As you may know by now, inflammation is both helpful and harmful. On the one hand, inflammation is the body’s way of fighting infection, helping the body heal itself. On the other hand, inflammation that’s left unchecked can be detrimental to your overall health. In fact, chronic inflammation increases your risk of developing serious health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and more.
How does inflammation reach a point where it is harmful to the body? More often than not, your diet is the culprit. Various foods and beverages contain ingredients that elevate inflammatory markers in the body. After a certain point, these inflammatory markers start to attack the different systems in the body. While sleeping enough, exercising, self-care habits, and healthy meals can counteract inflammation, it’s often difficult to recover from the damage. Fortunately, there are steps you can take, and beverages you can eliminate from your diet, that will help you lower inflammation in the body. The following drinks are pro-inflammatory and you should avoid them as much as possible.
Some people despise soda, while others can’t get enough of it. Some people drink as many as six 12-ounce cans per day! Sodas contain lots of refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, dyes, and high fructose corn syrup, depending on the variety. Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners, which are known for increasing inflammatory markers. One study proved that excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened soda increased the risk of inflammatory diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, a long-term study from 2013 monitored people who regularly drank artificially sweetened beverages like diet soda. The researchers of the study observed an increase in metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain.
The occasional glass of wine isn’t a problem, but drinking too much daily can increase inflammation in the body. For example, a 2017 study found that excess alcohol intake leads to intestinal inflammation. It did this by altering the function and composition of gut microbiome, weakening the intestinal lining. In doing so, alcohol actually comprised the integrity of the intestines’ mucosal immunity. Compromising gut microbiome can affect the way your immune system functions. If it influences the immune system to attack the body, you may develop an autoimmune disorder.
Similar to sodas, energy drinks also contain artificial dyes and sweeteners or high amounts of sugar. Regularly consuming lots of sugar is a surefire way to increase inflammatory markers in the body. Studies show that a high intake of refined sugar can suppress immune function and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, sugar-free energy drinks typically contain sucralose or aspartame, two artificial sweeteners that are inflammatory.
Drinks With Artificial Sweeteners
As we previously mentioned, artificial sweeteners have an inflammatory effect on the body. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame actually trigger the immune system in such a way that results in an inflammatory response. The Arthritis Foundation discourages arthritis patients from consuming artificially-sweetened beverages because they can cause joint stiffness by increasing inflammation. One study found that increased intake of artificial sweeteners, especially in regards to sweetened beverages, can cause subclinical inflammation.
This is a popular dairy-free milk alternative that people incorporate into lattes, smoothies, or in a bowl with cereal. It may surprise you to learn that people who consume a lot of oat milk have blood sugar spikes soon after consumption. Even if oat milk doesn’t contain added sugar, it does contain about seven grams per cup. The reason for this is due to the enzymatic breakdown of oat starch. If you love to enjoy an oat milk latte every day, you may increase inflammatory markers in the body. Because it increases inflammation and blood sugar, you may experience a crash not too long after you consume it. If you want to enjoy dairy-free milk alternatives, consider unsweetened cashew, soy, or pea milk instead.