Why Are Certain Foods Inflammatory?
Inflammatory foods can be confusing because they’re not one size fits all. What’s inflammatory for your neighbor may not be inflammatory for you. Everyone is different! It all goes back to the study of one. Throughout the 131 Method you will test various foods to determine which ones are inflammatory for you. We suggest you start by testing the most common culprits. Below is a guide for which foods cause inflammation, and how to test them.
This is a very common inflammatory food. From an overall health standpoint, the less you consume the better, even if you feel like it’s not causing you inflammation. When reading the ingredient list be mindful of the different names for sugar: brown rice syrup, fruit juice, coconut sugar, maple syrup, beet sugar, turbinado, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, honey etc. Also, organic sugar has the same effect on your blood sugar as non-organic sugar.
Processed Food and Refined Carbohydrates
Examples include: breads, pasta, crackers, bagels, muffins, cookies, pies, cakes, even foods labeled “healthy,” like cereal. Companies strip the foods of nutrients, process them with oils and additives, and add sugar.
Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Alcohols
Some artificial sweeteners should be completely avoided like aspartame and saccharin. We recommend using moderation with monk fruit and stevia because the jury is still out on these due to the lack of research available. Sugar alcohols like xylitol and sorbitol are considered safe in moderation, but again, they are possibly pro-inflammatory for some people.
There are two sides to every story right?! One side of the argument is all artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols should be avoided, because they provide a sweet taste without any calories which causes the body to crave more sugar. On the flip-side, some studies show that when stevia and xylitol are consumed in their pure state and without additives, they are non-inflammatory. Learn more about natural alternatives here.
Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s a common inflammatory protein that affects people in different ways. Some people have autoimmune diseases like celiac, that requires complete avoidance. Others have gluten sensitivities, where gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, and diarrhea arise after consuming gluten. We investigate the best flour g-free subs in this article.
Inflammation from dairy may present itself in different ways. Excessive mucosal production and skin irritations are common signs. It’s not uncommon for people to experience issues with certain types of dairy, but not all products. For example, you might tolerate yogurt but not cheese.
Processed meat and conventionally raised animal proteins are common inflammatory foods. Not only do they cause inflammation, but recent research has shown a correlation between processed meat (canned, smoked, cured meat) and chronic diseases. Examples of processed meats include: hot dogs, sausage, packaged meats, etc.
The nutritional profile of conventionally (inhumanly) raised animals is inferior to humanly raised animals. Conventionally raised animals eat a grain-fed diet with antibiotics and inhumane quarters. The quality of meat not only makes a difference in the nutritional profile, but also in the way the body reacts to it.
The benefits of a daily glass of red wine may not outweigh the risk for some people. Alcohol commonly causes inflammation, disrupts sleep, and promotes abdominal fat.
The majority of fast food is highly processed, especially the fried food. Even the “not so bad for you” fast food joints are preparing their food with inflammatory vegetable oils like corn, soybean, cottonseed, peanut, safflower, and canola oil. So, it may not be the food itself causing inflammation, but the oil used to prepare the food.
This plant-based food commonly causes gas. However, many notice symptoms subside by consuming pre-soaked and sprouted beans. Experiment with this food!
Sparkling water and komboucha fall into this category due to the carbonation, which may cause gas. If you consume carbonated drinks containing artificial sweeteners, like Diet Coke, the artificial sweeteners often cause GI distress.
Other common pro-inflammatory foods include, but are not limited to: coffee, caffeine, chocolate, citrus, nuts, artificial color, yeast, and gums. This list doesn’t mean all of these foods cause inflammation, but they warrant further testing if you endure constant pain, bloating or other side effects.
Sadly, this also means foods not on this list may cause you problems. The best way to test is by using an elimination diet. Or, you can try a test like EverlyWell.
This is your experiment! So get testing! Life’s too short to feel unwell. More often than not, you have control over the way you feel, because many of our side-effects stem from foods our body doesn’t like.
The 131 Method shines in this department! Sleuthing sensitivities is what we guide you through! Imagine sleeping better, ridding yourself of joint pain, clearing your skin and losing weight…all because you figured out your food sensitivities! To learn more, click here.