Does Inflammation Contribute to Being Overweight?

A new study on glycemic loads says slowly digested foods don't trigger inflammation.

Managing what you eat and how much exercise you get are frequent messages to those who are trying to lose weight.

A new study says that the types of carbohydrates you eat may impact inflammation, a contributor to the diseases that so often accompany being overweight.

The study in the Journal of Nutrition followed 80 men and women, aged 18-45 years, for 46 days. One half of the participants were overweight or obese and one half were normal weight. Over the course of the study participants followed two different 28 day eating plans. One 28 day plan consisted of eating foods that are digested in a way such that they increase blood sugar levels more quickly and the other 28 day plan included foods that are more slowly digested, causing a slower increase in blood sugar.

Outcomes of the study found that the foods that were more slowly digested did not trigger the inflammation – inflammation within body cells – that the more quickly digested foods triggered. The foods that were more slowly digested are sometimes referred to as low glycemic load foods and the other foods are referred to as high glycemic load foods.

Glycemic load is a measure of how carbohydrate foods impact blood sugar levels. High glycemic load foods rapidly increase blood sugar and insulin leading to more inflammation in the body; while low glycemic load foods act just the opposite keeping inflammatory actions low.

Inflammation is important since it likely is a key part of aging, disease generation and changes in cells that lead to cancer formation.

While more studies are needed to determine actual cause and then appropriate portions the following foods are examples of higher glycemic load choices:

  • Grapefruit, oranges, apples, grapes, peaches
  • Oatmeal, bread, popcorn
  • Barley, brown rice
  • Graham crackers

One word of caution, glycemic load is measured by assessing how the food impacts blood sugar not how the food as part of a meal impacts blood sugar so consuming some higher glycemic load foods with low glycemic load foods can change absorption.

The best advice for managing your food intake:

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