Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Dishing on Sugar

Dear Dr. Walt,

Can consumption of sugar cause infections to get worse? I’ve always thought sugar stimulates bacteria, but a doctor I asked said he didn’t think so. Isn’t sugar used to feed bacteria in the fermentation process of alcohol? If so, wouldn’t that be an indication that bacteria do feed off sugar?

—Sweet Tooth in South Carolina

Dear Sweetie (or, should I say, “Honey”?),

Gynecologist Jennifer Gunter, MD, is a specialist in vulvovaginal disorders. She says, “I hear concerns about diet and yeast infections all the time.”

She writes, “On the surface the idea sounds plausible. After all, sugar is a food source for yeast and bacteria, like fertilizer. So, too much of a good thing and the secret garden could be over run in no time with all manner of yeastie beasties. Except that’s not how it works.”

It turns out the “sugar consumption-yeast connection” or the “sugar consumption-bacterial infection connection” are both urban myths.

Dr. Jen says they are perpetuated “both by many well-meaning, but ill-informed, health care professionals as well as purveyors of snake oil—you know, the ones who want to sell you the cleanses, diets, and books designed to help you rid your body of yeast.”

However, there are lots of reasons to avoid added sugar in your diet.

Research clearly shows that a moderate intake of healty fats, fruits and vegetables, and avoidance of added sugars is associated with a longer life and a reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cognitive impairment or dementia.

Dr. Walt

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2018. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.
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