5 foods to avoid if you have joint pain

Posted on 08.21.2020 |

Explore the top 5 inflammatory foods you should avoid if you suffer from joint pain 

Joint pain is an affliction that plagues many Americans.

Did you know that the foods you eat have a major impact on joint pain? Here’s the good news: flare-ups caused by inflammation of the muscles and joints can be diminished with the right diet.

Keep reading to learn the 5 most common inflammatory foods to avoid if you suffer from joint pain. 

#1: Sugar 

Unfortunately for those of us with a sweet tooth, sugar is one of the top foods to avoid if you have joint pain. When you consume sugar, your body releases proteins called cytokines that cause inflammation in your muscles and joints.

To avoid flare-ups caused by sugar, you should avoid the following ingredients: 

  • Refined sugars 
  • Corn syrup 
  • Fructose 
  • Sucrose
  • Maltose. [1] 

In addition to limiting the sugary ingredients listed above, you can also manage your sugar intake by drinking more water and swapping processed sugars for natural treats such as fruit. 

#2: Omega-6 fatty acids 

Fatty acids are good for you in small amounts, but overconsuming them can cause an influx of inflammatory reactions in your body. Omega-6 is found in the following oils and foods: 

  • Sunflower, safflower, corn, peanut and soy oils 
  • Most meats 
  • Fried foods
  • Processed snack foods. [2]

To avoid overconsumption of fatty acids, monitor your intake of the foods listed above and incorporate whole grains and plant-based ingredients into your diet. 

#3: Gluten and refined carbohydrates

Gluten—the protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and malt—is one of the most common allergens in America due to its infamous inflammatory qualities.

Most commonly, gluten is known to cause joint pain flare-ups, as well as swelling of the small intestine and other organs. To limit your gluten intake, avoid the following foods: 

  • Bread 
  • Pasta 
  • Pastries 
  • Processed snack foods 
  • Fried foods. [2] 

If you are considering eliminating gluten from your diet, you can begin by replacing glutinous ingredients with meat and plant-based ingredients in addition to other gluten-free alternatives. 

#4: Alcohol 

Studies show that moderate alcohol consumption is okay, but excessive alcohol consumption can have numerous negative side effects—including inflammatory joint pain. 

Reducing your alcohol intake or cutting out alcohol altogether can lessen joint pain flare-ups as well as improve your body’s overall health. [1] 

To begin cutting back on alcohol in order to ease joint pain, you can switch out alcoholic beverages for low-sugar alternatives such as carbonated water. 

#5: Processed foods 

These are top of the list when it comes to foods to avoid if you have joint pain! Processed foods often contain one or all of the inflammatory ingredients on this list, in addition to harmful trans fats that trigger systemic inflammation. [1] 

You can avoid the joint pain caused by processed foods by switching out pre-packaged foods for fresh or plant-based foods whenever possible. 

In conclusion 

Though this list eliminates a lot of common foods and ingredients, there are still countless anti-inflammatory foods that are both delicious and won’t cause you joint pain. 

By switching these 5 common foods for healthy alternatives, you can begin your journey to less joint pain today. 

Looking for more ways to achieve your health goals? 

Natural Quanta Wellness Center helps members reach their personal wellness goals using cutting-edge technology and an integrative approach. 

Contact us today to get started!


  1. ARTHRITIS-health 
  2. Cary Orthopaedics