How many ways have you tried to lose weight? How many programs and how many diets? Seriously, count. I bet it's over five, at least!
You have to cut calories, right? Only eat broccoli? Never have dessert again, correct?
Today, I challenge you to look at weight loss from a different point of view. I want to share about the relationship between obesity and inflammation. Tissue inflammation is associated with obesity. The idea is that adipose tissue releases proinflammatory cytokines, substances secreted by certain cells of the immune system that affect other cells.
Contrary to the popular belief, gaining weight isn’t caused by eating fat. It has to do with the way the body stores fat.
In fact, the rate of obesity has continued to rise while the percentage of calories from fat in the average U.S. diet has decreased somewhat since the 1970s. In the meantime, the consumption of carbohydrates, especially sugars and refined flour, has increased. So, it doesn’t add up to blame the increase in obesity on high fat consumption. It may be that the typical Western diet – high in both poor quality fats and refined carbohydrates – could be responsible for inflammation.
These foods negatively influence the microbiome, which can lead to inflammation. Processed carbs also spike blood sugar and insulin levels, resulting in both inflammation and weight gain. If a person becomes insulin resistant, and they try to control the problem by adopting a low-fat, high-carb diet, this will add further insult to injury. Inflammation can cause weight gain and vice versa.
There are several ways that inflammation can influence weight, including leptin resistance and insulin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that signals to us that we are full. When this signal doesn’t register, this can lead to overeating. Insulin resistance causes the body to store more fat. Obesity can cause inflammation. Excess weight causes an overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines.
One theory is that the body reacts to the excess fat as it would to a pathogen or invader. When bacteria in the microbiome are inflamed, this promotes obesity. Modern research is finding that bacteria do play a role in our weight and metabolism. But remember, we can change our bacteria by changing our diet and lifestyle habits.
Fat is necessary! It’s a source of fuel for the body. But, too much visceral fat (that deep abdominal fat that surrounds your organs) can lead to a variety of health problems. This type of fat is difficult to lose and may cause inflammation. There are several popular theories that exist regarding how the body loses and gains weight. Regardless of which theory you subscribe to, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can do more good than calorie restriction.
Blood sugar, weight gain, and inflammation are all connected. The problem isn’t that we’re eating too much fat. The quality of our foods and the amount of refined carbs and sugars we eat may be the real issue. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way when it comes to promoting physical wellness.
One of the most important first steps I take with my clients is getting them on a bio-individual probiotic regime and getting them off microbiome busting foods, which sometimes includes a 3 day gut reset! Afterwards, they tell me they don't even FEEL like they are trying to lost weight, it's just coming off naturally. Does that sound good to anyone?! I am running a gut reboot as a group in January if you are interested!
Additional Reading and Resources:
Institute of Integrative Nutrition, 2018
Photography: I Yunmai