MoneyINC Logo
Years of

The 20 Worst Foods for Arthritis

Artificial Sweetener

When dealing with arthritis, this involves more than finding suitable treatment to reduce the pain and stiffness that comes with this condition. One's dietary choices should also come into consideration. Precisely as the cliche states "you are what you eat," there are at least twenty foods an arthritis sufferer consumes that are among the worst dietary choices they can make. There are over one hundred types of arthritis that affect the joints.

The most common among them are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that typically occurs with age. It directly affects the fingers, hips, and knees. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the hands and feet. Other known arthritis conditions include fibromyalgia, gout, lupus, and septic arthritis. Each of these is related to rheumatic disease. Arthritis sufferers have to contend with joint pain that also includes a decreased range of motion, redness, swelling, and warmth. Some types of arthritis have also been known to affect the organs as well.

Dealing with Pain

While there are medical treatments that help deal with arthritis pain, nothing truly beats a good exercise regime to keep the body moving. Along with it, a good diet avoiding the worst foods a person with arthritis can possibly take is also most helpful. In truth, arthritis sufferers who avoid the worst foods for arthritis find themselves not having to rely so much on prescriptions and pain relievers.

20. Red Meat

Meat is already a high source of protein as it is. As for red meat, especially what is ground up and sold in the form of hamburgers and sausage, this is even more so. Did you know when an animal is sent to the slaughterhouse that if there is any sign its health isn't at an optimal level that its meat will be ground up? Healthier animals with lower stress levels are more likely to be done up as premium meats, like steak, as opposed to animals that don't quite make the grade.

Furthermore, the majority of animal fats are found in ground meat, lard, processed foods, and shortening. However, don't cut out that red meat entirely. According to Cleveland Clinic, has a series of vitamins your body needs. It really boils down to how much of it you can get away with eating before arthritis pain and symptoms become an issue.

19. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil that uses a heavy dose of omega-6 fats is connected to the worsening symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although it is a fat that's necessary for the body, too much of it and not enough omega-3 fats can pose more than just an arthritis-related health risk. This imbalance causes inflammation, resulting in the increase of arthritis pain, as well as other symptoms. The worst of the vegetable oils is actually corn oil as it typically has the highest amount of omega-6 fats that will trigger the creation of eicosanoids. This will signal the molecules to promote systemic inflammation, leading to arthritis. The best oil to avoid arthritis-related issues is olive oil. It has a high amount of omega-3 fats, which is what your body needs a good dose of if you want to avoid dealing with arthritis pain and the rest of its symptoms.

18. Lard

Lard is usually animal fat that has been clumped together and sold as shortening. Granted, you're not likely to grab a tub of lard and eat straight out of it with a spoon, but lard is a common ingredient that's used in baked goods and fried foods. Many restaurants that use a deep fryer prefer to use either liquid lard or vegetable oil when it comes to setting a basket of fries down.

This cooking method already sparks the potato-based product to have a high amount of Advanced Glycation End (AGE) molecules, which is a direct nemesis of arthritis. Adding lard into the equation simply now makes it a tag team against the person who has to contend with arthritis as a medical condition. The swelling of the joints will increase, not to mention all that fat slugging itself around inside your body, causing as much havoc as it can in its path.

17. Caffeine

Beverages loaded with caffeine, like coffee, run the risk of increasing the levels of C-Reactive Protein if three or more cups of this are consumed per day. This is directly linked to the increase of inflammation found in rheumatoid arthritis. If you think a can of soda would make a better alternative, just so you know that option is even worse. There's more caffeine packed into a single can of soda than about ten cups of coffee. Even the so-called caffeine-free sodas are not as friendly as they claim. If you honestly need a good pep without your body's joints swearing at you, go with a healthy juice or tea product instead.

16. Canned Goods

Canned goods are loaded with preservatives so that they can have their shelf life extended as long as possible. Although this is a great idea when it comes to stocking up the pantry in case of emergency, it's not a good idea to rely on it as part of the daily diet. Most canned goods are also loaded with salt and sugar, which doesn't exactly do arthritis any favors as these are inflammatories. The last thing your body needs is to retain so much water, which is what salt makes it do. Sugar behaves like glue, literally smothering your joints with something that decreases their ability to function properly. Canned goods also include items that are stored in jars, like jams and preserves. Unless such items are 100% natural that has no evidence of chemical preservatives at all, really think it over if you can find a better alternative.

15. Pizza

People love their pizza. However, if it's loaded with processed food items then this is not an arthritis sufferer's best friend. The high amount of gluten, salt, sugar, and preservatives make up the recipe for arthritis sufferers to be in for a painful ride. Processed foods, especially meats, increase inflammation in the joints. Most pizza establishments go heavy-duty on the use of processed food items due to the convenience. Aside from the high amount of processed foods that go on top of the pizza, bear in mind the crust itself contains a high amount of gluten. Gluten is another enemy of arthritis.

14. Bacon

Bacon, along with other high protein, high-fat animal foods that are fried up, will experience a reaction that turns them into an AGE (Advanced Glycation End) product. When such products are in your body that are at high amounts your body will likely experience inflammation and oxidative stress. On average, people contending with arthritis tend to have higher levels of AGE products in their bodies than the rest of the population. Joining bacon in the category as among the highest dietary sources of AGEs are pan-fried or grilled steaks, roasted or fried chicken, and broiled hot dogs. What triggers the AGE is the molecules that are created through the reactions shared between fats, proteins, and sugars. Bacon is also a member of the processed foods category, which is included in this list of food items arthritis sufferers should avoid.

13. Cheese

Cheese products are rich in Advanced Glycation End (AGE) content. This is another high-protein food item that also has a hefty amount of fats and sugars that can trigger the AGE effect. Among the cheese products, processed cheese is the worst as it will have a much higher amount of preservatives involved as opposed to what's simply cut into blocks. As awesome as that gooey grilled cheese sandwich may seem, the slice of processed cheese sitting between the bread slices has some really nasty ingredients in it that should make a person dealing with arthritis reconsider.

12. High Fat Milk Products

The higher the fat content in an animal product like milk the greater the risk arthritis symptoms will rear their ugly head. This is even more evident among rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who are also known to become lactose intolerant. The protein found in milk will trigger the body dealing with rheumatoid arthritis to go on the defense against what it will see as a harmful substance. It's the animal fat involved that's the real culprit here, which has proven many times over to cause a considerable amount of arthritis-related issues. If you must have dairy, there are lactose-free alternatives you can go with that are easy enough to find in big box grocery stores and specialty food stores.

11. Mayonnaise

Store-bought mayonnaise, even the brands that suggest they're all-natural or have decreased amounts of salt and sugar, is not exactly a recommended food item to consume. Okay, so you're not going to take a spoonful on its own but this is a favorite condiment that's added to other foods to make them tastier. Why do you think that is? People love their sweets and that's what mayonnaise brings to the table. Store-bought mayonnaise is more than just whipped-up eggs with oil. Products like Miracle Whip really pack in the added sugar to make it more pleasing to the palette. Unfortunately, the body's joints, as they flare up, will not share the tongue's enthusiasm.

10. Ice Cream

The number one ingredient found in ice cream is usually sugar. Unless its cane sugar, this is a bad thing. Combine that with a dairy product that likely has a high-fat content level, and this can become a real nightmare. If you think eating a bowl of ice cream that uses sugar alternatives will rescue you from arthritis-related symptoms, think again. There are also many ice cream products that are loaded with additives that make this frozen treat a breeding ground for health issues that cause more than arthritis-related complications. If you must have a frozen treat, eyeball sorbets instead, making sure they have a short list of ingredients that are easy to pronounce.

9. Alcohol

Okay, so alcohol is technically a beverage, not an actual food item you eat. However, sufferers of inflammatory arthritis would be advised to stay away from alcoholic beverages or at least keep them to a bare minimum. There was a study that was conducted on 278 people with axial spondyloarthritis, a form of inflammatory arthritis that directly affects the spinal cord and sacroiliac joints. In the study, among the patients who consumed alcohol, there was increased spinal structural damage compared to the patients who didn't. According to the National Library of Medicine, there have also been studies that connected consumers of alcohol experiencing increased severity of gout attacks. It's also been associated with an increased risk of developing and worsening osteoarthritis.

8. Genetically Modified Foods (GMO)

The argument remains whether or not genetically modified foods (GMOs) really are a bad thing when it comes to dietary issues. Do GMO foods really pose that much of a risk, even among people dealing with arthritis? One-half of the medical science community will say no while the other half will say yes. In 2016, there was a federal law was passed in the United States that products needed to be properly labeled whether or not they contained GMOs. GMOs are genetically modified animals or plants that had their DNA altered through bioengineering. This is a practice that has been going on for a long time now and the National Academy of Sciences concluded in 2016 that this is safe.

Bear in mind, however, that the fast food industry, as well as the junk food industry, are apparently safe enough to continue with the manufacturing and distribution of their products despite the fact they're connected to known health issues, including arthritis. As divided as the medical and scientific community is on the issue of GMOs, there have been enough reliable testimonials among citizens who've abandoned foods rich with GMOs in favor of non-GMOs and have benefited from making this dietary change. Natural News Blogs is an excellent source of information that have enough reputable evidence and testimonials to confirm GMOs are linked to autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.

7. Canned Goods

Canned goods are loaded with preservatives so that they can have their shelf life extended as long as possible. Although this is a great idea when it comes to stocking up the pantry in case of emergency, it's not a good idea to rely on it as part of the daily diet. Most canned goods are also loaded with salt and sugar, which doesn't exactly do arthritis any favors as these are inflammatories. The last thing your body needs is to retain so much water, which is what salt makes it do. Sugar behaves like glue, literally smothering your joints with something that decreases their ability to function properly. Canned goods also include items that are stored in jars, like jams and preserves. Unless such items are 100% natural that has no evidence of chemical preservatives at all, really think it over if you can find a better alternative.

6. Fast Food

When in a hurry, fast food establishments like McDonald's may seem like it's a good choice to grab a fast meal. However, almost all of it contains high amounts of salt, sugar, and preservatives that spell nothing but trouble. People with arthritis should really think twice before going through a drive-thru to place an order. The french fries will have an incredibly high amount of Advanced Glycation End (AGE) molecules, which develop when a certain cooking process triggers this chain reaction.

Add some red meat into the equation in the form of a hamburger that's sandwiched between bread that is rich with gluten and this all serves up nothing but a nightmare for people dealing with arthritis. Aside from increased arthritis symptoms fast food items have been known to cause, studies have shown many times over people who live on a fast food diet deal with more health-related issues than any other member of the population. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, malnutrition, and obesity are just some of the most common ailments that plague a person (and animals) who eat too much fast food and not nearly enough healthier food options.

5. Gluten-Heavy Products

Gluten comes from a group of proteins that are found in grains like barley, rye, and wheat. Bread and pasta are the leading products that have the highest amount of gluten in them. People contending with celiac disease tend to encounter a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Interestingly enough, people dealing with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to develop celiac disease than the rest of the population. The issue with gluten is it's inflammatory.

It's been suggested people on gluten-free diets are less likely to encounter arthritis-related issues but there hasn't been enough scientific evidence to suggest gluten-free diets are really the way to go. There's been a big push for people to not only become gluten-free but vegan as well. The problem with this concept is there's not enough consideration there's a reason why people have relied on certain food items for centuries. It should also get brought up here that favoring tortilla shells over bread isn't a solution, either. They're worse as their gluten content is even higher. If you really love your bread and pasta but hate the gluten-free concept, go the non-GMO route instead. Certified organic and non-GMO farmers who grow barley, rye, and wheat use a different method that makes them friendlier on the body, inside and out.

4. Processed Food Items

Not only should processed food items be avoided by people dealing with arthritis, but in general. These items are loaded with added sugar, as well as a number of ingredients that have been connected to a long list of health issues. Those issues include arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, malnutrition, and obesity. Items like breakfast cereals, fast food items, junk food, as well as processed cheese, and processed meat are all members of a toxic food group that are directly connected to patients dealing with abnormally high levels of glycated hemoglobin.

This means your blood sugar level puts you at a higher risk to come face to face with diabetes, as well as arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis conditions are among the most common connection to foods that have been heavily processed. The vast majority of the food found along the central aisles of grocery stores is processed. Foods loaded with preservatives haven't been done so with the sake of someone's health in mind. It was so it could have a longer shelf life for stores to sell it. As hard as the advertisements try to convince consumers otherwise, the bottom line is if the list of ingredients includes a high amount of salt, sugar, and preservatives, the food item should be avoided.

Furthermore, if it looks like you need a Ph.D. to understand some of the ingredients listed related to the food item, this should be a clue-in to avoid it. Arthritis Advisor points this out quite clearly in their article about the matter. There are more food products that are heavily processed than the daily consumer may think.

3. Salty Snacks

Salty snacks, like popcorn, potato chips, and pretzels have a strong connection to arthritis. They are one of the leading causes of inflammation. Salt causes the body to retain water, which increases the potential for swollen joints and glands. There was a study conducted among mice who had arthritis. The study discovered those on a high salt diet experienced severe symptoms versus those who had a low to regular salt level. Studies also show mice on lower salt diets had bone and cartilage issues, as well as lower inflammatory markers. High amounts of sodium have been connected to so many health issues, including autoimmune diseases like inflammatory arthritis.

2. Soda

Soda, whether loaded with artificial sweeteners or processed sugar, has been the culprit of rheumatoid arthritis among thousands of people. Studies have proven adults under the age of thirty who drank sodas at least five times a week. They are three times likelier to develop arthritis than the rest of the population. However, diet soda with artificial sweeteners like aspartame is worse. That ingredient has been connected to even more health problems as that is a chemically made product, not natural.

1. Artificial Sweeteners

According to U.S. Doctors' Clinical, the use of artificial sweeteners may put the health of your body's joints at risk. The problem with artificial sweeteners is it's an artificial products. Your body isn't meant to consume something that isn't natural. This will result in auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. It triggers a long list of health issues.

This should be a no-brainer, yet millions of dieters have yet to figure out how horrible this product really is. If you must have something sweet, go with a plant-based sweetener like Stevia. Cane sugar is also a much better alternative. Stevia and cane sugar, when not chemically tampered with, are far healthier for the body, including the joints. Even if you don't have arthritis right now, avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs.

In The End

Since the dawn of time, people have enjoyed all kinds of food. Even before modern science engaged in practices that see DNA merged as GMOs, mankind has experimented with different food. The only difference now is there are more chemicals involved than before. There are also more pollutants. This contributes to a multitude of health-related issues. They are more obvious now than they were perhaps even as recent as a decade ago. When it comes to arthritis, dealing with this medical condition is really no different than any other. It boils down to dietary and lifestyle choices.

We are each responsible for our own bodies and how we treat them. Some give it the prized temple treatment while others seem to take the amusement park route. Have you ever noticed when coming home from a festival that you don't feel so well? Was it because of the food? Probably. Was it because of the rides? Well, it likely didn't help the situation, did it? However, it should put into perspective how important it is to treat your body with more respect.

Even amusement park enthusiasts sooner or later get over the excitement once they realize their bodies can't take it anymore. Shift to a bag of fruit and vegetables from home, along with bottled water. According to Arthritis Daily, it's about making sure you're on the right diet that works for you and your body's needs.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

Related Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with our most recent guides and articles on , freshly curated by our diligent editorial team for your immediate perusal.
As featured on:

Wealth Insight!
Subscribe to our Exclusive Newsletter

Dive into the world of wealth and extravagance with Money Inc! Discover stock tips, businesses, luxury items, and travel experiences curated for the affluent observer.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram