Achy knees? Belly fat? Aching joints and weight gain are just a few of the effects of low-level inflammation. If you are looking to improve your overall health and fitness level, definitely consider all the inflammatory foods you may be consuming.
Inflammation: Role And Types
There are 3 different types of inflammation:
1. Acute Inflammation
The first is called acute inflammation. Acute inflammation is a necessary form of inflammation because it helps us heal – without it, we essentially are sitting ducks, we would not be alive.
Even though it may feel uncomfortable or painful, such as a sprained swollen ankle, a terrible sunburn or a cut on the finger, it all heals and goes away.
I call acute inflammation “loud inflammation” because it makes its presence known.
2. Silent Or Low-Level Inflammation
Unfortunately, 3 out of 4 people have low-level inflammation and do not realize it. This type of inflammation is the core cause of most of the illnesses, diseases (heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, etc.), and faster-aging.
The key difference between acute and silent or low-level inflammation is that with low-level inflammation you can not necessarily feel until symptoms or the condition manifests and it stays. Acute inflammation you know very well it is there and gradually tends to go away.
The third type of inflammation is what I refer to as Fat-Flammation. It is the core cause of weight gain – inflamed fat cells.
Specific types of foods we eat dictate how our fat cells respond. A healthy fat cell releases stored fat and unhealthy fat cell stores fat and holds on to it for dear life, never letting go.
Simply choosing the right foods such as blueberries or the spice turmeric, for example, will shrink belly fat cells by reducing and reversing the inflammation within the fat cell.
By incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, ideally at every meal – and equally important – avoiding foods which are known to promote inflammation, you will promote optimal health, weight loss success and feel better starting today.
5 Inflammation-Causing Foods
Sugar is the number one inflammatory “food” that not only creates weight gain, but can set one up for diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and now research is showing an association between high blood sugar levels and Alzheimer’s disease.
Sugar causes inflammation alerting the body to send out extra immunity messengers called cytokines which also promote inflammatory belly fat.
Sugar in all forms such as candy, desserts, and more, powerfully promotes cellular inflammation. What is even worse are so-called “healthy” foods such as whole wheat bread, yogurt (including frozen yogurt) and granola are packed with sugar and folks are unknowingly ingesting added sugar.
Fruit juice, even though it is a natural product, is dense in fructose – the sugar that promotes belly fat and poor liver health. Whole fruit is just fine as it has fiber to slow down the release of sugar. Your liver is not only removing toxins from your body, but is your fat-burning organ and thus needs to be healthy to impact weight loss success.
2. Cooking Oil
There are specific oils that people are cooking with that are promoting inflammation within the body. These highly unstable, highly inflammatory oils were given the thumbs up by health organizations including the American Heart Association.
We now know that oils such as: vegetable, corn, soy, canola or safflower oil are rich in omega 6 fat – all inflammatory oils, creating poor health and weight gain.
Additionally, we have a marked deficiency of omega 3 fat, whose role is to reduce inflammation, resulting in even more inflammation.1
Swap out your inflammatory cooking oils for those that promote optimal health and reduce inflammation, such as: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil or coconut oil.
3. Refined Grains
A refined grain has been stripped off the fiber and nutrients. White breads, white rice, processed corn, crackers or pastas, and other foods that have been made with white flour (including enriched wheat flour) break down quickly into sugar in the body, and in turn lead to inflammation.
A diet high in refined grains leads to a greater concentration of certain inflammation markers in the blood. When we eat processed or refined foods, these foods provide empty calories and the body is not equipped to handle these types of foods well and thus, inflammation and poor health develop.2
Choose whole grain products as they are rich in nutrients, high in fiber, and help to balance blood sugar.
4. High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a sugar, yes but deserves a section all of its own. HFCS is a processed sweetener that is a highly inflammatory sugar that directly affects the liver.
Unfortunately, HFCS is added to many foods such as sodas, breads, cereals, cookies, cakes, and multiple condiments such as ketchup.
Eating a lot of fructose in general – a fruit sugar, has been linked to obesity, weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer, and chronic kidney disease.3
HFCS is especially toxic due to its ability to threaten liver health, and high fructose intake has also been shown to increase several inflammatory markers in humans. Unfortunately, food manufacturers love this sweetener because it is cheap.
Consuming a diet high in high-fructose corn syrup drives inflammation that can lead to disease. It may also counteract the very beneficial anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Fried Foods
Fried foods are foods that are overcooked or foods cooked at a high temperature such as french fries, fried chicken, charred grilled foods, blackened foods etc., that triggers an inflammatory response.
Fried foods spark a chemical reaction in the body called glycation or AGEs – Advanced Glycation End Products. High tissue levels of AGEs are associated with almost all chronic diseases. Glycation is essentially caramelization of the bodily tissue.
AGEs are produced when a protein binds and reacts with a glucose molecule, resulting in damaged, cross-linked proteins. As the body tries to protect you by breaking these AGEs apart, immune cells secrete large amounts of inflammatory chemicals.4
Depending on where the AGEs occur, the result can be arthritis, cancer, heart disease, cataracts, memory loss, wrinkled skin or diabetes complications, to name a few.
Look at the ingredient list on food packages to ensure that the foods you eat do not contain these inflammatory ingredients so you can create optimal health and lose weight. The quality of our diet dictates the quality of our health.
|↑1||Yang, Li Gang, Zhi Xiu Song, Hong Yin, Yan Yan Wang, Guo Fang Shu, Hui Xia Lu, Shao Kang Wang, and Gui Ju Sun. “Low n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio improves lipid metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial function in rats using plant oils as n-3 fatty acid source.” Lipids 51, no. 1 (2016): 49-59.|
|↑2||Spreadbury, Ian. “Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity.” Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes 5 (2012): 175-189.|
|↑3||Bray, George A., Samara Joy Nielsen, and Barry M. Popkin. “Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 79, no. 4 (2004): 537-543.|
|↑4||Uribarri, Jaime, Weijing Cai, Oana Sandu, Melpomeni Peppa, Teresia Goldberg, and Helen Vlassara. “Diet‐Derived Advanced Glycation End Products Are Major Contributors to the Body’s AGE Pool and Induce Inflammation in Healthy Subjects.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1043, no. 1 (2005): 461-466.|