Inflammation is a hot topic for weight loss and wellness—and for good reason. Research shows that chronic, low-grade inflammation can result in many major health issues, including heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and more. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, you know how annoying it can be. From discomfort and digestive issues to fatigue and weight gain, inflammation is the worst. And, while most advice seems to focus on the best anti-inflammatory foods, it’s just as important to reduce foods that may be triggering or aggravating your condition. One of the biggest food group offenders for inflammation is fried foods.
Your taste buds may love fried chicken, fish and fries, but these foods aren’t good for your liver or your overall health. While such foods are tasty, they’re also high in saturated and trans fats, which increase the liver’s workload in breaking down these fats down into packages that the body can digest. This extra work triggers blood sugar spikes, high insulin and the inflammatory cascade, explains Dr. Taz Bhatia, a board-certified integrative medicine physician based in Atlanta.
“Both the gut and the liver are involved in inflammation, and these two organ systems play a central role in symptoms and diseases of inflammation,” Bhatia says.
Research has linked eating fried foods with a shorter lifespan. A large study published in the British Medical Journal in January 2019 evaluated nearly 107,000 postmenopausal U.S. women between the ages of 50 and 79. Researchers found that among the women they studied, frequent consumption of fried foods was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Researchers concluded that this was especially true with the consumption of fried chicken and fried fish or shellfish.
Processed foods, including refined carbohydrates, are also associated with inflammation.
Highly-processed foods include:
- Brownies, cakes, cookies, pies and other treats.
- Many sugary and frosted cereals made with refined white flour.
- White bread, crackers and rolls.
- Snack chips.
These foods may be problematic because of the refining process. During refining, they’re stripped of the fiber and nutrients that make whole grains so healthy, leaving behind a processed item that can elevate blood sugar levels.
The preservative and chemical load in packaged and processed foods is the problem with these foods, Bhatia says. She notes that there is ongoing research on how these chemicals impact the gut microbiome, hunger cues and blood sugar. Such foods increase the production of insulin, which induces inflammation.