We all know losing weight is a simple equation. Burn off more calories than you consume, and you’ll lose weight. Right? Turns out this may not always be the case. Research has found there is something that may be lurking in your body that can sabotage your best efforts to lose weight, no matter how disciplined you are – inflammation. Not the good kind that helps you heal from an injury, but the bad kind that is chronic and thought to be at the root of many health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown inflammation can also have a direct effect on your ability to lose weight. But why? The long answer is complicated, but the short answer is that chronic inflammation activates hormones (such as leptin and insulin) that store fat. And fat, in and of itself (as well as overeating), causes inflammation. The best way to prevent inflammation is to practice a healthy lifestyle which includes avoiding smoking and alcohol, reducing stress, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep. But there are also several ways you can help support healthy levels of inflammation through dietary changes:
- Focus on antioxidant-rich and polyphenol-rich foods (green tea, broccoli, kale, berries, etc.)
- Avoid sugar and processed foods that promote inflammation
- Increase omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, flax and chia seeds, avocado and walnuts or supplements)
- Add spices or supplements such as turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and ginger
- Correct nutritional deficiencies- particularly B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin D which are linked to inflammation and weight gain
- Avoid cow’s milk and dairy products which are pro-inflammatory- try almond or coconut milk instead
- Probiotics- good bacteria help crowd out the bad bacteria that contribute to inflammation. Studies show that consuming foods and supplements containing probiotics can help reduce inflammation.
- Other supplements that may help support healthy levels of inflammation include alpha-lipoic acid, resveratrol, and green tea
(1) Ellulu, Mohammed S, et al. “Obesity and Inflammation: the Linking Mechanism and the Complications.” Archives of Medical Science : AMS, Termedia Publishing House, June 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28721154.
(2) Ley, Ruth E, et al. “Obesity Alters Gut Microbial Ecology.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, 2 Aug. 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16033867.
(3) Power of Positivity. “Science Explains Why Inflammation Makes It Hard to Lose Weight “.” Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude, 14 Apr. 2020, www.powerofpositivity.com/lose-weight-harder-inflammation/?amp.
(4) Tuomisto, K., et al. “Role of Inflammation Markers in the Prediction of Weight Gain and Development of Obesity in Adults – A Prospective Study.” Metabolism Open, vol. 3, 2019, p. 100016., doi:10.1016/j.metop.2019.100016.
(5) Web@agencyh.com. “The Link between Chronic Inflammation and Weight Gain.” OB/GYN Associates of Alabama, 30 July 2019, obgynal.com/the-link-between-chronic-inflammation-and-weight-gain/.
(6) Williams, Carolyn. “Inflammation Might Be the Reason You’re Not Losing Weight-Here Are 5 Things You Can Do About It.” EatingWell, 4 Nov. 2019, www.eatingwell.com/article/2058068/inflammation-might-be-the-reason-youre-not-losing-weight-here-are-5-things-you-can-do-about-it/.