Does blood sugar imbalance cause inflammation?

Sweet treats seem harmless enough, don’t they? It’s just sugar at the end of the day, and we have been eating it for centuries. I used to eat sweets all the time when I was young, and oh yes, I ended up with chronic fatigue syndrome!


The truth is no one wants to become a sugar addict, but so many of the foods that we eat and drink daily are laced with sugar. You can become unintentionally hooked until you start to crave sugar, and you have no idea why.

And when you have an inflammatory condition like autoimmune disease, sugar is like fuel to the fire and can perpetuate symptoms no end. 

This article will delve into how sugar can affect how you feel on a daily basis and the steps you can take to overcome sugar cravings. 

Blood sugar spikes 

Sugar is your body’s favourite fuel source as every cell in your body relies on glucose to work properly. 

However, as with most things, there is a delicate balance when it comes to glucose, and your body has a carefully crafted system to ensure that blood glucose stays at a steady rate while the rest is stored in your cells. 

When you eat sugary food, your blood sugar spikes and your body is immediately alerted. Your pancreas then releases the hormone insulin, which helps transport the higher amount of glucose from your blood to your cells. 

In the meantime, if you do need any energy, your liver and muscles have glucose stores so that you can still produce energy in times of fasting. 

And not all sugar is the same. Complex carbohydrates are made up of chains of sugars and contain natural fibres, which means that when you eat them, they take longer to digest, and your blood sugar is less affected.

However, when you eat sugar or refined carbohydrates, which are more likely to spike your blood sugar, then you end up releasing more insulin than you should, and you have that all too familiar sugar crash! 

The vicious cycle of sugar dependency begins, from cravings to highs and then those all-time lows where the only option is to take another sugar-crusted bite. 

And when that happens time and time again, with every sugary meal, your cells become immune to the insulin and decide not to let any glucose in at all. This state is when your blood sugar stays chronically high and starts to cause havoc in your body. 

And because your cells are starving, you feel hungry as well! 

You can’t access your energy stores, and you can’t use the sugar in your blood effectively either. You may feel tired, and then perhaps wired, never feeling refreshed or satisfied. 

Why is imbalanced blood sugar a problem?

Living with imbalanced blood sugar is like being in a relationship with a controlling partner. It likes to tell you when you should eat, how you should feel, and it throws a tantrum if it doesn’t get its own way.

Personally, I don’t want someone else owning my life, especially one that I can happily live without. Once you kick a sugar habit, you begin a life of freedom. You chose when you eat. You eat when you feel like it! Your emotions stabilise, and you feel energised. And best of all, you stop craving sugar! 

And not only will you have freedom in your thinking, but your health will be better for it as well. 

Widely fluctuating blood sugar causes unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, headaches, mood swings and dry skin. 

Do these sound familiar? These symptoms are also signs of inflammation in your body.

How does blood sugar affect inflammation?

Sugar in the blood is reactive and produces excess free radicals. Having free radicals is a natural bodily process, but oxidative stress occurs when there are more free radicals in the body than antioxidants. 

Oxidative stress damages the inside of blood vessels and creates an inflammatory response that causes further destruction. In addition, when blood sugar is high, the free fatty acids stored in adipose tissue become oxidated, which leads to further inflammation. 

This cascade of events can affect your organs, bodily processes and even your DNA. 

Why is quitting sugar so hard?

Sugar addition starts innocently. Even if you are trying to be healthy, you may be eating a ‘natural’ cereal bar every day that has enough sugar in it to impact your health. And once the alliance with sugar begins, it is hard to break free from it. 

You may think it’s due to not having enough willpower or eating for comfort, but the truth is you are up against your biochemistry as well. 

You see, when you eat something sugary, it stimulates the chemical messenger dopamine, which plays a vital role in how you respond to pleasure and rewards. 

From an evolutionary perspective, dopamine helped humans set long term goals and stay motivated for the duration. 

Unfortunately, its effect on sugar cravings is not quite so beneficial. Once you feel the pleasure from sugar and the dopamine hit, your body wants more. It gets greedy. It thinks it is for your own good and probably has no idea of the new lands we inhabit with an abundance of sugary treats at our fingertips. 

Life after sugar

I would love to tell you to eat more sugar, and you will be fine, but I would be doing you a disservice. Blood sugar imbalance damages your cells, brain and body, and the sooner you can reset yourself so that you don’t need sugar anymore, the better. 

When I work with clients, one of the first areas we look at is blood sugar regulation. If this isn’t in check, then healing from autoimmune disease becomes an uphill battle! You can find out more about my services today by booking a free discovery consultation

Given how vital blood sugar is for everyone, I have decided to run a free challenge in The Autoimmunity Community group

The Autoimmunity Sugar Reset will give you everything you need to avoid the sugar crashes and feel energised again! So why not join us? The challenge starts on 6th September 2021. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London W1G & Harrogate HG1
Written by V. J. Hamilton, Autoimmune Disease Expert | BSc (Immunology), DipION, mBANT
London W1G & Harrogate HG1

After 25 years of suffering from multiple autoimmune conditions that affected her energy, skin, hair and joints, VJ discovered after studying immunology and Functional Medicine and training as a Nutritionist Therapist that by uncovering the root cause of her issues, she was able to transform her health, and now lives free of symptoms.

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