Stomp Out Your Internal Fire to Increase Metabolism
By Kara Carper, MA, CNS, LN
July 11, 2016
Struggling with a slow metabolism? Tried a low-fat diet, the Atkins diet or low-calorie diet with no lasting success? The solution may be an anti-inflammatory plan. Many experts have found that the nutritional plan that results in weight loss is the same plan that reduces symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, IBS, depression, PMS, joint pain, migraines, and many others.
Less Inflammation = Weight Loss
Research has shown that cleaning up the diet can get rid of chronic conditions while increasing metabolism. Mark Hyman, MD and author of UltraMetabolism and The Ultra Mind Solution, says his patients who have refined their diets have been able to rid themselves of chronic conditions such as migraines, arthritis and asthma. “The same things that make us sick, make us fat,” he explains. “People need to stop focusing on weight loss and start focusing on getting their bodies back in balance.From there, excess weight will start to drop away automatically.”
There is a time and place for inflammation. For example, after a cut, white blood cells mobilize and swelling and irritation occur for a few days, but then the inflammation “cools down” and things go back to normal. This is a normal cycle of inflammation. However, bombarding the body with inflammatory foods and beverages such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, alcohol, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods, can cause allergies or food sensitivities to develop. This then leads to swelling and irritation occurring internally and externally throughout the body, causing a host of problems.
- Inflammation in the heart causes heart disease.
- Inflammation in the brain causes Alzheimer’s disease.
- Inflammation in the lungs causes asthma.
- Inflammation in the fat cells causes obesity.
Tips to Reduce Inflammation
What’s the secret to “cool down” the chronic inflammation that causes people to hold on to stored fat? The advice may sound familiar: add the good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff. Anti-inflammatory foods include plenty of brightly colored vegetables and fruit, high quality proteins (ideally without hormones or antibiotics), and healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and butter. Pro-inflammatory foods to avoid are those containing sugars, highly-processed foods, trans-fats and artificial sweeteners. “Our best tool to reverse inflammation isn’t a drug, but our diets,” says Barry Sears, PhD, a former research scientist at Boston University School of Medicine and author of The Zone Diet and Toxic Fat Syndrome. Dr. Sears is an advocate for eating in “The Zone” which balances blood sugar and reduces inflammation.
Balancing blood sugar is another critical part of the equation. Practicing balanced eating means having protein, fat and carbohydrate at every meal and snack, preferably five to six times per day. Eating balanced meals and snacks several times per day helps lower insulin levels. Because insulin is a fat storage hormone, overproduction of insulin automatically increases inflammation throughout the body. High insulin means fat storage and inflammation. What creates high insulin levels? Much of what America is eating today, which are high sugar/high carbohydrate foods. Reducing high sugar/high carbohydrate foods will reduce the insulin levels in the body.
Other culprits of inflammation and weight gain that cannot be ignored are food sensitivities. Some studies estimate that up to 60% of adults are sensitive to one or more foods. The two most common offenders are gluten (a protein found in wheat, oats, barley and rye) and dairy. For people sensitive to gluten or dairy, eating these foods wreaks havoc on their digestive system, which causes chronic inflammation throughout the body. An effective and practical test for food sensitivities is to try eliminating the suspected foods for three weeks. Many people whose weight loss has reached a plateau find that their metabolism starts to work again once the inflammatory triggers are removed. Elson Haas, MD, and author of The False Fat Diet explains that eliminating foods that irritate the body while eating more foods that reduce inflammation, will get rid of bloating, water retention, and produce fewer “weight-gain” hormones.
It may sound too good to be true, but removing foods causing inflammation and stomping out the internal inflammation fire within you may be the solution to increasing your metabolism. A nice benefit to remember is that you’ll also be on a path to avoid asthma, cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease!