Pain from Soda?

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Most of us know that soda, diet soda, and the many flavors and brands of it, are not considered to be a part of a healthy diet. In fact, far from it. And, for those of us with knee osteoarthritis, it may be best to avoid it altogether.

If you’ve read some of our previous articles that took a look at the connection between being overweight and knee osteoarthritis, you may think that the issue with soda is the potential for weight gain.

Yes, that is true, as sodas a packed full of sugar- and when consumed in excess it can lead to obesity, diabetes, and even osteoporosis- however, there is more to it than that.

According to a recent study conducted at Harvard University, drinking too much soda can increase knee pain, especially in men. Researchers kept track of the soft drink consumption of more than 2,000 men who had a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis. These men were asked to come in regularly over a four-year period, where the researchers studied the progression of their knee osteoarthritis and measured their cartilage in order to check for any changes in thickness. Upon analyzing all of the data collected, the study found that the men with the fastest progression of knee osteoarthritis were indeed those who drank the most soda.

This information probably isn’t too surprising. It makes sense that men who drink a lot of soda are more likely to do so along with a not-so-healthy diet. In the western fast food diet, soda tends to pair well with foods that are high in trans fats, red meat, and sugar- Think of a McDonald’s value meal.

So yes, that makes sense. However, believe it or not, that wasn’t what the research found. In fact, the men who were the heaviest did not have the most knee arthritis. Those with the greatest progression of knee osteoarthritis were the soda drinkers that were thin.


You read that right.

The study found that the impact of soda intake on knee osteoarthritis is independent of the wear and tear on the joints that are caused by simply being overweight. So what is causing it then? What is it about soda that could increase the progression of knee osteoarthritis in men?


When a soda, which is high in refined sugar, is consumed this causes a major spike in blood sugar, which creates stress on the body and triggers inflammation. Add up that response to drinking soda several times a day, and you’re looking at a case of chronic inflammation and of course, increased knee pain and injury.

So does this mean that men with knee osteoarthritis can never drink soda again?

Though that would be a great idea, it’s not entirely necessary as long as your soda intake is very limited and is only an occasional part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle. That being said, when it comes to your knee health, you may want to think twice before popping that can of soda and opt for a nice cool glass of water instead.

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