We often talk about how important exercise is to keep your joints lubricated. At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates our favorite mottos are “move it or lose it” and “motion is lotion”. But what about our bones and musculoskeletal system? What we feed our bodies affects our overall health including our bones. Let’s take a look at some foods that may be harmful when used in excess.
- Sugar. Yep, sugar is bad for you. You’ve heard it hundreds of times and unfortunately, that sweet stuff that tastes so good can do serious harm. First, there are calories, and heaps of them. There are good sugars in fruits and veggies, however, adding sugar in any form (including the healthy-sounding agave) is a problem. That problem worsens if you have diabetes. Sugar may also affect your heart and dental health. If you have arthritis, sugar may exacerbate symptoms. Some studies show sugar may cause addiction and cravings compared to cocaine addiction.
- Next is salt. Sodium is a necessary nutrient for the body in maintaining muscles, nerves, and balancing body fluids. When used in excess salt becomes a time bomb. High salt intake has been associated with increased risk of stroke, heart disease, hypertension, swelling of feet, and overall bloating.
- Our next culprit is soda. The average consumption per person in America is 38 gallons per year. Yes, you read that correctly. The good news is the statistic is down 6 gallons/year from a decade ago so we are starting to be more health conscious. Soda, or “pop”, contains high fructose, a form of sugar, and increases your sweet cravings. Soda also contains phosphoric acid which weakens bones and teeth. Even diet soda is harmful as it contains acids, food coloring and for some sodas, caramel coloring, a carcinogen. A diet soda may still trick the brain and induce cravings similar to one containing real sugar.
- Caffeine is a tough habit to break. Ninety percent of Americans consume it in some form at a rate of 300 mgs a day. That would be about three 8 oz. cups of coffee. Caffeine contains addictive qualities resulting in it being named by some as America’s favorite “drug”. It’s even more popular in European countries.
- Last on the list, and you may have already guessed this one, is alcohol. While drinking small amounts of red wine have been linked with healthy benefits, there is an enormous downside to overindulgence, abuse, and addiction. Side effects may put you at risk for some cancers like liver and mouth. It may also cause poor judgement, hostility, depression, obesity, and lowered brain function.
That’s the bad news but don’t despair. On our next blog we’ll deliver the good news on how to keep your bones and muscles healthy with nourishing, tasty foods … stay tuned!