Inflammation is a condition in the body that is associated with many diseases, among them, obesity. Inflammation can begin in the fat cells themselves. When you gain weight, your fat cells expand and inflammation increases making it that much harder for you to lose weight.
One of the reasons for this is because the excess fat puts additional stress on all the cells in your body. Another reason inflammation occurs is because as sugar gets shuttled from the blood and into the fat cells by insulin they begin to produce free radicals which also cause inflammation inside of the cells.
Excessive inflammation in the body also causes inflammation in the brain. When this happens your brain no longer receives the “fullness” signal from your satiety hormone leptin. Inflammation also causes the cells in your body to become resistant to important hormones like insulin, leptin, and thyroid hormone.
For example, inflammation causes resistance to insulin at the cellular level, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Obesity also contributes to inflammation by enhancing certain genes involved in the inflammatory response. These genes increase the amount of macrophages, a type of white blood cell, in the blood which play a key role in inflammation.
This means the more body fat you have the more inflammation you will have and the harder it will be for you to lose weight and burn fat. As you will soon learn, there are also many foods and dietary habits that cause inflammation in the body as well. The superfoods you’ll discover in this book all act to cool inflammation in your body. Eat them and your body will thank you.
Every cell in your body must remain within a specific pH level (pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the body) in order to function properly. Changes in your pH levels most often occur due to lifestyle factors, such as eating unhealthy processed and fast foods.
If your body (specifically your blood) becomes acidic, it will begin to set up defense mechanisms to keep the damaging acid from hurting your vital organs. For this reason, your pH is tightly regulated. This is essential because when your pH levels fall out of their optimal range, the important systems in your body don’t function properly, some even fail.
When your blood is slightly alkaline your red blood cells are also better able to deliver oxygen throughout your body. Because oxygen is essential for high energy levels, you pretty much feel “blah” and have low energy when your bloodstream is too acidic. An acidic pH has considerable influence over the majority of weight problems, including diabetes and obesity.
A recent study of 1000 people conducted at the University of California demonstrated that overweight men and women store more acid in their fat cells than their healthy weight counterparts. This acidic build up is likely due to the enormous amount of acidforming processed, prepackaged, fast food many people tend to eat nowadays. The truth is your body’s natural response to acidosis is to store excess acid in your fat cells.
This is your body’s way of protecting your delicate blood vessels and organs from being damaged by too much acid. When this occurs it becomes much more difficult to lose fat because now your body is using it as a reservoir to store all the acid. This is why maintaining the proper pH in your body is one of the only long-term solutions to shed excess fat.
If there is less acid in your body, you won’t need the fat to store it in. When your body is slightly alkaline, it will be more likely to “let go” of the excess fat because it won’t need it anymore. Make sense? Because acidosis is perceived as a state “stress” by your body, your adrenals will also pump out more cortisol (one of the stress hormones). Too much cortisol overtime tells your brain to “store fat” as means of preserving energy.
Excess cortisol and acidosis can also impair the functioning of the thyroid gland (the gland responsible for your metabolism). This may lead to hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) resulting in a lowering of your resting metabolic rate. The result—a tougher time burning calories and easier time gaining fat!
With all of that being said, it’s easy to see why many of the people I have worked with have found that alkalizing their diet has helped them to lose excess fat and feel better than ever. Once again, many of the foods you’ll uncover in this book are naturally alkalizing, which will help you release excess acid and thus fat.
#3 Blood Sugar Irregularities
Every time you eat food moves through your digestive system eventually making its way into the intestines where it (specifically carbohydrate) is broken down into glucose molecules. The glucose is then absorbed into your bloodstream causing your blood sugar level to rise.
This in and of itself is not detrimental to your health. As a matter of fact, if your blood sugar went down to zero you would die! However, if your diet consists of foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, it can elevate your blood sugar to dangerously high levels.
When your blood sugar rises above optimum levels, your pancreas is triggered to begin producing the hormone insulin. Insulin’s job is to “escort” or carry the excess sugar out of the blood and into the muscles, liver, and fat cells where it can be utilized as fuel or stored as fat. This is exactly what happens in healthy individuals, however, individuals who are significantly overweight, have insulin resistance pre-diabetes), or are diabetics it’s a different story.
One issue diabetics face is that their cells stop responding to insulin because it is constantly “knocking” on their “doors” (cell walls) to bring the excess blood glucose in. To give you a better idea of what I mean you can compare insulin to someone who keeps calling your phone or knocking on your door over and over and over again. Eventually you will stop answering; this is the same thing that happens in your cells.
This phenomenon is called insulin resistance because the cells are no longer “sensitive” to insulin and it is usually the first step to developing full blown diabetes. When your body is flooded with insulin it will be more likely to convert every calorie into fat. High blood sugar and insulin levels will also cause your body to secrete high levels of cortisol a stress hormone that causes the storage of abdominal fat.
As you will soon see there are even more reason why maintaining healthy blood sugar and insulin levels are so important for weight loss. Many of the foods, spices, and herbs in this book are not only low on the glycemic index—meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar—but they also help your body better manage your blood sugar levels.
#4 Excessive Sugar Consumption
If you want to lose fat, refined sugar your worst enemy. The sugar found in candy, cakes, cookies and other processed foods specifically increase belly fat. And there are dozens of hidden sugars that are just as bad. In order to grasp this concept you must first understand, as I mentioned above, every time we eat, no matter what the food, it will get broken down into glucose (sugar) which then enters the blood stream causing our blood sugar levels to rise.
You now know that it is insulin’s job to remove excess sugar from the blood and that excessive insulin levels in the blood can lead to insulin resistance, however, this isn’t the only bad thing excessive insulin can do in the body. Insulin is classified as an anabolic hormone. The term anabolic is used for anything that builds organs and tissues up or makes them bigger and this is exactly what it does to your fat cells.
So all the excess refined carbohydrates, candy, and baked goods we eat will likely end up in our fat cells because they have no limit to how big they can grow. Insulin also shuts down hormone sensitive lipase, which normally allows fat to be burned as fuel. When we have high insulin levels less fat is broken down and more fat is stored. Finally, eating processed and refined foods causes a larger spike in blood sugar than healthy foods. In an attempt to remove this large amount of sugar from the blood as fast as it can the pancreas will over produce insulin.
This over production of insulin will cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. This is the “crash” you feel after you eat a rich dessert or large refined-carbohydrate meal (like pasta). Low blood sugar can make feel lethargic, unable to focus, jittery, or anxious. What’s worse is that hypoglycemia causes us to crave high sugar foods in order to alleviate symptoms and raise blood sugar levels and then the overeating/crash cycle continues.
The bottom line is that the more sugar you eat, the more you’re going to spike your insulin and the more fat you are going to gain. Couple this with the fact that insulin resistance can quickly turn into full blown diabetes and you have a recipe for disaster.
#5 Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut)
The leaky gut story begins in a very important organ, your intestines. The intestines are so important because most of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in the foods you eat are absorbed there.
In order for the vitamins and minerals to be absorbed, the intestines contains microscopic pores so the nutrients can be transferred into the bloodstream. Once transferred, the nutrients are then shuttled and deposited all around the body by the blood.
The wall of the intestine is considered a semipermeable. This means the pores only allow certain things to enter the bloodstream and block other things from entering the bloodstream. For instance, specific molecules and nutrients are allowed to pass through while toxins and large undigested food particles are blocked.
The problem with leaky gut is that it causes the pores in your intestine to widen. When this happens, the undigested food particles and toxins that are supposed to be blocked can are allowed to make their way into the bloodstream. Because these items are not supposed to be in the blood they cause the immune to go into attack mode which can often lead to food allergies, autoimmune disorders, and chronic inflammation.
To give you an example, if you have leaky gut and you eat an apple, when it makes its way into your intestines, bits of undigested apple that should stay in the intestines, slip through the large pores directly into your blood. Because these particles are not supposed to be in your bloodstream the immune system identifies them as dangerous invaders.
Basically the immune system says, “Hey, this particle should not be here so we need to attack it with an immune response and build up antibodies to protect ourselves.” The problem is the immune system doesn’t just build up antibodies to the food particles; it attacks your healthy cells too. This is one of the ways food allergies and autoimmune disorders develop. From an energy perspective, if your immune system is constantly working on fighting off these particles it has to work overtime leaving you feeling lethargic.
There are a few different ways you can develop leaky gut. For example, if you are chronically constipated, overtime the toxins in your stool will irritate the lining of your intestines. This irritation leads to inflammation which will cause the pores in the intestines to expand. If the irritation and inflammation are allow to continue you will gain weight—your body’s defense mechanism for dealing with “stress”! The other common cause of leaky gut is an imbalance of the flora inside your gut.
We all have good and bad bacteria in our digestive system. When your gut flora is in balance the bad bacteria pose no threat. But when the bad bacteria outweighs the good, irritation and inflammation occur, again, causing the pores of the intestine to open up and your ability to lose weight to go down.
In my opinion, leaky gut is a huge issue that the conventional medical community seems to ignore. As a holistic nutritionist, one of the first things I focus on with my clients is healing the gut. Luckily, there are a number of different ways to do this including eating any of the 76 foods you will learn about here.
#6 Excessive Consumption of Omega-6 Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils are a type of polyunsaturated fat that I call “delicate” because they are very susceptible to light, oxygen, and heat. Unfortunately, most commercially available polyunsaturated fats (soy oil, corn oil, canola oil, etc…) are subjected to all three elements during the heavy refinement process used to create them.
Couple that with the heat and light they are subjected to during shipping and you have rancid oil being placed on your grocery store shelves! And if the thought of consuming rancid oil isn’t enough to make you sick they are also high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids which we are currently consuming way too much of in general. Having a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is extremely important because when that ideal ratio is out of whack cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other diseases can flourish.
The inflammation caused by the over consumption of omega 6 is associated with insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) and obesity. So if you want to slim your waistline, it’s important that you nix the six! The problem is, omega-6 is found in meats, prepackaged, and processed foods and, vegetable oil making it extremely plentiful in the Standard American Diet. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is also very low in omega 3 fatty acids.
To give you an idea of how askew our ratios have become, our Paleolithic ancestors had a 6 to 3 ratio of 1:1. Research shows our ratios are now in the range of approximately 20–30:1! This is why it is so important to minimize the amount of omega-6 you consume in your diet.