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How Sugar Stokes the Flames of Stomach Invader H. pylori

Sugar is a beloved part of many people's diets – often times without us realising! Take a look at the back of your yoghurt and bread packets; you might be surprised at what you find on the ingredients list. From sweet treats to sugary beverages, it's all too easy to indulge in this inflammatory sweetener, but what you might not realise is that sugar can sabotage your gut, particularly when it comes to a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.

Helicobacter pylori, also known as H. pylori, is a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. It is one of the most common bacterial infections in humans and is believed to infect over half of the world's population, though not everyone will experience an overgrowth or symptoms from the bacteria. H. pylori infection is associated with various digestive problems, including gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), peptic ulcers, and an increased risk of certain types of stomach cancer.

Just look at them in action! Don't these little guys look sinister?

The Sugar Connection

Sugar consumption can disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome, the community of beneficial bacteria that reside in your digestive system. This imbalance can weaken your gut's defence against pathogens like H. pylori, potentially allowing it to thrive and cause problems. Let’s take a look at a few other ways sugar helps H. pylori wreak havoc: 

  • Inflammation: High sugar intake is associated with chronic inflammation in the body, including the digestive tract. Inflammation can exacerbate the damage caused by H. pylori and lead to more severe symptoms.
  • Acid Production: Sugar, especially sugary drinks and sweets, can stimulate the production of stomach acid. Excess stomach acid can create an environment that is more hospitable for H. pylori, allowing it to multiply and cause irritation.
  • Compromised Immune Response: A diet high in sugar can weaken the immune system's response to infections, including H. pylori. A weakened immune response can make it more difficult for your body to fight off the bacteria.
  • Weight Gain: Excess sugar consumption can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for H. pylori infection and may make it more challenging to manage the condition. 

Reducing your sugar intake can be beneficial for your overall health and may help manage H. pylori-related digestive issues – if you do have an infection, your doctor is your first port of call. They’ll help you make a treatment plan, but it’s also essential to eat well to build your gut microbiome back up after the infection and antibiotics – think whole grains, fermented foods and antioxidant-rich foods like green tea, berries and ginger. It’s also about avoiding inflammatory foods like trans fats and, yes, sugar. Here are some tips to help you cut back on sugar: 

  • Read Labels: Pay attention to food labels and ingredient lists to identify hidden sources of sugar in processed foods.
  • Limit Sugary Drinks: Reduce your consumption of sugary beverages like soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks.
  • Choose Whole Foods: Opt for whole, unprocessed foods over sugary snacks and desserts.
  • Moderation: Enjoy sweet treats in moderation and consider healthier alternatives like fresh fruit for satisfying your sweet tooth.
  • Fibre-Rich Foods: Include fibre-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet to support digestive health.
  • Probiotics: Consider incorporating probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, kefir, and sauerkraut to help maintain a healthy gut microbiome with good bacteria like Lactobacillus. 

Need a little extra help? Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
  2. 90+ member-only recipes.
  3. Community forums to share your journey.
  4. Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
  5. Exclusive content from our panel of experts.

So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!

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