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Inflammation can be good or bad, depending on the situation.
On one hand, it’s your body’s natural way of protecting itself when you are injured or sick.
It can help your body defend itself from foreign invaders and can stimulate healing.
On the other hand, chronic, sustained inflammation in the body can be harmful.
Interestingly, the foods you eat can have a major effect on inflammation in your body.
Here are 6 foods that can cause inflammation.
1. Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup are the two main types of added sugar in the diet.
And in a randomized clinical trial where people were assigned to drink regular soda, diet soda, milk or water, only those in the regular soda group had increased levels of uric acid, which drives inflammation and insulin resistance (8).
Sugars can also cause harm because they supply excess amounts of fructose.
While the small amounts of fructose in fruits and vegetables are fine, getting large amounts from added sugars is a bad idea.
Bottom Line: Consuming a diet high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup drives inflammation that can lead to disease. It may also counteract the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Artificial Trans Fats
Just about everyone agrees that artificial trans fats are the unhealthiest fats you can eat.
They’re created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats, which are liquid, in order to give them the stability of a more solid fat.
Trans fats are often listed as “partially hydrogenated” oils on the ingredients lists on food labels.
Most margarines contain trans fats and they are often added to processed foods in order to extend shelf life.
In fact, CRP levels were 78 percent higher in women who reported the highest trans fat intake in the Nurses Health Study (26).
Bottom Line: Consuming artificial trans fats may increase inflammation and raise the risk of several diseases, including heart disease.
3. Vegetable and Seed Oils
Despite what we’ve heard for years, consuming vegetable oils isn’t healthy.
During the 20th century, the consumption of vegetable oils increased by 130 percent in the U.S.
Due to the structure of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in these oils, they are very prone to damage by oxidation.
Although some dietary omega-6 fats are necessary, the typical Western diet provides may more than people need.
In one study, rats who consumed an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 20:1 responded with much higher levels of inflammatory markers than the who consumed a ratio of 1:1 or 5:1 (33).
Bottom Line: Because of their high omega-6 fatty acid content, vegetable and seed oils may promote inflammation when consumed in high amounts.
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