Are you a big fan of candy? Do you enjoy the feeling of chewing on these sugary treats to satisfy your sweet tooth? Well, bad news for gout sufferers. You’re not allowed to eat them as much. This is because candy is primarily made with sugar often in the form of high fructose corn syrup which may elevate uric acid levels in the body. The higher the uric acid, the more chances that you will experience a gout attack.
In addition, candy is considered a processed food. It contains other ingredients you might not really be familiar with. The hallmark of a healthy gout diet is eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and dairy. Candy is not considered a whole food which means that you should not add it to your diet.
Why Candy is Bad for Gout
Here are more reasons why candy is bad for gout.
Candy may lead to weight gain
It’s easy to overeat on candy. You think you’re not eating that much because it’s such small pieces, but it can quickly add up if you’re eating one every few hours. If you’re the type of binge, candy is a dangerous food item to have in your house. One piece is never enough, and it may quickly lead to weight gain. And being overweight or even obese is not good for gout. It puts a strain on your joints and makes you more prone to other conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Candy leaves little room for healthier foods
Eating a lot of candy means you’re missing out on other foods that could be more beneficial to your health. There is very little vitamins and minerals found in candy. If you are satisfying your hunger with candy, you leave no room for other foods to nourish your body. This may lead to deficiency in vitamins A, C, iron, and calcium. Sugar is also bad for your bones. It causes your body to be acidic and when you’re acidic, the body automatically pulls calcium from your bones. You don’t want to have poor bone health on top of having painful joints. That’s a bad combo!
Candy makes you hungrier
Related to the two points above, candy will make you feel hungrier. Sure, you are satisfying your taste buds with candy but you’re not really filling your stomach. As a result, you eat more to fill that hunger. Sugar in candy also burns much faster in the body making you feel even more hungry. It may also destroy the fat hormone called leptin whose job is to inhibit hunger.
Candy contains saturated fats
Candy isn’t just made of sugar. Some of it is made with fats too! Consuming foods high in saturated fat may increase your risk for high cholesterol. High cholesterol leads to other problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Let’s put this into perspective. The recommended amount of saturated fat intake per day is 10% of your daily caloric intake. Let’s say your caloric intake per day should be 1,500 calories. If you’re having 100grams of milk chocolate that contains 19g of saturated fat, it may put you above your allowed limit since you also have to count the other foods that you ate for that day that contain saturated fat. This can include meat, butter, dairy products, and certain oils.
Candy leads to joint pain
A sign that you may have had too much candy is you experience joint pain. This is because sugar causes systemic inflammation. As a result, you might feel more pain in your joints. There was one study showing that patients who had rheumatoid arthritis cited sweets as one of the things that worsened their symptoms.
Candy causes sleep issues
The sugar in candy gives you a high that’s very unsustainable. You feel hyper for a few hours but later on, you feel sluggish, and you just want to sleep. It’s no surprise that sugar may affect your quality of sleep too. Glycemic control is one of the factors that affect our sleep cycles and if that is poorly regulated because of sugar, you will definitely have a hard time getting good sleep. Less sleep means you’re more prone to stress, and more stress may lead to more sugar binging. It’s a dangerous cycle you don’t want to get into.
Candy causes you to be lethargic
Since we’re on the topic of rest, we might as well talk about energy regulation. A result of eating too much candy is fatigue and low energy. This is not good if you have gout. Movement is very important for gout sufferers because aside from helping you maintain weight; it also allows you to loosen up those tight joints. For you to have any kind of motivation to get moving, you must reduce your sugar intake.
Candy may cause high blood pressure
Foods containing sugar have a strong association with high blood pressure and hypertension. These two are correlated with gout as well. If you’re already consuming lots of sugar and you have gout, it’s not impossible for you to develop blood pressure problems later on.
Are There Healthier Alternatives to Candy?
Definitely! You can satisfy your sweet cravings by eating fruit instead. It’s nature’s candy and it contains vitamins and minerals that are not present in processed food like candy.
In the beginning, it’ll be hard to make the switch from candy to fruit. This is because candy is more sweet and very convenient to consume. You just remove the wrapper and eat as much as you want. But that’s not the worst part of it. Sugary foods like candy are made to be addictive. It’s not your fault you can’t help yourself with just one piece of candy. Food manufacturers spend millions to create just the right formulas to get you hooked on their products. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving more even if you promised to eat just one a day. These addictive foods are just designed this way. You must consume more in order to feel the same high from it.
Fruits, however, are more straightforward. They’re natural and they’re healthy. You can consume them in different ways depending on what you’re having. And they might not be as sweet as you want them to be. This is because your taste buds have been accustomed to the highly sweet taste of candy. But try it! Cut down your candy consumption and slowly replace it with fruit. Once you have completely made the switch to fruit only, you’ll find that it’s more satisfying to eat and you won’t crave sweets as much.
You can also consume dried fruits. These might me much sweeter than normal fruit but they’re not as bad as candy.
What If You Can’t Give Up Candy?
It’s okay if you don’t completely get rid of candy from your diet. You can treat yourself once in a while. But you want that treat to count so opt for healthier candy options that don’t contain artificial flavor or colors. You’ll be surprised at how much of the candy in the market these days is just pure sugar. Some worst offenders are candy corn, gummy bears, jellybeans, and smarties.
More better options would be those that don’t contain as much sugar such as dark chocolate, peanut M&M’s, Snickers, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. These aren’t just empty calories as some of them contain antioxidants, protein, and fiber. They’re also likely to leave you feeling more satisfied. Choose wisely. You want candy that you will truly enjoy in moderation.
Another way to curb your candy cravings is by dealing with your stress in other ways. Do you notice yourself reaching for sweets the moment you feel stressed? This is because sweets like candy activate the reward centers of your brain. A healthier way to cope with stress is by doing deep breathing exercises, taking a walk, watching a funny show, or talking to a friend. These are more effective, and they don’t leave you that diet guilt the same way that candy does.
In today’s food landscape, it can be hard to keep a healthy gout diet. Junk food has become the norm because it’s more accessible. Food manufacturers work so hard to make us think there is nothing wrong with eating these. But the truth is, it’s slowly killing us.
Your job is to advocate for yourself. Do your own research and do not be tricked by clever marketing. You know the reality of your situation and that candy is not considered a good part of your diet. Consider quitting today and find healthier alternatives that we discussed above.
Are you a big candy lover or not? What are your favorite ones and how often do you consume them? Do you experience any difference in your symptoms after you consume candy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris