During this firefight along the digestive border, your body perceives a foreign intruder and assigns its special forces—mast cells and macrophages—to eliminate the intruder. These are the cells that start an immune-response process throughout your body by ingesting foreign elements and alerting the rest of your body's protecting cells that intruders have entered the area.
Your body sees foods that don't agree with its sensibilities as a foreign invader, so the macrophages attack these foods and tell everyone that this war is going on. This causes your whole body to start firing away at these foods and at innocent bystanders—and thus causes inflammation in your bloodstream. In that way, eating unhealthy food is really like having a chronic infection that triggers an immune response, which then causes inflammation.
Along with eating unhealthy food, intestinal inflammation can also be triggered by fat and blood sugar. One of your body's goals is to get glucose into your brain cells—to feed those brain cells so that they can function. But inflammation in your body prevents sugar from getting to those cells, so you end up wanting more glucose, eating more sugary foods, which then increases inflammation and starts the whole cycle again.
While we should be concerned about decreasing our body fat, we should also concentrate on decreasing our body's inflammatory response so we become more efficient in managing potential complications of our waist size. There's some genetic component to inflammation (some us have more than others, and smokers tend to have higher levels of inflammation than non-smokers), but the process of gaining weight is often a process of inflammation. When you can decrease your body's inflammatory response, you will decrease your weight and waist as well.
Find out more about this book:YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management