Eating inflammatory foods is certainly not a healthy habit. On the other hand, anti-inflammatory foods are certainly a good choice when it comes to healthy nutrition. But does this mean that eating them will automatically lead to weight loss?
Have you ever wondered if there was any connection between fat loss and anti-inflammatory foods? Or maybe you even tried anti-inflammatory diets to lose weight, but you didn’t achieve the results you expected?
Maybe you read a lot of conflicting information about this subject on the Internet, but now it’s time to find out the science-based truth from another Ted Talk episode.
In this month’s Ask Ted episode, Ted Ryce is going to answer the question “Can an anti-inflammatory diet help us lose weight?”
He is going to talk about the correlation between excess fat and higher levels of inflammation, the mechanism of weight loss, the Twinkie diet story, and the lesson to take away from it. He will also reveal the main driver when it comes to lowering inflammation and how to use the Dietary Inflammatory Index.
So, if you want to find out the truth about the connection between fat loss and anti-inflammatory foods, tune in for a new Legendary Life podcast episode! Listen now!
- Is there any connection between fat loss and anti-inflammatory foods?
- The correlation between excess fat and higher levels of inflammation.
- The mechanism of weight loss. How does it work?
- Where do the calories-in come from and how do the calories go out?
- About the Thermic Effect of Feeding
- The Twinkie diet story and the lesson to take away from it
- The main driver when it comes to lowering inflammation
- What is the Dietary Inflammatory Index and how to use it?
- And much more…
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Podcast Transcription: Ask Ted: Can An Anti-inflammatory Diet Help Me Lose Weight?
Ted Ryce: Have you ever wondered if there was any connection between fat loss and anti-inflammatory foods or maybe inflammation and fat loss, or weight loss, whatever term you want to use? Well, that’s what we’re going to be talking about today in this instalment of “Ask Ted.”
So we have a question that we’re going to be answering on this specific subject. And of course, welcome back to the show, great to have you here, hope you’re doing amazing. I’m your host, Ted Ryce, coach to entrepreneurs, CEOs, and other high-performing professionals.
And so we have a question from a listener, Nadia, and we’re going to answer her question, but before, let’s go ahead and listen to it, and then we’ll go from there.
Nadia: Hey, Ted, pleasure to chat. I was wondering about anti-inflammatory foods and their role in weight loss. I had heard from some doctors that when you’re overweight, you tend to have inflammatory markers and to not worry as much about anti-inflammatory diets and whatnots. But as someone who has Hashimoto’s, I already have a very high thyroid antibody cap, which endocrinologists says, “Don’t worry, that’s just a marker of Hashimoto’s, not much you can do about it.” So I was just curious if there’s any truth to anti-inflammatory diets with respect to weight loss. Thanks for your time. Take care.
Ted Ryce: Thank you, Nadia, really appreciate you taking the time to ask this question. And you better believe, if you want to know the answer to this, there are thousands or tens of thousands of people who want to know the answer to this question as well. So always appreciate it when you send these questions in.
And just one more thing, there are no silly questions here, okay? I think this is a particularly great question. But there are no silly questions, because there’s so much misinformation, there are so many conflicting viewpoints, I get it. So I just wanted to say that.
And the other thing that I want to tell you is my intention for today’s episode, because what I want to do for you is not just answer this question so you can nod your head and say, “Oh, I’m so glad Ted had the answer,” and I can be your guru and you can always come to me.
What my intention is, is to help you think through this for yourself, so you can be empowered. I believe that the more empowered people, the more critical thinkers that we have out there, especially with regards to – well, I guess a lot of things, but nutrition, health information, etc, the better off we all are going to be.
So that’s my intention for this episode, not to be your guru, but to take you through my thought process so you can start to think more like an expert when it comes to this stuff.
So the first thing that comes to mind is okay, you’re asking about weight loss, you’re asking about anti-inflammatory foods, you said that doctors have said that excess body fat raises inflammatory markers.
You also said something about you having Hashimoto’s, but we’re going to set that to the side, we’re going to focus on your question here, because the Hashimoto’s is another topic for another time, topic for another podcast.
So it is true that the more excess fat you have is correlated with higher levels of inflammation. Now notice the word that I used, “correlated.” I didn’t say, “Oh, are you overweight or obese? For sure, your inflammatory markers are off this chart.”
I did not say that. I said, in general, there’s a correlation there. In general, there’s a lot of bad things associated with being overweight or obese. And you know I’m about being lean. But I want to be honest, in my language here, I don’t want to make claims that aren’t true or that are over exaggerated.
So it is true that in general, inflammation, markers go up as you get more fat on your body. And it’s not that fat is bad, folks. Fat is good. If we had zero fat, we die—literally die. But it’s the right amount of fat. And in the modern world, especially in places like the United States and Australia, Canada, UK, we’ve got way too much body fat on us. We don’t need it. We’re saving up for the famine that never comes.
So, there’s this link between excess body fat and inflammation. So back to the question then: Is there any link there between anti-inflammatory foods and weight loss?
Great question, but what we need to ask ourselves is okay, well, how does weight loss happen? What is the mechanism? And if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you should know what that answer is, right?
Oh, should know, but maybe you heard it here and then listen to another podcast, read it in a social media post and got confused again. But, folks, this has been tested over and over and over and over and over. I’ve been in this business 23 years. I used to believe all the things that people say now about how carbs make you fat, it’s all about hormones, yada, yada, yada. I said and believed all that stuff.
But now, I’m telling you, the weight of the evidence is so solid here that you can trust in it, it’s so consistent and solid. And what are we talking about? That weight loss happens because of a calorie imbalance. In other words, if you take in fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight, okay, and we’re going stick with weight loss, we’re not going to get into the whole fat loss or muscle gain, we’re not going to make it too complicated here. We’re going to say weight loss.
So if you take in fewer calories than you burn, you’re going to lose weight. Now, if you take in more calories than you burn, you’re going to gain weight. Okay, this is known as energy balance, or some people call it CICO, Calories In, Calories Out.
This is a solid model. And I don’t want to get off on a tangent about this; that could be for another time, and I’ve done many episodes about it before, but it’s about calories coming in versus calories coming out.
So now we have to ask ourselves, okay, so this is the working model, Calories In, Calories Out. That’s what leads to weight loss. Now, where do the calories in come from? It comes from the foods you eat, it comes from the drinks you drink. At least the caloric ones, not from water, right? It comes from sugary soda, not from diet soda, diet soda has no calories in it.
And where do the calories go out? Okay, so we know where the calories come in, it comes in from the things that we eat, drink, snack on, etc. Now, where do you think calories go out, the calories go out because you have a resting metabolic rate.
In other words, just to keep you alive, just to keep your heart beating, your brain activity going, your liver livering, detoxifying, to keep all those things going that you don’t even have any conscious control over: your blood pressure, your blood pH, the levels of solutes inside your blood, right, calcium in your blood.
All that takes energy: keeping your temperature, maintaining what is called homeostasis in your body, takes energy, it’s not free, right. So you have your resting metabolic rate, that burns a lot of energy, probably it’s the most energy-intensive thing that we do, is just staying alive. Now, there’s also exercise, exercise burns energy when you’re in the gym doing a purposeful workout. And there’s also what scientists refer to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
So that’s just a fancy way of saying activity that isn’t a workout. In other words, you’ve got to brush your teeth, you’ve got to take a shower, you’ve got to walk the dog, you’ve got to, you know, bend down, pick something up, you’ve got to get up and go get a glass of water when you’re at your desk. It’s not really a workout, right? But it burns energy, because again, everything costs energy to do.
And then you have something called the Thermic Effect of Feeding. So, Thermic Effect of Feeding is, again, even eating and digesting your food is not free energetically, about 10% of the calories that you eat get burned up just in the eating and digesting and absorbing of that food. You’ve got to chew your food, you’ve got to swallow it, it moves through your system, comes out the other side, you know where I’m going. It all takes energy, folks, all takes energy.
So again, how does fat loss happen? Through Calories In, Calories Out. We know where the calories in comes from. Calories out come from these four big things: your resting metabolic rate, your workouts that you do every week, the activity you do every week, and then there’s this thermic effect of food thing.
So now we’ve got to ask ourselves, well, anti-inflammatory foods, where there does that fit in? How does that affect what we just talked about?
Well, they’re anti-inflammatory foods, so they’re on the calories coming inside. So it doesn’t matter if a food is anti-inflammatory or not inflammatory if you’re trying to lose weight, what is the main thing? Calories coming in. Now, we’re going to get into another thing in a second, like how do we know which foods are anti-inflammatory or even inflammatory?
We’ll talk about that in a second but just, are you with me on this? Anti-inflammatory foods, we’re talking about the calories inside, how does that affect anything else?
Now, inflammation can affect your behaviour, affect your mood and other things, but that’s not what we’re talking about right now. That’s an indirect effect. We’re talking about directly. Does this affect the fat loss equation directly?
And the answer is, aside from the calories that it has, it really doesn’t. And we know this because it’s been tested. I’m not going to talk about research in this, but I will say there’s a great story about the Twinkie diet. And if you’ve never read the story about the Twinkie diet, go ahead and Google it. Now, it’s not a real diet like the Paleo diet or the Keto diet or whatever, the Dukan diet, it’s not a real diet in that sense.
There was a story about a nutrition professor who was eating really good foods, whole foods, etc. Not from Whole Foods, but whole foods, right? Whole food, like vegetables, meats, fruits, etc, etc.
But the guy got overweight, and so what he decided to do is to test this calorie in, calorie out thing, and he did it by getting a lot of his calories from junk food, from like garbage, you know, Twinkies were involved and like Little Debbie’s cupcakes, all that American snack, food garbage, really.
But he was able, eating Twinkies and Little Debbie cakes – and he also, if you read the story, he also drank protein shakes—he was able to lose, I think, was 20 or 30 pounds. And not only was he able to lose body fat, but his cholesterol levels got better.
His fasting glucose got better, a few different biomarkers of inflammation, actually, things that are considered signs of inflammation—blood sugar, being one of them, the cholesterol ratio being another— they improved.
So even though he was eating, I mean, I can’t think of any more inflammatory food than a Twinkie. So even though he was eating a Twinkie, because the calories were fewer than he was burning, he lost a bunch of weight, and his biomarkers got better.
What is the lesson that you’re taking away from this story? And by the way, you should maybe even pause this and go read the story real quick. There’s a quick article that you can read, and just type in the Twinkie diet, it’ll come up, read it, and then you come back.
So what did we learn from that? Okay, that calories are really the main driver when it comes to lowering inflammation, losing body fat. This is what we want to focus on. Does it mean that you should eat Twinkies? No, Twinkies aren’t good for you, they’ll never be good for you, okay, but they aren’t that bad if your overall diet is calorie-controlled, right? You can fit things like that in.
I’m not saying you have to, I’m not saying it’s ideal to do that. I’m saying that you can and actually lose body fat while improving inflammatory markers.
So what is the big takeaway that you’re having so far from this conversation? What are you learning? What will you do differently after having listened to this podcast so far, because we’ve still got a little bit more to cover here?
Now, I want to say this, because what we have in our nutrition and fitness world, you might be just cringing with the thought of eating Twinkies and losing weight and thinking how horrible that is. I’ve had clients in my coaching program, who they’re like, “Oh, my God, I had to eat fast food and oh, it’s so terrible, but I didn’t have any other choice.” And it’s like, okay, but keep the calories in check, because life isn’t perfect.
And you’re probably not perfect when it comes to your diet. And you’ll probably never be perfect, because not probably, perfect doesn’t even exist. We don’t even know what it is. So what I’m trying to say here is certainly your food choices matter. But calories are number one, okay? It’s the number one thing that the people in the Blue Zones do, don’t overeat. It’s the number one thing that you can do.
And the food choices that you have, they absolutely matter; they affect your hunger, they affect how satiated you feel after eating meal, and certainly, they can affect your inflammatory levels, your inflammatory biomarkers as well. And if you’re interested in learning about the foods that you can eat that do have an effect on inflammation, you can go to Dietary Inflammation Index.
That’s what you want to Google. Why am I telling you that? Because I don’t want you to listen to shirtless Chad on YouTube who’s telling you, “Hey, bro, this food super inflammatory, bananas are super inflammatory, bro.” I don’t want you listening to that guy. He’s just saying stuff. And he may even use some sciency-sounding language, but how do we know if something actually is inflammatory or not?
And the answer is we test it. And that’s what scientists have done. They created the dietary, one scientist in particular, the Dietary Inflammatory Index, James Hebert. And they’ve done a lot of studies to figure out okay, well, what are the most inflammatory foods? What are the foods that are actually anti-inflammatory?
And so going to the Dietary Inflammatory Index, will give you a list of those foods. You can read about the index, you can look up the different foods that have been tested, you can see how they make their decisions, you can read the weight of the evidence.
And the last thing I want to tell you here and challenge you with really is what I want you to do is not to take my word for it like I’m some guru with all the answers—even though I’ll tell you, I’ve coached a lot of people, my people get great results.
But you haven’t worked with me, you haven’t probably gotten great results from listening to this podcast. Hopefully, you’ve gotten some good results. But maybe you haven’t even tried that much of what we’ve talked about here. And so what I’d love to challenge you with is don’t listen to me, go try this out for yourself. Go look up the Dietary Inflammatory Index, look at the foods there, start changing out the foods and see if you notice a difference.
Now if you notice fat loss, try to look up the calorie counts on the foods and say, “Okay, well, I’m losing fat now, is it just because I switched out my other foods for anti-inflammatory foods? Or was there a change in the amount of calories that I’m eating?” And also, don’t just pay attention to weight loss, but pay attention to how you feel, because that’s important too.
So I want you to run this experiment on yourself and try it out, because what we—and this is just a quick soapbox moment here, folks—but what we do in our society, is we talk a lot, but we do very little. We want to know exactly the right perfect combination of things to do before we do anything.
And the truth is the reason I became—or the reason I’m comfortable calling myself an expert with fat loss, and I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert in nutrition, because I don’t research nutrition, but helping people with fat loss, I consider myself an expert.
And the reason that I consider myself that is not because I’ve read a lot of blog articles or listened to a lot of podcasts, but because I consistently help people get results with fat loss, and I help them do it not just with teaching them the right things, but showing them how to implement those principles into their lifestyle so that it’s sustainable for them, okay?
So in other words, I did it, folks, and I’ll tell you, it’s better to work with me now than it was to work with me five years ago, I’m a better coach. But I had to get in there and you know, I had to try things out, I had to see what works for clients, and I’m still working to this day to improve my delivery, improve how a transformed my clients lives, or helped facilitate that transformation, really.
So I would tell you go out and try this. Don’t just ask questions and listen and nod your head and get the guru answers so that you can bring it up at a cocktail party or get into arguments on social media about it. I want you to go and try it, see what results you get.
And try to figure out, think critically, was it because the calories? What exactly happened? What exactly changed? What are the results that I’m getting? Measure these things, pay attention.
You can do it by really getting DEXA scans and tracking your calories or you can just make a mental note of it or journal it, you know, but try these things, experiment, learn from doing, it’s going to make you a better person in the process, and more knowledgeable. All right, my soapbox moment is over there.
And again, I want to ask you, what did you take away from this episode? What’s the big takeaway for you? And also, what is it that you will do differently after having listened to this episode?
And if you want to connect with me and share with me your big takeaways from this podcast, or share the results of your personal experimentation, hit me up on Twitter at @ted_ryce. Let me know how it works.
Have an incredible weekend. Love you guys, and I will speak to you on Monday.
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