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How Holiday Treats and Sugar Affects Bone Health

It's the time of year with treats and desserts overflow at luncheons, breakrooms, dinner parties, and more. And, in moderation, it can be a joyous time of celebration. But in excess, extra Holiday sugar affects bone health negatively.

How?

There are 3 ways, directly and indirectly, extra sugar affects bone health:

1. High Blood Sugar Affects Bone Health and Is Linked to Osteoporosis

For those who experience high blood sugars, either through Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes, or Hyperglycemia, sugar and carbohydrates may increase the risk of osteoporosis.

While this may be surprising to some, if you've studied high blood sugars, you know they simply wreak havoc on the body and cells. When it comes to bones, they are detrimental since they:

  • Affect Bone Turnover. Interestingly, insulin plays a positive role in bone remodeling and turnover. However, when insulin levels are chronically high, they inhibit the process. In fact, it's been found that within just hours of an insulin surge, the resorption and blood levels of osteocalcin (a key component of bone) decrease (1).
  • Weaken Collagen. Did you know that the collagen in your bone and joints can be weakened by high blood sugars? When they are chronically high, as with diabetes, collagen becomes more fragile and fracture risk is increased (2).
  • Increase inflammation. High blood sugars increase oxidative stress throughout the body, and this increases inflammation. Unfortunately, inflammation weakens bones (3).

2. Sugar Increases Calcium Excretion

For many years, salt has been the scapegoat for causing increased urinary excretion; a considerable risk factor for osteoporosis. However, it's now been discovered that the increased urinary excretion is balanced by an increase in calcium absorption when the salt-calcium balance is considered.

What's to blame for the increased excretion, then?

You've guessed it. High sugar intake and high blood sugars.

Sugar is now linked to osteoporosis since it increases inflammation, hyperinsulinemia, increased renal acid load, reduced calcium intake, and increased urinary calcium excretion.

After years of blaming salt, it's sugar and refined carbohydrates damaging bones (4).

3. Sugary-Foods Often Replace Nourishing Ones

When highly processed diets, full of sugary foods, are studied, it's found that not only are sugary foods consumed in excess, but healthy foods are lacking. Most people don't simply eat too much sugar on top of a healthy diet, they replace healthy foods with poor ones.

This is another way sugar affects bone health.

Instead of eating high calcium foods like dairy and greens, or high magnesium foods like nuts and cacao, sugar-addicts often choose foods that tear down the body. Unfortunately, many people eat an ultra-processed diet.

A recent analysis found that “Western” dietary patterns featuring processed foods were negatively associated with bone health. These diets largely omitted fruit, vegetables, whole grains, poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and low-fat dairy products while featuring soft drinks, fried foods, processed meats, sweets and desserts, and refined grains. This dietary pattern was linked to poorer bone mineral status, increased osteoporosis and fracture risk (5).

What Can You Do to Protect Your Bones from Sugar?

Especially during the Holidays, it can seem like sugar is all around you. Here's how to reduce it and protect your bones:

  1. Skip the extra sugars found daily in the office breakroom, cookie swaps, etc. Save your treat for meaningful celebrations and don't allow them to become a daily indulgence.
  2. Omit sodas, high-sugar candies, and high-sugar desserts from your normal eating habits. If you'd like, choose high-cacao dark chocolate, stevia-based sodas, or desserts made with healthy sweeteners such as erythritol.
  3. Choose high-nutrient foods every day. Even at Holiday get-togethers, you can choose foods that are good for your bones. Take a look at this list of foods that promote bone health including cauliflower, salmon, green beans, eggs, and nuts.
  4. Make sure to exercise to spur bone health and growth throughout the Holidays. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking, and resistance training, promotes healthy bones.
  5. Continue to take your supplements and Silical System. Especially during tempting seasons of celebratory foods, go on the offensive and fortify your bones.

Bottom Line

Yes, sugar affects bone health. The key is moderation and omitting extra high-sugar foods during the Holidays. If you'd like, pick a couple of special indulgences, and skip the rest. Then, keep choosing bone-supporting foods every day, exercise, and take your e Silical System. Take care of your bones this Holiday Season!

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