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Is Sugar Bad For Osteoarthritis & How Quickly Does It Progress?

Osteoarthritis is a common type of chronic yet long-lasting cartilage or joint condition. Here, joint refers to the point, which two different bones of a human body come together. The ends of any bone remain covered with cartilage i.e. protective tissue. If a person suffers from osteoarthritis, cartilage breaks down to make the bones present in the joint to rub simultaneously. The condition thus causes stiffness, pain, and other related symptoms.(1)

Is Sugar Bad For Osteoarthritis?

Is Sugar Bad For Osteoarthritis?

Sugar products and carbohydrates rich in sugar, like cookies, processed cakes, and bakery items may change the immune response of your body to osteoarthritis. This reaction may cause inflammation and forces your strained joints to feel weak than before. Especially, white bread, white rice, and other food items made of white flour come with carbohydrates in a relatively high amount. These refined carbohydrate-based products produce glycation types of products, which stimulate inflammation.(2)(3)

Another study has revealed that honey, pure maple syrup, and other natural substitutes may appease the sweet tooth of various osteoarthritis patients without triggering any osteoarthritis symptom. However, added sugars may increase a compound referred to as cytokines to stimulate inflammation.

Hence, you need to read the food labels properly, as you may surprise to know that most of the food items, like candies, cereals, foods, yogurts, and juices contain added sugars. Accordingly, men suffering from osteoarthritis should never consume more than 36 grams of added sugar in one day. In contrast, women should have a maximum of 25 grams in a single day. Simultaneously, you should never rely on artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, as doctors until now do not know their effects on arthritis.(4)

How Quickly Does Osteoarthritis Progress?

Progression Of Osteoarthritis According To Involved Joints And Disease’s Severity

Progression of osteoarthritis depends solely on the disease’s severity at the time of your diagnosis, involved joints, and your overall health. You may follow a specific therapy regimen early during your disease to reduce the degeneration rate. Progression of your osteoarthritis to stage four may take many decades or years. Especially, osteoarthritis of your knees progresses rapidly in old age patients, patients with high body mass index, and in those, who have multiple joints involved.(5)

Progression Of Osteoarthritis According To Cartilage Loss Or Damage

If we talk about the early stages of osteoarthritis, damages caused to your cartilage reverse completely because of the strong healing capacity possessed by lesions, especially at your young age. However, once the lesions established significantly and after a specific age, it becomes difficult for your body to repair them easily. In this situation, osteoarthritis reaches to the worsening stage, where you experience an increase in risk related to cartilage loss. Accordingly, cartilage loss takes place in different clinical forms, which include the following-

  • Slow yet progressive deterioration of cartilages in several decades
  • Highly rapid deterioration, which leads to cartilage loss within only 12 months to 24 months i.e. rapidly destructive osteoarthritis
  • An intermediate type of cartilage damage, where the evolution takes place based on periods, in which the problem of osteoarthritis evolves at a fast rate. Secondly, there are a few of the periods, in which the evolution of osteoarthritis takes place at a low rate.

Osteoarthritis never evolves uniformly and hence, it is unpredictable. It may stay silent for a long period and does not manifest even though the joint seems to damage on X-rays. However, the condition related to osteoarthritis becomes worse rapidly over many weeks or months to reach a stage, when X-rays become almost normal. Thus, the imbalance between radiographic osteoarthritis and osteoarthritis-based pain makes both the understanding and evaluation of osteoarthritis difficult.(6)


To conclude, we should say that sugar and sugar-related products, along with the ones rich in carbohydrate make the symptoms related to osteoarthritis worse. However, if we talk about the progression of osteoarthritis, it progresses at a slow rate. Especially, the progression depends on the extent of cartilage damage in patients.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 16, 2020

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