Does Inflammation Cause Weight Gain?

You’re tired and hungry, and the weight is creeping up. Listen to the gurus, and they’ll say it’s a simple equation of eating less and moving more. However, your body tells a different story.

What’s really going on?

The truth is that our bodies are far more intelligent and complex than the average diet plan would suggest.

If you’re struggling to find the answers to your weight issues, you might need to consider whether there is something else happening in your body: inflammation.

Does inflammation cause weight gain? If so, what can you do about it? We have all the answers here.

What Is Inflammation? 

When our bodies face an injury, toxin, or infection, inflammation is the natural response. So, while we may often associate the word “inflammation” with negative connotations, it’s a simple protective mechanism for our bodies.

It’s there to start the healing process and remove the harmful element. Inflammation is a biological reaction that takes place in the body’s cells. They identify the invader, defend the body, and start to work on repairing any damage.

However, inflammation sometimes gets a bad press because it can become persistent or dysregulated. It can overstimulate the body’s response mechanisms and cause many problems.

In other words, your body becomes imbalanced, and inflammation interferes with essential functions. This can impact your health and well-being. 

The Two Types of Inflammation 

There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic, and it’s essential to understand their differences and their impact on the body. 

Acute Inflammation 

As the name suggests, acute inflammation is an immediate reaction in the body to something potentially harmful, like a sudden injury. It kicks into action to remove any danger from the body and start the healing process.

That’s why you’ll get redness, pain, and swelling around the site of an injury. The inflammation is temporary, only remaining while the body repairs itself. 

Chronic Inflammation 

A more persistent and problematic type of inflammation is more commonly known as chronic.

It’s not as easy to spot the reason behind chronic inflammation since it doesn’t start with something sudden and obvious, like an injury. However, there are two ways in which chronic inflammation can happen.

The first occurs when the body doesn’t heal fully after an acute response. The second occurs when the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks healthy tissue, upsetting the body’s natural harmony. 

Chronic inflammation, if ignored, can have a devastating long-term impact on the body. Scientists have linked it to heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. 

The Obesity Inflammation Cycle

If you gain an excessive amount of weight, you could put yourself at risk of developing chronic inflammation.

Excess fat tissue in the body can start to release inflammatory biomarkers and cytokines, which are proteins that cause the body to produce an inflammatory response.

However, it’s not the protective type from injury; it’s from excess fat. So, it triggers a chronic inflammation response and all the negative health impacts alongside it.

Unfortunately, the link between inflammation and weight gain is two-way. In other words, weight gain triggers inflammation; inflammation triggers weight gain.

There is some scientific evidence about chronic inflammation and fat storage. The theory is that inflammation can disrupt the body’s metabolism and slow it down. That also impacts energy expenditure, so if you ever experience low energy levels despite eating lots of nutritious food, that could be why.

Chronic inflammation also impacts insulin production, making the body more insulin-resistant. That’s where the pancreas produces excess insulin.

When that happens, it can cause the body to store away more fat in cells, which begins to contribute to obesity. Fat is often stored around the organs. This is known as visceral fat and is the most dangerous type.

All this extra fat storage also produces a viscous cycle for those suffering from inflammation. It can make it increasingly challenging to lose that extra weight, regain harmony in the body, or remove that chronic inflammation.

Moreover, inflammation can also disrupt the hormones that regulate our appetite, so we feel more hungry than we should. Again, this disruption begins to contribute to weight gain. 

Your Diet, Weight Gain, and Inflammation 

Your diet plays a significant part in this weight gain and inflammation cycle. As you may have already suspected, the typical highly processed, modern, western diet is the culprit.

In short, that includes high levels of sugar, highly refined ingredients like seed oils, and chemically laden processed food.

These foods disrupt the body and the natural regulations you’d expect to see with a body that’s healthy. Excess consumption of a poor diet can lead to too much insulin production, increased hunger, and lower energy.

They are also highly addictive when consumed in their most heavily processed format, which can easily lead to overconsumption and, thus, weight gain.

It’s why countries that have increased their consumption of processed foods also see an uptick in metabolic diseases. The link between all these factors is inflammation. 

Fighting Inflammation Through a Better Diet

While inflammation sounds bleak, there is good news. There is much we can do to manage and reduce inflammation. Diet is the obvious and first factor to consider. Here are some dietary changes that can help. 

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

The easiest way to manage inflammation is to eat anti-inflammatory foods. These foods contain antioxidants and polyphenols, which counter some of the free radicals in the body that can lead to inflammation.

Oily fish, nuts, and seeds are the best sources of Omega-3. Wholegrain foods are also helpful as a source of nutrients and fiber. Fruits and vegetables like blueberries and spinach are also excellent sources of antioxidants. 

Choose a Mediterranean Diet

Professional dieticians consistently rate the Mediterranean diet highly, and scientific research supports this.

This traditional diet is high in fresh produce, such as fish, vegetables, fruits, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and meat. It can even include a small amount of wine.

The diet reduces the inflammatory biomarkers in our body. Plus, these foods are rich in nutrients. 

Reduce Your Intake of Processed Food

Highly processed food and sugar will trigger inflammation. Cutting these from your diet will have a positive impact on your health.

If you can’t eliminate them, aim to reduce them and replace some of your typical meals with whole foods from a more Mediterranean-style diet. The more successful you are at embracing a balanced diet, the better it will be for your health.  

Drink More Water

A hydrated body is more efficient at removing toxins. Hydration also helps curb overeating, as it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger. 

Try Mindful Eating

Mindful eating means being more conscious about what you eat, enjoying your food, and taking slower bites.

It’s a good way to connect with your body and consider the food you eat, which can help you switch to a healthier diet. 

Fighting Inflammation in Other Ways

Diet is key to weight management and fighting the cycle of inflammation, but it’s not the only tool at your disposal.

There are other steps you can take, and doing these in conjunction with a healthier diet can have a more profound and long-lasting impact on chronic inflammation. 

Stress Reduction

Managing stress is vital for our health. It’s easy to overeat when you are stressed. And there are more subtle changes happening in a stressed body.

Raised cortisol, a hormone we produce when stressed, can elevate inflammation. So, find ways to manage stress, like small lifestyle changes, mindfulness techniques, or talking therapies. 

Exercise

Exercise is vital for helping to maintain a healthy weight. But you might not realize that it can also have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Exercise helps the body produce more anti-inflammatory substances and fight off biomarkers and cytokines. Low-impact exercises like walking and swimming are perfect for this.

Yoga is also beneficial and will also help to curb your stress levels. 

Improving Your Sleep Routine

Lack of sleep can leave us feeling hungry and stressed.

So, it can have a detrimental impact on our health and inflammation levels. Try to develop good sleep habits like going to bed at the same time each night and avoiding screens an hour before bedtime.

Stop Smoking and Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Smoking can trigger further inflammation in the body. So start a program to cut down and stop your smoking habit.

Avoiding too much alcohol is also important. High levels can leave us feeling tired and stressed, and alcohol can also spike inflammation in the body. 

Consider Hormone Treatment

Since inflammation is primarily driven by hormone production, addressing this is a valuable way of managing and reducing chronic inflammation.

Our bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can address these hormone balances, helping to kick-start the body’s natural processes for fighting inflammation. 

Does Inflammation Cause Weight Gain? A Final Thought

So, does inflammation cause weight gain? The answer is yes, and weight gain can trigger more inflammation. That’s why it’s important to stop the cycle and address the issue as soon as possible to reach a healthy weight.

EVOLVE understands that all bodies are different and complex, so we have tailored solutions to weight gain that fit the individual.

You can learn more about our weight management and hormone solutions by scheduling a free consultation with our team. 

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