Nowadays, there is plenty of science linking “low-grade inflammation” with diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. From this, you may imagine the disastrous effects of this problem on the entire human body.
The appellation “low-grade inflammation” is interesting because it describes a level that usually is not perceived by people and sadly represents what we could call “the silent killer”. This low level of body inflammation slowly damages your physical structure, from arteries to brain and kidneys, leaving you with systemic organ failure and leading to permanent damage including frequent fatal issues. It is the kind of damage that slowly accumulates with years, showing no symptoms and then, suddenly, it expresses itself with a catastrophic event.
High-grade inflammation, on the counterpart, is much more symptomatic and forces one to search medical treatment for the associated pain, heat, redness, swelling and/or loss of functions. Some examples are arthritis and all associated “peri-arthritis” pathologies like bursitis, tendinitis and even fibromyalgia and, of course, chronic bowel problems such as Crohn’s disease.
What I want to bring up here today is how a carbohydrate restricted diet can greatly improve this low-grade inflammation, especially a VLCD which is, as you know, the nearest we can get to Zero Carb when we want to bring up studies to support our say.
In a recent study published in a prestigious endocrinology magazine, it was documented how only 2 weeks on a VLCD do improve significantly all inflammation parameters in patients. I think this is impressive because it is done without any medication and also because this happened without significant weight loss. Waist circumference correlates significantly with inflammation.
Furthermore, and highly interesting, another study documented how after 28 days VLCD, the inflammation profile of OBESE subjects become more like the profile of LEAN subjects. Isn’t amazing how only short periods of time on seriously restricted carb diet can bring up change so fast?
Sadly, we must be very careful about any recommended “anti-inflammatory diet” and the popular “inflammatory/non inflammatory index” of food items. Why that? Because the science on which they are base is not always right, as there was no real testing done with each food items. Their recommendations are base on food composition, which is then extrapolated to individual items. For example, a food that contains lots of saturated fat is automatically considered as a highly inflammatory item. But, still, there is some fruits considered highly inflammatory which will certainly surprise more then one…
The most serious effect of low-grade inflammation is insulin resistance as this leads to the full array of diseases of the metabolic syndrome, from diabetes, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. Interestingly, one component of this syndrome, which is rarely named, is the increase in blood levels of uric acid. The reason being uric acid is a potent antioxidant produced by the body as a defense mechanism against the said inflammation.
Since we have discovered Leptin in the 90’s, we have learned this hormone also stimulates a low-grade inflammation, and the usual high level of Leptin resistance of obese folks do correlate with blood markers of inflammation. So the more one become obese, the more he gets low-grade inflammation and associated diseases, and the more he will get Leptin resistant which will leads to even more gain weight, a vicious cycle.
Interestingly, in 2012 in France, a study reported an increase in full-fat cheese consumption was associated with a lower risk of cardiac disease as well as with every components of the metabolic syndrome. And guess what? They suspect this is related to a decrease in body inflammation levels. Maybe it is not the red wine that protects your heart; maybe it is the cheese!!! Anyway, alcohol is known to be pro-inflammatory...
What is interesting for low-carbers here are the results gotten by VLCD. Sadly, many researchers do not define well what is a LC or a VLCD but we may guess it is anything around maximum 20 grams of carbohydrate per day.
So while so many nutritionists and doctors are recommending to eat lots of fruits and vegetables to protect the body from the damages of low-grade inflammation caused by carbohydrates, why not go an extra mile and simply avoid them, which will, by the way, bring down your daily carb consumption near zero…!!!