It might seem odd or counterintuitive to try to link a negative reaction to food with weight gain. It makes more sense to think, eat bad food = feel sick. We’re going to look at a couple things that are happening under the hood which are causing us to pack on the pounds.
At the risk of sounding like a bad late night infomercial… identifying foods that you are sensitive to, and avoiding them, will likely result in weight loss as well as a whole host of other great benefits without necessarily cutting any calories!
I know, I know! Next I bet you’re expecting to hear “If you call in the next 15 minutes, we’ll throw in a free set of steak knives”.
Quiz: What do all of these have in common… heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, acne, stroke, depression, eczema, autoimmune diseases, and obesity? If you said inflammation, then you will be receiving a free set of steak knives (joking of course). But seriously, it’s inflammation… chronic inflammation to be more specific.
Inflammation + Insulin = Insulation (fat)
A number have studies have shown that chronic inflammation will lead to insulin resistance. When that happens, our cells become resistant to insulin’s requests to allow sugar into our cells. The body responds by releasing even more insulin into the blood and keeping elevated levels up longer.
Well folks, insulin is the fat storage hormone. When insulin levels are elevated, the body goes into fat lockdown mode… store more of it… and certainly don’t burn it! Insulin really loves to store that tummy fat, and we’re not talking about the pinch an inch stuff, we’re talking about abdominal fat.
One nice study compared overweight kids to normal weight kids. Researchers measured a standard marker for inflammation called CRP and IgG antibodies (correspond to delayed food sensitivities). CRP levels were 3 times higher and IgG antibodies were 2.5 times higher in the overweight kids. This is far too significant to gloss over. If the results showed a 25% difference, it would have been worth paying attention to… but we are talking about a 300% and 250% difference respectively! For those of you lucky enough not to read research studies on a regular basis, that’s HUGE!
Feel Bad, Eat More – Eat More, Feel Bad
Inflammation caused by eating foods you are sensitive to will decrease the amount of serotonin in the blood. Serotonin is known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter, but also plays a major role in the gut. In-fact, 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced by the gut.
This decrease in serotonin puts us in a nasty little cycle. Consuming large amounts of sugar will spike insulin levels, which will then in turn increase blood levels for a precursor of serotonin, called tryptophan.
Eat foods we are sensitive to = more inflammation = less serotonin = crave sugar = eat sugar = more serotonin (Rinse and Repeat)
When it comes to the body, chronic inflammation is at the root of most of our problems… including obesity. Food sensitivities/intolerances are major contributors to chronic inflammation, and an unhealthy gut is the primary reason new sensitivities/intolerances develop… AKA leaky gut.
Calming down the amount of inflammation by identifying and avoiding reactive foods and substances, and taking action to repair the gut, are the first steps to overall wellness… not to mention lean and meanness (I think that’s a word).
So yes, if you are sensitive to celery (or any other food), then it will cause inflammation to some degree and everything that goes with it.
photo by fbellon (flickr creative commons)