Sweet Poison: How Excessive Sugar Consumption Harms Your Gut Health in Spokane Valley WA

Sweet Poison: How Excessive Sugar Consumption Harms Your Gut Health in Spokane Valley WA

Chiropractic Spokane Valley WA Sweet Poison

In today's world, sugar is everywhere. From sugary drinks to processed snacks, it has become a staple in many people's diets. In fact, the average American consumes about 160-180lbs of sugar every year! Most people now realize excessive sugar consumption promotes weight gain and diabetes, but studies are also showing the detrimental effects sugar has on gut health. In this article, our Spokane Valley WA chiropractor will discuss how sugar affects your digestive health, and offer better alternatives to help you make healthier dietary choices.

Sugar & Gut Health: The Scientific Connection

  1. Imbalance in Gut Microbiota: Your gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiome. These bacteria play a critical role in digestion, immune function, mood, behavior and overall well-being. A study published in the journal Nature (Sonnenburg et al., 2016) found that a diet high in sugar can lead to an imbalance in gut microbiota, favoring the growth of harmful bacteria over beneficial ones. This imbalance, called dysbiosis, is linked with various gastrointestinal issues, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  2. Increased Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut): Excess sugar consumption has also been linked to increased intestinal permeability, commonly referred to as "leaky gut syndrome." A study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology (Lerner et al., 2017) found that a high-sugar diet can disrupt the tight junctions in the gut lining, allowing harmful substances to pass into the bloodstream. This can trigger inflammation and a heightened immune response resulting in food allergies, neurological disorders, or autoimmune problems
  3. Promotes the Growth of Harmful Pathogens and Cancer Cells: Sugar serves as food for harmful pathogens in the gut, such as Candida yeast and harmful bacteria like Clostridium difficile. Sugar also is fuel for cancer cells as they have a much higher concentration of receptors for sugar. Excessive sugar intake can promote growth of these pathogens or cancer cells. A study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine (Koh et al., 2018) highlighted the connection between sugar consumption and the proliferation of harmful pathogens.

Better Sugar Alternatives For Gut Health In Spokane Valley WA

  1. Fiber-Rich Foods: Instead of sugary snacks, opt for fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and helps regulate digestion.
  2. Fermented Foods: Incorporate fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir into your diet. These foods are rich in probiotics, which promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
  3. Low-Sugar Sweeteners: When a sweet craving strikes, consider using natural low-sugar sweeteners like stevia, xylitol, or monk fruit extract. These options can provide sweetness without the detrimental effects of excessive sugar.
  4. Mindful Sugar Consumption: If you must consume sugar, do so in moderation. Be mindful of hidden sugars in processed foods and beverages, and try to limit your overall sugar intake. Learn how to read nutrition labels to identify the amount of sugars and also ingredients that turn to sugar rapidly when you eat them.


Excessive sugar consumption can wreak havoc on your gut health, leading to imbalances in gut microbiota, increased intestinal permeability, and the proliferation of harmful pathogens. However, by making healthier dietary choices and opting for alternatives like fiber-rich foods, fermented products, and low-sugar sweeteners, you can support a healthier gut microbiome and overall well-being.
Remember, your gut health is a vital component of your overall health, and making informed choices about your diet is a proactive step towards maintaining a balanced and thriving gut microbiota.


  1. Sonnenburg, E. D., Smits, S. A., Tikhonov, M., Higginbottom, S. K., Wingreen, N. S., & Sonnenburg, J. L. (2016). Diet-induced extinctions in the gut microbiota compound over generations. Nature, 529(7585), 212-215.
  2. Lerner, A., Matthias, T., Aminov, R. (2017). Potential Effects of Sugar on Immune System. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 1-12.
  3. Koh, A., De Vadder, F., Kovatcheva-Datchary, P., & Bäckhed, F. (2018). From Dietary Fiber to Host Physiology: Short-Chain Fatty Acids as Key Bacterial Metabolites. Cell, 165(6), 1332-1345.


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