How Chronic Inflammation May Contribute to Body Weight
If you struggle to lose weight despite making a concerted effort to shed pounds through diet and/or exercise, chronic inflammation may be playing a role. In fact, the link between chronic inflammation and weight gain appears to be so strong that the two feed off of each other to make each condition worse—inflammation leads to weight gain and vice versa.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Acute inflammation spikes quickly as part of your body’s natural healing response to injury or illness, but then subsides when no longer needed. Chronic inflammation builds up over time as part of your body’s natural response to any number of broader health issues. Along with major diseases—such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease—other factors like stress, weight gain, environmental toxins, poor diet, alcohol consumption, and smoking can also lead to chronic inflammation.
How chronic inflammation influences weight
Researchers believe that chronic inflammation influences body weight in a number of ways, though because the interaction between the two are so closely connected it presents somewhat of a “chicken or the egg” scenario. Weight gains typically cause hormonal and metabolic changes that lead to an increase in C-reactive protein levels in the blood. The presence of these key inflammatory markers usually remains until the excess weight is lost. Meanwhile, the resulting inflammation impairs the body’s ability to process insulin, which leads to higher glucose levels and liver fat accumulation, which further impairs insulin processing. This, of course, can lead to more weight gain, which in turn leads to further insulin resistance, and on and on it goes.
Additionally, both weight gain and inflammation impair the production of a key hormone called leptin, which works in the brain as a messenger to regulate metabolism and control appetite. Lower levels slow metabolism and make you feel hungry, further impeding any efforts to control weight.
Your Diet’s Effect on Chronic Inflammation and Weight Gain
Given the close link between diet and chronic inflammation, changes to your diet represent the best means for reducing chronic inflammation and, subsequently, managing your weight. Start by eliminating or reducing any processed foods in your meal planning and/or snacking. Processed foods contain chemicals, additives, sugar, MSG, and other compounds that can stimulate your body’s inflammatory response.
Instead, seek out wholesome organic fruit, vegetables, fish, and meats that contain antioxidants, probiotics, and other ingredients known to reduce inflammation. Wild-caught fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation. Many fruits—especially berries—are high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and cauliflower also have anti-inflammatory properties. Foods with high levels of probiotics—yogurt, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, and kimchi boost levels of healthy gut bacteria, which can further help reduce chronic inflammation.
Other steps you can take to reduce chronic inflammation include:
- Avoid exposure to toxins or household chemicals by using organic products.
- Quit smoking and/or reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Make sure you exercise regularly (even daily walking can help).
- Partake in stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, and intermittent fasting.
- Talk to your doctor about inflammation reduction treatment and therapies.
Your Naples, Florida Medical Weight Loss Physician Can Help
Naples, Florida medical weight loss physician Dr. Diane Brzezinski, D.O. understands the link between chronic inflammation and weight management. Dr. B considers the role inflammation may be having in her southwest Florida-area patients’ weight management struggles and her medical weight-loss programs naturally help reduce chronic inflammation.
Dr. B’s weight-loss programs include meal-replacement, close monitoring of daily food intake and activity, and, when warranted, specific weight-loss medications. She also offers ProLon® Professional, a diet program that mimics fasting for five-days of each month, as well as weight-loss peptides, which help decrease hunger, burn fat, and regulate metabolism. Dr. B may further recommend bio-identical hormone replacement therapy as part of a holistic approach to optimize overall health, which can further help reduce inflammation.
Consult with Dr. B to Tailor a Weight Loss Program to Meet Your Needs
If you would like to learn more about the connections between chronic inflammation and weight management consult with Dr. B. You can contact Dr. B’s Naples-based Internal Medicine practice today through our easy online form, or by calling (239) 261-9990.