Inflammation and Weight Loss: What is the Relation?
There is a complex relationship between inflammation and weight loss. Inflammation increases with weight gain, which can lead to leptin and insulin resistance. So, reducing inflammation is essential if you’re looking to lose weight.
In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between inflammation and weight loss, and what you can do to reduce it.
Obesity is a risk factor for chronic inflammation, which contributes to the development of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. According to the World Obesity Federation, 80% of individuals with type 2 diabetes and 70% of individuals with cardiovascular disease are overweight or obese.
Losing weight reduces inflammation, particularly in adipose tissue, otherwise known as fat tissue. For example, a recent study found that a 5% to 10% reduction in body weight can significantly reduce inflammation in obese individuals.
Diet has a significant impact on your levels of inflammation. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet high in processed foods and refined carbohydrates was associated with higher levels of inflammation, while one rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats was associated with lower levels of inflammation.
You can reduce inflammation by avoiding processed foods and added sugars, eating more anti-inflammatory foods, getting enough sleep, and decreasing stress levels.
Regular exercise reduces inflammation levels, particularly in individuals who are obese or overweight. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that regular exercise can reduce inflammation in fat tissue and improve insulin sensitivity in obese individuals.
To put the importance of inflammation and weight loss into context, here are some common issues related to obesity and inflammatory states:
Obesity is often linked to:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain cancers
Systemic Inflammation (SCI) can lead to diseases like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Autoimmune conditions
- Neurodegenerative disorders
Systemic inflammation also increases your risk for metabolic issues like:
- Hyperglycemia (extra sugars in the blood)
- Dyslipidemia (a lot of fats in the blood)
Metaflammation is the metabolic inflammatory state that is often associated with obesity. It directly contributes to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Metaflammation is typically defined by low-grade, chronic inflammation in metabolic tissues, which can include:
- Adipose (fat) cells
Weight loss and calorie restriction will decrease inflammation and increase insulin sensitivity. This is especially true in people medically advised to lose weight.
The discovery that systemic inflammation is a significant health factor has only recently been discovered. Researchers are still working to comprehend the different mechanisms and implications of exactly how obesity triggers inflammation. Although still uncertain, the process involves an immediate response from the immune system.
Inflammation induced by obesity represents a rapid and focused response to a site of injury or infection by the innate immune system. This is your program responsible for fighting infection and keeping your body safe.
However, unlike the defensive inflammatory response meant to fight off infection, the inflammation from obesity does not resolve without intervention. This makes it a risk for becoming chronic when not appropriately addressed.
How does this work?
1. Specialized metabolic cells (adipose or fat cells) immediately work to maintain the injury and begin the inflammatory process. This disrupts the metabolic homeostasis
2. The immune system recognizes the damage and sends a group of inflammatory cytokines.
3. These cytokines travel to fat cells as well as the liver, pancreas, brain, and muscle tissues.
4. More immune cells infiltrate metabolic tissues. This includes cells like natural killer cells (NT) and macrophages.
5. Changes appear in the population of adipose cells. There’s a decrease in regulatory T cells, which favors further immune activation.
When it comes to weight gain, gut inflammation can contribute significantly. This is why many dietary interventions are geared toward gut health, promoting pre- and probiotics. Thus, a balanced diet with fresh fruit and vegetables is essential for gut health.
Poor diet and obesity can contribute to elevated levels of lipids. These contribute to the pathology of weight gain by driving cellular infiltration of pro-inflammatory macrophages. It should also be noted that other lipids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, have anti-inflammatory properties.
Systematic inflammation can make people more prone to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This causes easier weight gain and more challenging weight loss.
Specific subgroups of the population, like people with rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic condition caused by systematic inflammation), are more susceptible to insulin resistance and metabolic disorder. People with these conditions must better understand how to manage a balanced diet and active lifestyle. This can be the key to preventing obesity and inflammation.
Inflammation knocks the equilibrium in your body out of balance. A healthy lifestyle is critical to returning the body to health and homeostasis.
Adding extra weight to your frame often leads to more inflammation. It will also cause a cascade of hormones that will disrupt your body’s hunger signaling.
Whether or not certain types of food will reduce inflammation depends on the person and their complete dietary approach.
People tend to eat in patterns, and an imbalanced and heavily processed diet is often the cause of inflammation. However, certain foods will work to decrease inflammation.
In this case, Omega-3 and Omega-6 decrease inflammation by correcting the imbalance of lipids in your body. In addition, certain other foods may also reduce inflammation due to the presence of polyphenols.
Polyphenols are a particular class of compounds found in many plant foods, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, lignans, and stilbenes. Currently, there are more than 8,000 different types of polyphenols that have been identified.
- Olive oil
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and chard
- Nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts
- Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines
- Fruit like cherries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and oranges
- Refined carbs, like white bread, white rice, and pastries
- Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- French fries, chips, and other fried foods
Good bacteria will help fight inflammation, and the stuff in your gut particularly affects chronic inflammation. In addition, gut bacteria produce essential nutrients for your body, including short-chain fatty acids that will feed the cells in your colon.
A diet high in fiber leads to reduced gut inflammation and improvements in related inflammatory disorders. Chronic, long-term inflammation is a serious condition that can even attack your body’s own tissues. It also plays a significant role in chronic Western diseases, including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Several studies have shown that a high-fiber diet is linked to lower levels of inflammatory markers in the bloodstream.
More inflammation is correlated to obesity and weight gain, just as less inflammation is connected to weight loss. The two conditions are inextricably linked. If you want to see a decrease in inflammation and issues caused by it, the first step is changing your diet and exercise. This starts with healthy foods high in fiber and avoiding inflammatory factors like processed foods and unnecessary sugar. The more you follow these guidelines, the less inflammation you’ll experience and the more improvements you’ll see.