Soda and Knee Osteoarthritis

Soda and Knee Osteoarthritis 645d534e88c28.png

Soda and Knee Osteoarthritis

Research has shown a connection between knee osteoarthritis and the regular consumption of soft drinks.

In one of the studies that found this connection, the researchers kept track of the amount of soda consumed by 2,000 men diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, over a four-year period.

After years of regularly measuring their cartilage and accessing their knees health, the team of researchers found that the men with the fastest progression of knee osteoarthritis were indeed those that drank the most soda.

It’s easy to assume that the connection between drinking soda and worsening knee osteoarthritis is related to the connection that drinking soda has to weight issues and obesity. Of course, there is a research-backed connection between soda consumption and obesity. And, there is a research-backed connection between obesity and an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis. However, the results of the aforementioned study found that amongst the 2,000 men with knee osteoarthritis that drank soda, the men with the worst progression, were not necessarily overweight or obese. In fact, weight had little to do with it.

Most researchers purport that the reason behind the adverse relationship between soda drinking and worsening knee problems is the amount of refined sugar in these beverages. The high sugar content in soda causes a spike in blood sugar which creates stress on the body and as a result, triggers inflammation. In the case of daily soda drinking, this inflammation can become chronic.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Ok, that all makes sense, but this study looked only at men. So what about women with knee osteoarthritis that drink soda? Does it adversely affect them as well?”

Why, yes. Of course, it does. Furthermore, thanks to the research studies that looked at the impact of soda drinking on women’s health, we now have a better understanding of the intricacies of the relationship between high sugar content and inflammation. It involves a little something called uric acid.

Uric acid is a waste product found in our blood, that usually dissolves and passes through the kidneys, and then leaves the body through urine. Uric acid is created when the body breaks down chemicals called purines, which are found in some food and drinks.

Soda is high in purines due to its high fructose content, which causes the body to respond by creating more uric acid. Too much uric acid in the body leads to the production of crystals that are deposited in the joints, resulting in inflammation, increased pain, and can even cause gout, which is a form of very painful arthritis.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who consume soda on an almost daily basis, have a 75 percent higher risk of experiencing inflammation and even joint damage from uric acid.

And it gets even worse.

A study conducted at Tufts University found that women who consume three or more sodas a day have a bone density that is nearly 4% lower than those who do not drink soda. Not only does this decrease in bone density exacerbate osteoarthritis, but it also greatly increases the risk of osteoporosis. Yikes.

So what does this mean? No more soda…ever?

Though that’s probably a good idea, depending on your particular health issues, most doctors will agree that drinking soda on occasion is usually ok. However, for those of us with knee osteoarthritis, soda consumption should be extremely limited and exist only as a very minor part of an overall healthy diet.

That being said, given the connection between soda and obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, and increased knee osteoarthritis, the best bet for all of us may be to reach for a cool crisp glass of water instead.


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