Learn my dietitian insights about a question that’s been buzzing around: Does inflammation cause weight gain, or could it be the other way around?
Did you know that there is a weight-gain inflammation loop? It’s time to dive into the world of inflammation and its potential connection to weight gain. So grab a seat, and let’s get started! Here are actions to take to get out of it!
The Two Types of Inflammation
First, it’s important to understand the two different types of inflammation: acute and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is a good thing that happens to protect us. For example, when you get a mosquito bite.
It becomes inflamed, itchy, and red as part of our body’s healing response, and eventually goes away.
Chronic inflammation is a completely different story. Your immune system is turned on, never shuts off, and causes your body to constantly release inflammatory chemicals.
This type of inflammation involves your entire body and over time, it can lead to chronic diseases.
Does Inflammation Cause Weight Gain?
Now, some scientists suggest that chronic inflammation might contribute to weight gain. How? Well, imagine inflammation as a disruptor of the balance that controls your appetite and metabolism.
Hormones like leptin and ghrelin, which play key roles in hunger and fullness, could be affected by inflammation. If these hormones get out of whack, it might lead to overeating and weight gain.
Studies even show a potential link between inflammation and insulin resistance, making it harder for your body to manage blood sugar levels. And we all know that excess blood sugar can eventually turn into stored fat.
Do Weight Gain and Poor Diet Cause Inflammation?
But hold on! Flip the coin, and we find the argument that weight gain and poor diet can lead to inflammation.
Both can lead to an increase in visceral fat. A diet high in saturated fat, fried foods, processed carbohydrates, and added sugars fuels inflammation.
How Visceral Fat Impacts Inflammation
It’s also important to mention that everybody is different – you can be carrying a small amount of excess visceral fat and still be a normal weight, but still have inflammation. Additionally, not all overweight people will exhibit signs of inflammation since weight is carried differently on everyone.
However, the extra visceral fat cells that are created when people gain weight aren’t just sitting there. They can release pro-inflammatory chemicals, like a call for help from the immune system.
These chemicals can trigger a state of chronic low-grade inflammation that can impact overall health and metabolism.
The Inflammation and Weight Gain Link
So, which comes first, inflammation or weight gain? The answer isn’t black and white. It’s more like a complex swing dance between the two.
But what we do know is that leading a healthy lifestyle – with balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management – can keep both inflammation and weight in check.
How to Lower Inflammation
Last but not least, you’re probably wondering what you can do to lower inflammation. The first step I recommend you take is to start focusing on what you can add to your diet that is anti-inflammatory. This includes foods like:
- Whole grains
- Good fats like omega-3s
- Herbs and spices
Try my anti-inflammatory meal that combines many of these foods!
Now I hope you understand a bit more of the inflammation-weight gain connection.