When trying to lose weight, we tend to ignore one major factor which is also considered as the root cause of many life-threatening diseases – and it’s chronic inflammation! When the body is always at a heightened state of inflammation, it becomes extremely difficult to drop excess weight. To lower inflammation, apart from exercising, lowering stress, sleeping well, you should also be avoiding dietary triggers that play a larger role in triggering an inflammatory response and follow the right dietary practices as well. As we all know, inflammation is a common factor in heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and also type 2 diabetes. Since inflammation is mostly diet and lifestyle related, it can be controlled if one wishes to by making necessary diet and lifestyle modifications, and hence lose weight also in the process. Most importantly, we would like to draw your attention towards these 12 Eating Habits That Increase Inflammation and Prevent Weight Loss.
What is Inflammation?
There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic. Acute inflammation happens when there’s an injury in the body and there’s increased blood flow and influx of white blood cell to that area, protecting the body against foreign intruders like bacteria and germs. The common markers of acute inflammation are redness, swelling, pain, and warmth. Acute inflammation helps to repair damaged tissue, healing of wounds, and defend the body against germs. On the other hand, chronic inflammation, caused by dietary and lifestyle factors, accumulation of free radicals and toxins, increases the risk of life-threatening diseases, and is the trigger to many diseases. Chronic inflammation happens when internal body cells are damaged and the body continues to be in inflamed status, affecting normal functioning of organs. Chronic inflammation affects normal functioning of the body – from digestion to hormonal function, lowering metabolism. When the body remains in inflammation for a long period of time, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, high risk of cancer, digestive issues, type 2 diabetes, etc.
How High Inflammation Can Lead to Weight Gain and Prevent Weight Loss?
Even with strict dieting and exercise, heightened level of inflammation can slow down the weight loss process.
1. Causes Insulin Resistance: Inflammation makes the body insulin resistant, and as a result, pancreas continuously pumps up insulin to lower blood sugar levels. Now, we all know that insulin is also a fat-storage hormone which triggers the creation of new fat cells. So, inflammation triggers insulin resistance, which in turn leads to more insulin production, and larger creation of fat cells which converts all extra calories into fat, and stores it particularly around the belly area. Belly fat is particularly dangerous because it increases the production of cytokines, which are released as body’s immune response, and continue to keep the body in chronic inflammatory status. Release of cytokines increases the risk of heart disease and even cancer.
2. Causes Leptin Impairment: Leptin is the satiety or fullness hormone that sends signal to the brain that you are “full” and have had enough food. In chronic inflammation, the function of leptin gets affected and even when you have had enough food, leptin fails to send signal to the brain, and you are piling up on calories, uncertain of when to stop eating. Leptin resistance can also slow down your metabolism and increase ghrelin (hunger hormone) levels. All these factors not only prevents weight loss, it can make you pile on more pounds with every meal.
12 Eating Habits That Increase Inflammation and Prevent Weight Loss:
1. Diet That Lacks Fiber: It’s probably the most under-rated nutrient and it’s a reality that a large population out there does not get enough of their daily recommended dietary intake of fiber. And that’s because processed foods with little to no fiber have taken over whole foods. When we eat enough fiber, the healthy bacteria in the gut break down fiber into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that fight inflammation. Lack of fiber not only causes digestive issues, it also leads to inflammation. Soluble fiber also keeps appetite in check and stabilizes blood sugar as well – so there are multiple benefits of including fiber in diet with regards to weight loss. If you are confused about how to include more fiber, here are “12 Handy Tips To Add More Fiber to Diet for Weight Loss” here.
2. Excessive Consumption of Saturated Fat: Studies have shown that saturated fatty acids lead to adipose tissue inflammation. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and overconsumption increases cholesterol levels in the blood. In a 2000 calorie diet, saturated fat should not go beyond 120 calories. Since saturated fats also increase inflammation, consume full-fat dairy products, butter, ghee, coconut oil, baked goodies, etc. in moderation.
3. Love For Sweet Treats: Do you have cravings through the day for sweet delights such as candies, pastries, cookies, wafers, cupcakes, chocolates? Also, having a dessert after dinner absolutely necessary? These sugary things not only increase blood sugar levels, they cause bacterial overgrowth in the gut, which in turn causes inflammation. Cut down added sugar from the diet or better still, give up sugar completely, and see how the extra pounds come down.
4. Regular Consumption of Alcohol: Alcohol can disrupt the lining of gut and intestines and trigger an inflammatory response. The right thing to do would be to cut down alcohol consumption, especially if you are trying to lose weight and get fit.
5. Addiction To Fizzy Drinks and Soda: Regular soda increases uric acid levels and fizzy drinks have high sugar, added color and of course high fructose corn syrup – and they all have lots of empty calories and also trigger inflammatory response. We would actually request you to avoid these drinks and sip on good old water instead 😛
6. Dependence on Junk and Fast Food: A recent study has revealed that fast food elicits a response similar to bacterial infection in the body. Regular consumption of fast food would also weaken your immune system. Scientists say that junk/fast food with high sugar, salt, unhealthy fats raise inflammation in the body, just like a bad bacterial infection!
7. Transfat: Transfat is a complete no-no for people who want to lose belly fat because transfat can actually mobilize fat from other areas of the body to the belly area! Transfat is artificially made from vegetable oils by a process called hydrogenation where hydrogen molecules are added to the oil. This is done to increase the shelf life of the oil, to solidy the oil, and make it more appetizing and suitable for frying. Margarine, frozen pizza, cakes, non-dairy creamer, etc. have transfat in them, so avoid them totally. There’s one more reason you should keep away from transfat-rich food – transfat lingers in the body and releases inflammatory proteins into the bloodstream – making it extremely difficult to shed weight.
8. Too Much Processed Food: The chemicals and preservatives used in processed food can alter the bacterial flora in the gut, triggering chronic inflammation. Switch to real and whole foods instead.
9. Regular Use of Artificial Sweeteners: It’s a fact that our body does not process synthetic ingredients that well, which means artificial sweeteners like aspartame can cause an immune response that would raise inflammation. Look for natural sweeteners like stevia leaves to sweeten things up instead.
10. Not Eating Enough Veggies and Fruits: Almost all fruits and vegetables have inflammation-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids in them, so do not slack on veggie and fruit portions and do show a bit more love for tomatoes and broccoli.
11. Appetite For Deep-Fried Food: As if fast food wasn’t already bad, deeply-fried foods such as French fries, nuggets, etc., produce advanced glycation end products that have been found to directly stimulate inflammation in the body.
12. Wrong Choice of Cooking Oil: Cooking oils that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids have been found to increase inflammation by a great degree, particularly seed oils such as canola, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, and even sunflower oil. Switch to healthy cooking oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.
Also, make it a point to include more protein, vegetables and fruits, and anti-inflammatory foods to reduce inflammation and lose weight. Do check out the Rati Beauty diet for more details.