Sugar and Autoimmune Disease

Let me start out by saying that this post can be helpful to all people, not just those with autoimmune disease. I have been researching autoimmune disease and the impact of sugar. As many of you know, I have been trying to live a gluten free life due to the impact it has on autoimmune disease. While the research surrounding gluten and its impact on autoimmune disease is seen as controversial (by some, not all….my own endocrinologist recommended it), eliminating it from a diet can prove very beneficial. What I have seen, however, is that people will eliminate gluten and then replace it with gluten free junk food. Junk food is junk food. My quest to live a gluten free life has not been completely successful. I have limited how much gluten I eat and I have found that it has helped some, but I found that completely eliminating it (I had a period of time for a couple of months last year) made the biggest impact on my health. Could it have been a placebo effect? Sure, but even so, it’s worth it, right? At any rate, I typically fall into temptation when faced with sugary treats, especially donuts. We all know that too much sugar is not good for anyone. Processed foods are not good for people either. With this in mind, I decided to start researching the impact of sugar on individuals with autoimmune disease (and it affects those without it in a similar manner). Here is the truth about sugar:

Blood sugar imbalances can inflame the digestive tract, causing leaky gut. In turn, leaky gut may trigger the development of autoimmune diseases.

Inflammation in the body negatively impacts how the immune system functions. In addition, sugar compromises the ability of our white cells to destroy toxins. This effect begins within 30 minutes of eating the stuff and lasts for five hours.

Insulin spikes (from consuming sugar) can destroy the thyroid gland and adrenal glands. Insulin resistance affects our adrenal glands and they respond by secreting cortisol. Cortisol is the “flight or fight” hormone and if cortisol is over-used and abused (from eating sugar daily), this all suppresses pituitary function. All of this is pivotal for thyroid function (the hypothalamus, thyroid and pituitary work together).

I found this wonderful anti-inflammatory pyramid; it’s very fascinating:


With all of that being said, I have given up sugar for Lent. I do not say this to get a pat on the back or admiration, but instead for accountability. I truly want to improve my health. Even more so, I tend to stress eat when I am upset. Instead, I want to focus on God and trusting that He will provide for me and is in control. I am looking forward to growing closer to God and improving my health. If I am a little grumpy for at first please have patience with me. I hope you found this information helpful; please let me know if you have any questions.


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