Inflammation, weight gain, and chronic disease are closely connected. Chronic low-grade inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases and is often coupled with being overweight. Chronic diseases include diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, insulin resistance, metabolic disease, and others. It was also thought that inflammation caused more weight gain, but a 2019 study determined that it was more likely that weight gain causes inflammation, the exact opposite.
As a risk factor, inflammation is an imbedded mechanism of developed cardiovascular diseases including coagulation, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and diabetes mellitus. It is also associated with development of non-cardiovascular diseases such as psoriasis, depression, cancer, and renal diseases.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507106/
Why Is Weight Loss Important?
We know how to lose weight. What we have a hard time figuring out is how to reduce inflammation. Strategies we have been told to use such as omega 3 fatty acids and stress reduction aren’t always very effective. They also don’t work for people who have inflammatory bowel disease. Losing weight, however, has a very strong effect on inflammation and usually goes down when a person loses even just 10lbs.
Many of my clients are dealing with chronic health conditions. Almost all of them are rooted in inflammation. Although not everyone with chronic disease is overweight, those that are can take action to fight inflammation. This is done simply by reducing body fat, especially visceral fat. Together we work through nutrition, exercise, sleep, toxic load, glucose levels, and other factors related to weight loss and inflammation.
Most people think of diet and exercise as the focus of weight loss. The truth is, INFLAMMATION is the cause (and effect) of both weight gain and chronic disease. Not only that, people with inflammatory bowel diseases should not be eating some “anti-inflammatory” foods. Eating more raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, or grains as is commonly advised can irritate the gut further. For people with compromised gut health, this is not a good strategy and is no guarantee for weight loss or inflammation redcution.
In a 2018 systematic review of literature, weight loss was found to be a very powerful way to reduce inflammation in the body. “In obese and overweight subjects weight loss, induced both by energy-restricted diet or surgery, is a determinant factor for reducing the level of pro-inflammatory markers. Hypocaloric diet has an anti-inflammatory effect independent of the diet composition which can play an important role in the prevention of chronic diseases.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30390883/
Fight Inflammation with Weight Loss
How can you use this to your advantage? Simply put, if you are overweight take the steps necessary to lose it. Those steps vary from person to person. The easiest way to lose weight is by increasing your metabolism. This can be done by building muscle and simply moving around more. Coupled this with the best digestible foods that don’t spike insulin for too long or too often. Another powerful weight loss aid is protein. Increasing protein boots metabolism due to the thermic effect of foods.
If you are not overweight but still have chronic inflammation, foods with anti-inflammatory effects, reducing toxins and mitigating cortisol are still your best defense. Consider eating less sugar, processed foods, and omitting all grains. I also recommend eating more healthy fats like egg yolks and avocados. Even the demonized saturated fat is healthy, but avoid seed oils as they are toxic.