Can a No Sugar Diet help COPD?

Can a No Sugar Diet help COPD?

I’ve noticed now that I’ve been off of sugar for 30 Days, that I breathe better. More freely. I’ve always been somewhat asthmatic and sensitive to allergies and was once prescribed an inhaler.

I’ve just noticed that my lungs seem to be less inflamed, making it easier to breathe. This is my own experience with it and it may not be representative for everyone.

But, I thought it was curious enough that I wanted to dive into the science of COPD and see if there was any relationship to sugar.

Specifically, I wanted to know if a No Sugar Diet improves or prevents COPD

First of all what is COPD in layman’s terms?

It is in its most basic form an umbrella classification for any chronic ailment of the lungs, including irreversible asthma, that makes it difficult to breathe.

Let’s go through some logical steps, using a form of the scientific method (Start with hypothesis, test against research or empirical observations). Since I’m not a scientist, don’t have a lab and don’t have funding or resources available to perform a statistical analysis based on people with high sugar diets and COPD, we are just going to have to do the best we can.

Hypothesis: High Sugar Diets have a Causal Relationship to COPD and COPD aggravation

There, we have a hypothesis. It is based on limited evidence (my own experience with breathing more freely when off of sugar) and it is a starting point to investigate further.

Now let’s discuss some proper scientific studies and conclusions:

1). There is research that links Diabetes and High Blood Glucose to Lower pulmonary Function

Here is the research:

So this means that high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood or diabetes (a chronic condition that effects the way your body processes sugar) makes it more difficult to breathe.

2). Inflammation, Sugar and COPD

COPD is often characterized by Lung Inflammation. So, in the lungs of someone with COPD their air passages become inflamed and their airflow becomes constricted.

Here is a nice Youtube explanation of how COPD effects our anatomy:

Now Back to the Research on the relationship between Sugar, Diabetes, inflammation and their relationship to COPD:

A Snippet from the research: “Diabetes has been associated with markers of systemic inflammation”

And we already know that Sugar Promotes inflammation in our Bodies: (as does stress and depression)

So, is it too big of a stretch to think or at the very least have a healthy hunch that SUGAR CONTRIBUTES TO COPD?

3). COPD Going Up – Smoking Going Down

You would think, and I thought, that there would be a relationship between the number of smokers and the rates of COPD diagnosis.

So, I thought, that if there was a decrease in smoker trends there would be a similar decrease in COPD.

It is not necessarily true.

Consider the statistics since the 1960’s. The Average number of Smokers has dropped Significantly:

Yet, The mortality rate from COPD has risen almost inversely:

Source: CDC.Gov

So You are telling me that even though less people smoke, more people are dying from COPD?

Yes, yes yes, I know there are other factors present here including higher levels of pollution, stress, depression, etc etc etc.

NOW, let’s also look at the graphs that show diabetes rates:


*So, Smoking has gone done, Diabetes has gone up and COPD has gone up?

Yeah, it doesn’t prove anything. But it is evidence in support of our Hypothesis.

Before I come to any firm conclusions, I would like to see a study done that evaluates a group of non-smokers with high sugar diets and compare their pulmonary function to a group of non-smokers with low sugar diets.

My hunch is that there would be a correlation between a high sugar diet, low pulmonary function and incidence of COPD.


Based on my own anecdotal evidence, which is that being off of sugar now for 30 days has improved my breathing and lung function, combined with the research already available that shows a causal link between diabetes and COPD, along with the information that we already know regarding sugar and the bodies inflammation process, I would safely say:

That our Hypothesis has enough supporting evidence to lead me personally to believe that:

1). A no sugar diet (meaning no refined sugars or sweets according to our rules) can help prevent COPD;

2). A no sugar diet can help manage symptoms of COPD;

3). A no sugar diet can improve lung function by reducing inflammation and prevent diabetes.


1). . 2006 Mar; 1(1): 3–14.

Published online 2006 Mar.
PMCID: PMC2706597
PMID: 18046898

The history of COPD

2). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes

  • Paola RoglianiEmail author,
  • Gabriella Lucà and
  • Davide Lauro
COPD Research and Practice20151:3

3). Association between Glycemic State and Lung Function

The Framingham Heart Study


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