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Special Report


Table of Contents
  Food and Inflammation–What You Need to Know
Food Affects Inflammation  

White Death

High Fructose Corn Syrup
  Twinkies And Pasta 

 What Causes Lactose Intolerance?

Gluten Intolerance

Meat-Yes or No?
  Systemic Enzymes

Food and Inflammation –What You Need to Know

Inflammation is a hot topic now. Research is discovering more and more connections between inflammation and chronic, degenerative diseases. But it’s not just long term illness that is affected by inflammation. If you have acute or chronic pain, low energy or you feel like your zest for life has gone the way of the do-do bird, inflammation may be the culprit.

Webster defines inflammation as "redness, swelling and fever in a local area of the body, often with pain and disturbed function, in reaction to an infection or to a physical or chemical injury." Acute inflammation is short term and self-limiting and is controlled by your immune system.

Sometimes your immune system short circuits and inflammation drags on. The injury that should have healed in a few weeks becomes chronic. This is painful and can make you feel miserable. But at least you know what you’re dealing with.

There is inflammation you can see and feel like when you stub your toe or twist an ankle. Even more insidious, inflammation can take up residence in your blood vessels, brain or blood sugar regulatory system. It can cause heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and a variety of degenerative diseases. This is chronic inflammation and can put the kibosh on your plans, your joy, and your health.

Food Affects Inflammation

Remember the old cliche, “you are what you eat?” Like all clichés, it holds an element of truth, but in this case, the truth element is enormous.

For some of us, this cliché feels like truth. If you have food sensitivities or allergies, you have to monitor what goes in your mouth more vigilantly than most people do if you want to be healthy, feel good and have the energy to be productive.

Or you may experience vague symptoms or feel generally unwell. If that’s the case, there may be a food connection you have not discovered.

On the other hand, you may not notice any reaction to what you eat. Your arteries may clog or your joints may hurt. But because the effect is not instantaneous, you tend to not think about the damage to your body until you have a health crisis.

Most Americans just eat whatever falls into their mouth and figure they will take a pill to

lower their cholesterol or a painkiller to get through the day. The problem with this approach is that many of those pills may have consequences that are more harmful than the original condition. Of course, the fact that you are reading this report means that you care about your health and want to do more than just get through the day.

Food affects your health and well-being in both blatant and subtle ways. What you put in your mouth can be the source of unbounded health and energy, or pain and misery. Food can trigger negative health conditions and aggravate those that already exist.

I have created a list of seven foods most likely to cause inflammation and health problems, both short term and in the future.

White Death

If you’re looking for a shortcut to ill health, low energy, diabetes, overgrowth of unfriendly organisms throughout your body, load up on sugar. If heart attacks are your idea of fun, then you should eat lots of sweets and refined carbohydrates. Not only does sugar have immediate physical consequences, your emotions can suffer. Mood swings, depression and the “sugar blues” can make life very unhappy.

Sugar causes insulin levels to spike. If you indulge your sweet tooth on a regular basis, insulin receptor cells become resistant to insulin. Sugar is not allowed into cells and sugar remains in the bloodstream, which leads to high blood sugar levels and increased inflammation.

Over-consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates can also lead to overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria in your gut and eventually throughout your body. You don’t want to know about the inflammation unfriendly bugs like candida can cause when they overcome the bacteria that normally keeps them in check. You can suffer with symptoms in almost every part of your body and never find the cause unless you know where to look or have a health care provider who is willing to work outside the mainstream medical box.

Sugar is also a neurostimulant which can magnify existing pain.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

If your food shopping trips take you to the soft drink, baked goods aisle, or the snack area of your super market, it’s almost impossible to avoid high fructose corn syrup.

Composed of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose, you might think, probably not as bad as pure glucose, right? Wrong. Fructose, unaccompanied by the fruit fiber normally found in fruit, is far more harmful to your body than table sugar, and that’s saying something.

High fructose corn syrup can trigger diabetes and liver damage. You already know that diabetes is bad news. Well, the health of your entire body depends on your liver. Love your liver and it will reward you with a healthy body and positive emotions.

Twinkies And Pasta

As far as your pancreas and liver are concerned there is not a big difference between refined, processed junk food like twinkies and a big bowl of pasta. Both convert to sugar and cause high levels of inflammation in your system. If you have elevated inflammation levels your chances of heart attack are 4.5 times higher than if your levels were normal.

The mechanism is pretty much the same for refined carbohydrates as for sugar. Simple carbohydrates rapidly convert to sugar in your body and cause your insulin levels to spike. If this occurs on a regular basis, those pesky insulin receptor cells decide they’ve had enough and turn up their noses at the insulin.

Then your cells can’t covert the glucose into energy and it stays in your blood stream, causing inflammation., which can lead to heart attack and diabetes.


All fats are not created equal. For years, they were lumped together into one big greasy category. Now we know better. There are good fats and bad fats and everyone needs the good fats. Even dieters need fat.

The best fats are the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil and flax seeds. These are the anti-inflammatory fats that lubricate your circulation, your joints and your brain. They can be helpful in conditions like heart disease, depression and arthritis. Most people don’t get enough Omega 3 oils unless they supplement.

On the other hand, most people get too many Omega 6 fatty acids in their diets. These are the polyunsaturated fats including corn oil, safflower, sunflower and soybean oil. How much is too much? The ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids to Omega 6’s in the diets of most Americans is 1:20. Our ancestors were healthy in a diet with a 1:1 ratio. You do the math.

In the ratio they occur in the typical American diet, these oils create inflammation, pain and cellular damage. Illness and even a compromised immune system result from this kind of a lopsided diet. Junk food, processed foods and even most salad dressings contain an abundance of Omega 6 fatty acids. Commercial salad dressings are usually high in omega 6 fats, unhealthy chemicals, and made with inferior, overly-processed, damaged oils. Rancid or overheated fats can cause cellular damage and over time cause DNA damage that can lead to cancer.

A helpful hint… create your own salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar and your favorite herbs. If you have a yeast problem, use lemon or lime instead of vinegar. Olive oil is a mono-saturated fat that is very healthy and possesses anti-inflammatory qualities.

Trans fats are the worst. These are the oils list as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Nowhere in nature will you find trans fats. They are manufactured by humans. That right there should give you pause. How many times have we thought we improved on nature’s handiwork only to find oops! We really screwed it up.

Hydrogenated fats are cheaper, they have longer shelf lives and they make food more appealing in many ways. They give pies flakier crusts, peanut butter a creamier texture and the food they are used in a cheaper price tag. They are found everywhere, even in upscale restaurants.

You cannot depend on labels for the whole truth. A product can be labeled trans fat free if it contains less than .5 grams of trans fats. Multiple servings or multiple products with a half gram of trans fat can quickly become a health hazard.

These fats clog your arteries, cause heart attacks and strokes and increase systemic inflammation. They can cause pain, restricted range of motion and worsen almost any painful condition.

Got Milk?

You might also have heart disease, headaches and joint pain. Not only does milk cause a laundry list of complaints, any product that contains that contains casein or whey is suspect. NASA Langley Research Institute discovered that milk is the number one most destructive substance for your heart and arteries.

Not only does milk cause serious complications in the general population, milk is one of the most highly allergic foods. Allergies cause tissue damage and encourage long-term inflammation. Like gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy, you inherit an allergy to milk. The list of conditions caused by milk allergy is literally almost as long as your arm, your forearm anyway. Acne, ear infections, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis are just the tip of the iceberg. You can find a more complete list in my book Inflammation-What you Need to Know About The Food You Eat.

Milk is found in many foods you wouldn’t suspect. You must read labels carefully. It can be difficult to navigate the nutritional minefields in the supermarket without a guide. You can take my upcoming guide to anti-inflammatory foods with you while you are walking through the aisles of your grocery store or health food store.

Lactose Intolerance

The dangers of milk are pretty obvious. When you add the double whammy of lactose intolerance, you hit the symptom jackpot. Lactose intolerance is a common condition where your body lacks sufficient lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose or milk sugar. Sometimes a milk allergy leads to lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance can also be inherited. Lactose intolerance can create intestinal tissue damage, nausea, cramps, bloating, diarrhea and gas,

What Causes Lactose Intolerance?

Some causes of lactose intolerance are well known. Primary lactase deficiency develops over time. According to Wikipedia, in most mammals, lactase production drops at the end of the weaning period. In humans, lactase production drops somewhere around the age of two. Symptoms usually appear much later. Lactase production can be reduced by as much as 90% in non-dairy consuming cultures.

Some populations contain a gene mutation that allows them to consume milk and dairy products without difficulty

Secondary lactase deficiency or pathological lactose intolerance results when the amount of lactase produced is reduced because of digestive disease or injury to the small intestine. Celiac disease damages the villi of the intestine, which produce lactase. When the Celiac disease is healed, the lactase production resumes , and the lactose intolerance resolves. Chron’s and inflammatory bowel disease can also reduce lactase production. Whether or not you want to drink milk or eat dairy products because of health concerns like carcinogenic bovine growth hormone is another question.

Then there’s the chicken and egg dilemma. Which came first, the milk allergy, the lactase deficiency or the disease?

Researchers have identified a genetic link for lactose intolerance. Some people are born with a likelihood of developing primary lactase deficiency because it has been passed to them genetically (inherited from their parents). This discovery may be useful in developing a diagnostic test to identify people with the condition.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is an inherited immune reaction to a protein called gliadin. Gliadin exists in wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, quinoa, kamut, spelt, amaranth,, teff and cous cous. Oats and quinoa are sometimes considered questionable, but I include them in the list to be safe. From personal experience, I have found these grains to be troublesome, although I find most grains to be troublesome. You may have a different experience.

Gluten intolerance can be the beginning of a condition called celiac disease. The time span between the onset of gluten intolerance and a celiac disease diagnosis can be decades. In fact, the diagnosis may never come. Untreated, gluten sensitivity can cause many health threatening conditions including chronic pain disorders, cancer, neurological disease, autoimmune disorders, psychiatric problems and brain disorders,

If you believe that your low energy level is normal for you, you may be gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. Gluten intolerance can result in sluggish energy and a feeling of general unwellness. Symptoms of celiac disease can mimic those of other conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Chron’s disease, parasite infections, anemia, or skin disorders.

The thing about gluten sensitivity is that you can make a huge difference in how you feel by just eliminating gluten containing grains and grain products. Eliminating gluten may not be enough. You might have to eliminate all grains, even the safe ones like rice. I have to avoid all grains most of the time. It’s not so bad. It’s a trade off, grains for energy and being headache free. Fortunately, we humans are very adaptable creatures. It doesn’t feel so much like deprivation after you’ve been doing it for a while, it feels like self-preservation.

Walking through the supermarket does not have to be an exercise in frustration. My guide to anti-inflammatory foods will give you confidence in your new choices. If you keep your eye on the prize of increased energy and well-being, you will feel empowered, not deprived.

Meat- Yes or No?

Depending on your information source, meat is seen as a disease producing, inflammatory substance that can lead your health to ruination. Or it is viewed as a good source of usable protein that is part of the healthy diet our ancestors consumed.

Many authorities regard meat as a food that leads to inflammation. Its consumption is linked with colon cancer, heart disease, aggravation of arthritis symptoms and inflammation in general.

Conventionally raised cattle receive the greatest load of antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and hormones, which are stored in their fat. The best organic, grass fed beef still contains dioxin in their fat stores because of acid rain in most parts of the country.

In addition to dangerous chemicals added to the meat supply through feed and medicines, meat contains omega-6 fatty acids that produce inflammation. This arachodonic acid produces inflammation that can attack anywhere in the body from your heart and arteries to your joints.

As far as the inflammation factor goes, whether grass fed meat is better than conventionally raised beef, I don’t have the answer. Grass fed meat is definitely healthier because you are cutting the toxic load your liver has to cope with. Free-range meat also contains more Omega 3 fatty acids, which makes it less inflammatory. It may still cause some inflammation. So whether it is a healthy diet choice, I can’t say definitively. Each person has to decide based on personal experience.

Your Immune System And Your Diet

Allergies are an immune system problem. If you have a lot of food allergies or food sensitivities like I do, your food choices are limited. We all have to eat. If some of the healthier choices are off limits because of allergies or sensitivities, grass fed beef may give you more food choices than you would otherwise have.

For many years, the only animal protein I ate was fish, shellfish and turkey. (I tested positive for an allergy to chicken. I used to eat it a LOT).

Then one night after eating some take out shrimp, I started feeling itchy and my body started to swell up. I started to look like the Pillsbury dough boy. Luckily, I was with my friend Doug, who called the emergency room and the nurse said to try Benedryl. Of course I didn’t have any because I almost never use drugs.

So Doug went to the pharmacy. I took the Benedryl and we got ready to go to the emergency room, just in case. I was having a little trouble breathing, but I couldn’t tell if that was from anxiety or the anaphylactic reaction I thought I was having.

Anyway we never made it inside the hospital. We sat in the car and the itchiness and swelling started to calm down. Who wants to spend a Saturday night waiting for treatment in the emergency room, let alone paying for it?

So now I have one less group of foods to choose from. Scallops and oysters are OK, but crab and lobster are too close to shrimp for my comfort zone and I have yet to be allergy tested for them.

The point of this story is that I started eating red meat after this incident to give myself more choices. My cholesterol skyrocketed . (Whether cholesterol is a factor in heart disease is a topic for another discussion.) It used to be 180, and went up to 264. I was eating a lot of prepared, although theoretically healthier meats that are hormone and antibiotic free. But face it, hormone and anti-biotic free hot dogs and turkey kielbasa are not health food even if they are as pure as the driven snow.

Soy is not really a good choice for most people unless you eat it very infrequently. It is a common allergen and can depress your thyroid function. I know it’s practically worshiped in some circles, but you are better off without it, except as an occasional diversion. If you do eat soy, stick with fermented products like tempeh and tofu.

How To Prevent Food Allergies

Be careful about overdoing on the foods you can safely eat. Try a rotation diet, where you eat a particular food every four days. You can safely eat foods twice in 24 hours. For example, if you have chicken for dinner, the following day eat it for breakfast or lunch. (The culturally accepted ideas about breakfast foods like toast, waffles and pancakes no longer apply). Then wait four days to eat it again. This prevents you from developing an allergy or sensitivity.

If you don’t experience boundless energy, if your body hurts, or if you have unexplained symptoms, then you ought to consider experimenting with your diet. If you have been diagnosed with a disease, your diet may be contributing to or even causing it.

Change can be scary and your attitude is crucial. If you approach diet modification with curiosity rather than dread, it makes the experience exciting. Instead of thinking of these changes as written in stone, try considering them as an experiment.

Make changes for two weeks and see what happens. Then make some more changes. Sometimes multiple foods may contribute to your symptoms. For example, milk products and gluten sensitivity can cause similar symptoms, so you might have to eliminate both to feel a difference.

Once your energy increases, your pain diminishes or your symptoms disappear, you will want to maintain your changes. If you backslide, your body will remind you.

Systemic Enzymes

Systemic enzymes are a safe, natural way to further decrease inflammation symptoms in your muscles, joints, organs, arteries and brain. They modulate your immune system which controls inflammation, and eat up fibrin that thickens your blood and creates scar tissue. Scar tissue causes pain after surgery and reduces range of motion after injuries.

Long-term systemic enzyme maintenance promotes a healthy body and brain. If you want to be pro-active in guarding your precious health, visit www.inflammationandhealth.com for more information on inflammation, enzymes and great discounts.

Be well,


Another resource for you:

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892–3570
Phone: 1–800–891–5389
TTY: 1–866–569–1162
Fax: 703–738–4929
Email: nddic@info.niddk.nih.gov
Internet: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov

© Copyright 2008 by Inflammation and Health L.L.C.
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Published by Janice Schwartz
For Inflammation and Health L.L.C.