Achey Knees

Achy Knees? Carbs May Be the Culprit

In All Health Watch, Arthritis, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article

When arthritis sets in, most people figure it’s just part of getting older.

And that’s what mainstream doctors will tell you, too.

They call osteoarthritis, the most common kind of joint pain, “wear-and-tear” arthritis. That’s because they believe it is caused by age and overworked joints.

But a new study shows this theory may be completely wrong. Arthritis pain may instead be caused by something you eat every day.

Being overweight is strongly linked to osteoarthritis. The extra weight is thought to increase the burden on joints, leading to inflammation and pain.

But some overweight and obese people don’t have arthritis. Scientists from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) in Oklahoma City wanted to find out if something in a person’s diet might be the cause, not “wear and tear.”

The researchers placed groups of lab mice on different diets. The mice stayed on the diets for up to 26 weeks.1

The researchers found that carbohydrates, not overall calories or weight gain, determined the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

And the type of carbs made a difference, as well. Sugar, in particular, caused more joint inflammation than other types of carbs.

Dr. Tim Griffin is an adjunct associate professor OMRF. He led the study.

The study reveals “how much diet itself affects (osteoarthritis) risk,” he said. “These findings give us new clues that there can be significant dietary effects linked to increased osteoarthritis risk even in the absence of obesity.”2

While the study involved mice, Dr. Griffin said it is likely the findings apply to humans.

The research was recently published in the journal Disease Models & Mechanisms.

5 Foods With Stealth Carbs

Osteoarthritis affects about 27 million Americans. If you are one of them, try reducing your carbs, especially sugar. It might not only ease your arthritis, but improve your overall health. Try to limit your carbs to about 100 grams per day.

It’s not always easy to avoid sugar. Some foods you would never suspect are chock-full of it. Here are five to watch out for:3 4

  • Granola: It’s often full of sugar and other carbs. A three-quarter cup serving might have 10 grams of sugar. That’s like spooning two teaspoons of pure sugar into your mouth.
  • Spaghetti sauce: Bottled sauces can be jammed with sugar. Be sure to read the label for brands with lower total carbohydrates. Better yet, make your own sauce from fresh tomatoes.
  • Dried fruit: It seems like it would be good for you. But a quarter cut of raisins has 31 grams of carbs.

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