A high-sugar diet can lead to several health issues, such as obesity, heart disease and stroke. Scientists have now found that too much sugar in the diet can aggravate symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition caused by chronic inflammation of tissues in the digestive tract.

There are two types of IBD:

  • Ulcerative colitis - It occurs when the inner lining of the large intestine develops inflammation and ulcers. The exact cause of the condition is not known but people with immune disorders usually show symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Factors like stress and certain foods can aggravate the symptoms.
  • Crohn's disease - It is a condition that causes inflammation of the inner lining of the small intestine.

Both ulcerative colitis and Chron's disease can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss.

"The prevalence of IBD is rising around the world, and it's rising the fastest in cultures with industrialized, urban lifestyles, which typically have diets high in sugar," said Timothy Hand, a senior author of the study.

During the two-week experiment, researchers studied mice that were fed either a standard or high-sugar diet. To mimic the symptoms of IBD, the animals were treated with a chemical called DSS that causes damage to the colon.

The mice on a high-sugar diet died within nine days, while those that were on the standard diet survived till the end of the experiment. Researchers found that mice with IBD symptoms had damaged colons.

"The colon epithelium is like a conveyor belt. It takes five days for cells to travel through the circuit from the bottom to the top of the crypt, where they are shed into the colon and defecated out. You essentially make a whole new colon every five days," Hand said.

When DSS was administered to mice on the high-sugar diet, the circuit collapsed, causing the colon to be full of blood and immune cells.

"Too much sugar isn't good for a variety of reasons, and our study adds to that evidence by showing how sugar may be harmful to the gut. For patients with IBD, high-density sugar — found in things like soda and candy — might be something to stay away from," Hand added.

Scientists have now found that too much sugar in the diet can aggravate symptoms of Inflammatory bowel disease. Bru-nO/Pixabay