help ensure you have the right vitamins and nutrients in your system, but physical exertion is what’s going to strengthen key structures and improve your spine. Diet or exercise alone won’t protect your spine, but if you pair the two, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of chronic back pain.
For more information on how sugar affects your spine, or to talk with a doctor about your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.