The Other I

September 9, 2014

But I want!!!

Filed under: Diet,Illness and disease,Just Stuff,Osteoporosis — theotheri @ 2:42 pm

There are several things I’ve known for many years, but have cleverly managed not to put together.  I’ve known, for instance that:

  • possibly as much as 90% of long-term joint pain and arthritis are due to allergies
  • these allergies differ drastically among people
  • the things we may be allergic to might be obviously not good for us, especially in excess – like alcohol, drugs (both legal and illegal), and fast food
  • allergies might also be less obviously evil – nuts, red meat, various grains, night-shade vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, paprika, tea and coffee

I’ve also known that those of us not physically prone to alcohol addition often instead are apt to be vulnerable to sweets, in other words, to develop a sugar addition.

I realized in my early forties that my evening pre-dinner glass of wine was making my joints sore.  I never became a teetotaler, but I rarely now have more than a single drink in a week, and when I do, I immediately pay the price in pain and sleepless nights.  I’d rather be able to drink a little more, but in truth, my restraint has been more than worth paying for the price of remaining pain-free.

But about three months ago I developed a pain in my left shoulder and arm that has made it impossible for me to engage in several yoga stretches I’ve been doing for more than four decades.  I thought I must have strained a muscle, possibly carrying a bag of garden soil, and expected the pain to disappear quite quickly.  Well, it hasn’t disappeared, and its high time for it to be gone.
And that is when the terrible possibility crossed my mind:  am I developing arthritis as a result of sugar intake?   In other words, can sugar in one’s diet cause arthritic pain?

If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask Google.  The unfortunate answer is yes.  People with osteoporosis  are particularly vulnerable.

The standard medical advice is to eliminate a potential culprit for about four weeks.  If joint pain has disappeared or even significantly decreased, one may have found the culprit.  If the pain returns after a return to normal habits, that may be the trigger that has to be kept under control

WHAT!?? my two-year-old self is screaming.  No cookies with lunch?  no desserts with any sugar?  no apple pie?  no ice cream?  no chocolate?

I have watched myself occasionally play the same games that alcoholics and drug addicts play, that narrowing of consciousness that eventually reduces all reason to a total focus on the forbidden object, ultimately coming up with any reason whatsoever that results in surrender.  But I don’t have a weight problem, and I have never had to make a serious long-term effort to reduce my sugar intake.  I’ve never tried to go without processed sugar for as long as four weeks.

I don’t know if I can do it.

The avoidance of arthritic pain as I lope through my 70’s is a big enticement if it works.  But even to carry out the experiment to see if it does might be a challenge greater than I can win.

At the moment, I have 27 more days to go before I have the evidence one way or other.  If I never bring the subject up again, you’ll know it’s because I’m eating a chocolate bar.





  1. Wish it turns out the way best for you:-)


    Comment by tskraghu — September 9, 2014 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

    • Thank you. I appreciate your wishes. (And will keep them in mind when I’m tempted to chuck the entire experiment…)


      Comment by theotheri — September 9, 2014 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  2. Hope it helps you! I just love your blog, always interesting and insightful.


    Comment by Kathleen — September 9, 2014 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

  3. (Sorry, I hit return too soon. ) Your blog posts are such a pleasure to read, so enjoyable and thought provoking. Hope your arthritis is better soon. Kathleen


    Comment by Kathleen — September 9, 2014 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

    • Thank you. It means a lot to hear that I’m not always just whistling in the wind. Thank you for letting me know. TOI


      Comment by theotheri — September 9, 2014 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  4. I gave up sugar – or as much as I could bear in June. It has been easier than one might think – although, on my self-imposed plan, I am “allowed” natural sugars. Would you be “allowed” natural sugars? So, after a meal I have an oatcake and honey or a banana rather than biscuits or chocolate. Oddly, because I dropped processed sugars out almost completely, it really has been perfectly tolerable. So I am sticking with it.
    I hope it works – and i hope you feel it is worth it – and find some way to tickle the tastebuds in life beyond sugar.


    Comment by sanstorm — September 12, 2014 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

    • My goodness, we are absolutely on the same page! Not only do I distinguish between natural and processed sugars. I’ve even discovered honey and oat cakes. That or a handful of dried fruit and nuts.

      And you know, you’re right. It’s not as hard as I expected. I am only in the beginning of week two though. I suspect in the end I will make the same compromise with processed sugar (read chocolate) as I do with alcohol.

      Thank you for the encouragement – based on experience makes it doubly effective.

      On Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 9:49 PM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — September 13, 2014 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

      • … And I’m sitting watching the referendum coverage ploughing my way through a bag of almonds 🙂
        My no-refined-sugar guru says that good quality red wine has the least bad sugar in it. If you must have chocolate I suspect that fair trade 80% would be about the best 🙂


        Comment by sanstorm — September 13, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

      • Ah the referendum. I cannot believe how upsetting we’re finding it here. My husband is English but he was on the faculty at Edinburgh U, and he’s in anguish over the possibility of a split. But I’m not even British, and I’m feeling the same way. At least it’s not a war with military weapons. But I fear however the vote goes there is going to be fall-out.

        Makes problems with refined sugar look easy, doesn’t it?

        On Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 4:11 PM, The Other I wrote:



        Comment by Terry Sissons — September 13, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

      • Yes it’s very depressing. No matter what happens, half the country will be very down. I’m optimistic that the less vocal majority will turn up on the day and keep us in.


        Comment by sanstorm — September 13, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

      • Oh yes, 80% Fair Trade chocolate. Without question.

        Are we related, do you think? TOI


        Comment by Terry Sissons — September 13, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

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