By Dean L. Jones
More and more, chronic inflammation is caught up as a major factor in a number of diseases, from cancer and diabetes to arthritis and digestive disorders. Simply eating fewer calories in order to reduce health problems does not necessarily address the problem of inflammation in vascular tissues reacting to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants.
Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is good as it is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli from the blood into the injured tissues. This is where the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue come to help with healing. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is prolonged and leads to a host of diseases, such as hay fever, periodontitis, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer (e.g., gallbladder carcinoma).
Cutting back on foods that promote inflammation and by increasing the proportion of fruits and vegetables in our respective diets can make a big difference in the body’s inflammatory state. One of the top foodstuffs that can trigger inflammation in the body is those that include processed sugars. It is important to cut back on sugary treats and decrease the number of desserts, pastries, chocolate bars, sodas, and sugary fruit juices. It is a good practice to read ingredient labels because processed sugar goes by many names with those words ending in “ose,” e.g. fructose or sucrose.
When blood sugar is high, the body generates more free radicals that pinball through the body damaging cells, which can inflame the lining of the blood vessels leading unfavorably to the heart. Also a main culprit in this conversation is ‘trans-fat’ known to trigger systemic inflammation. Trans fat can be found in those foodstuffs with sugar such as fast foods and other fried products, processed snack foods, frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, crackers and most stick margarines.
The untold sugar are those white flour products (breads, rolls, crackers) white rice, white potatoes (instant mashed potatoes, or French fries) and many processed refined carbohydrates breakfast cereals. Processed carbohydrates are really a trouble maker that is escalating rates of obesity and other chronic conditions that stimulate inflammation.
One treacherous ingredient that cannot be overemphasized as a dangerous inflammatory is aspartame, a non-nutritive, intense artificial sweetener found in more than 4,000 products worldwide. Aspartame is a toxic chemical, which can negatively affect the brain and immune system. Another item that is overlooked contain Omega-6 fatty acids that the body needs for normal growth and development, however, excess consumption of omega-6 can trigger the body to produce inflammatory chemicals. These fatty acids are found in oils such corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings.
The proper eating conversation is vast, especially with newly introduced manufactured foodstuff nearly every week. Consequently, live SugarAlert!
Dean Jones is an Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributing his view on certain aspects of foodstuff.