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Sugar, Inflammation, and the Pain Connection

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Michigan Health and Wellness

Sugar. There are few people who don’t enjoy it in the many forms it comes in. Unfortunately, we aren’t just talking about people who have a sweet tooth, a big, sweet tooth. While there are individuals who really like sweets in the form of candy, chocolates, baked goods and soda, sugar is often hidden in other foods and can be just as addicting.


Sugar can be found in condiments, beverages, yogurt, cereals and process foods. (Gager, n.d.) Our bodies can also turn other foods into sugars. Carbohydrates that our bodies can change into 100 % glucose include bread/bread products/crackers, rice, pastas, potatoes, fruit and milk. This affects our blood sugar levels quickly within an hour or two after eating. (Cotton, 2019)


Labels often do not separate natural sugar from added sugars. Corn syrup, rice syrup or brown rice syrup, agave, honey, molasses, fruit nectars, fruit juices, fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, raw sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar and confectionery sugar are all sugars.


Pain and inflammation of many kinds is often treated with NSAIDS, think Advil®, Acetaminophen, think Tylenol®, Naproxen, think Aleve® or prescription drugs that can include Norco, Oxycodone, Tramadol, etc. with potential side effects and the possibility of medication addiction. Diabetes- a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine is often treated with prescription oral medication or insulin.


Inflammation can cause or worsen the pain of chronic and degenerative diseases. And if you are overweight or obese, you’re likely to experience even more pain than someone with the same condition who’s at a healthier weight, because inflammation is strongly associated with body fat, among other things. Modifying your diet to routinely include anti-inflammatory foods is a more natural way to try to help ease pain. (McQuillan, n.d.)

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process. During injury or infection, the body releases chemicals to help protect it and fight off any harmful organisms. This can cause redness, warmth and swelling. Eating too many inflammatory foods may cause chronic low-grade inflammation. This can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and allergies. (Brown, 2017)

Sweetened, processed, low-fiber foods, are high on the glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly different foods boost your blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that a low-glycemic diet helps reduce chronic inflammation as well as improving insulin sensitivity, fat metabolism and decrease the pain caused by inflammation. (McQuillan, n.d.)

So, it seems we have found the culprit. “Every time I study an illness and trace a path to the first cause, I find my way back to sugar.” Richard Johnson, nephrologist, University of Denver, Colorado. (Cohen, 2013). Excessive sugar is not just empty calories, it’s toxic. If sugar is so bad for us, why do we crave it? The short answer is that an injection of sugar into the bloodstream stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain that respond to heroin and cocaine. All tasty foods do to some extent-that’s why their tasty! But sugar has a sharply pronounced effect. In a sense it is literally an addictive drug. (Cohen, 2013).

The Solution? Stop eating so much sugar. When people cut back, many of their ill effects disappear. (Cohen, 2013) With the help of Functional Medicine and a Functional Medicine Practitioner, changing your diet, reducing your sugar intake and cutting your inflammation and pain is not only doable, but results can be seen with other medical conditions physically and psychologically.


Functional Medicine for the treatment of pain and inflammation caused by a poor diet and high sugar intake involve a relationship between a patient and their Functional Medicine Practitioner. Looking at more than just the symptoms, they discover the core reasoning for medical conditions associated with these dietary issues and what can be done to reduce or alleviate them. This could be through testing checking for other related disorders as well. Blood and other laboratory tests, medical history, review of lifestyle, environmental factors and diet both historically and currently are reviewed before a treatment plan is devised. When testing is complete, the patient and doctor develop a treatment plan that may include diet and lifestyle changes, supplementation and pain or body fat reducing therapies.

Diabetes may even be controlled or reduced. However, patients will need to work with their physician if they take medication such as Metformin or insulin that could be affected by dietary changes including sugar reduction.


Chirothin® is a physician supervised, rapid weight loss program that is even safe for diabetics. A healthy eating plan that uses real, healthy foods with no shakes or prepackaged meals, Chirothin begins with a six-week rapid weight loss program, then continues with maintenance and cycling phases. Participants can expect to see 20-35 pounds of weight loss in the first six weeks.


Pressotherapy is a simple, painless detox treatment that helps the body to clear toxins. It helps transport fat molecules from tissues and is a great alternative to liposuction. The revitalization and oxygenation of the tissue helps to slim legs, stomach and arms, enhancing skin tone, aids in weight loss, relieves pain and swelling and improves lymphatic drainage.


HOCATT therapy is a state-of-the-art Ozone therapy using powerful modalities to detox the body, improve circulation and strengthen the immune system. For pain and inflammation, HOCATT increases blood flow, delivers oxygen at the cellular level, decreases blood pressure, serves as an anti-inflammatory, dissolves fat and reduces stress plus much, much more. Up to 600 calories can be burned in one session.

CRYO 4S and Zerona

Cryo 4 S and Zerona are fat melting, skin toning and inch reducing therapies. These therapies are good follow up and maintenance therapies post Chirothin or for people who have fat, inches, cellulite or toning issues that cannot be achieved through diets or exercise.

To learn more call Michigan Health and Wellness for a FREE consultation. Functional Medicine, Functional Neurology, and their relation to the treatment of inflammation are managed by our clinical director, Dr. Tony Aboudib, DC. Dr. Aboudib attended post-graduate studies at Carrick Institute for graduate studies in clinical neuroscience, American Functional Neurology Institute, Functional Medicine University, Institute of Functional Medicine and Kharrazian Institute for graduate studies. For more information call 231-421-5213 or click here to go to our Contact Us page to schedule a free consultation.


Gager, E. (n.d.). Finding the Hidden Sugar in the Foods You Eat | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Cotton, M. (2019, January 3) Sources of Glucose | Kaiser Permanente Washington

Brown, M.J. (2017, November 12). Does Sugar Cause Inflammation in the Body? (healthline.com)

Cohen, R. (2013, August). Sugar, A not so sweet story. National Geographic, 82-97.

Disclaimer: The information provided in our blog posts is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. While we strive to share knowledge and insights on health-related topics, this content should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical concerns or decisions related to your health and well-being.