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Diet and inflammation response

  1. Jul 30, 2013 #1

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    A clinical overview of diet and measures of inflammation response - like C Reactive Protein levels.


    This shows a basis for generating an Inflammation index for foods. The higher index number the more inflammation was supressed in ~500 test subjects.

    The reason I'm posting this was an article about inflammation indexes for foods, which appeared at first glance to be something the supplement industry was backing. Apparently not.

    Another article on the index:

    This page lists nutritional information, which I spot checked against the USDA NAL page, and it looks like they almost literally copied the data. Some foods, not all, have an inflammation index.

    Example olive oil: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/509/2
    Shows an inflammation index of 1100+ - which is really good to counter inflammation, but is pure fat. Negative numbers indicate that the food exacerbates inflammation.

    Compare this to USDA standard nutrition (NAL): http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/611

    This USDA list is the accepted standard reference for nutritional values in foods - the kind you see on US nutrition labels. The NAL database is used extensively to create those labels for prepared and canned foods, based on pro-rated amount per recipe ingredient, factored by serving size.

    A note on serving size: Take the label value with a grain of salt - it is sometimes manipulated, usually to make crummy (health wise) foods look less awful, or really great foods look even better.

    I once bought some boxed frozen pizza at the insistence of my kids. The things were 7 inches in diameter and each pizza plaque was "4 servings". Probably for 4 mice, not for small humans. Sodium, saturated fat, and calories were high, but when you multiplied by 4 the pizza discs exceeded daily values for adults for sodium. We used one for a frisbee, finally one of the dogs decided to eat it. Never bought anymore.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2013 #2
    Interesting topic Jim! How does food in general affect inflammation?
  4. Jul 31, 2013 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    Based on what I read : C reactive protein (hsCRP test) values are increased in a variety of experiments based on diet. hsCRP does measure inflammation, for example postoperative infections are discovered that way. Some experiments were more controlled than others, which is difficult to do. The other paper is sort of a list of foods and their "inflammatory index". The last link is to a nutrition site which started the whole thing for me. I viewed the inflammatory index for foods as, well, hokum.

    The reason I now think it may have merit is that there is now a large population in a controlled study, underway to assess the role of C reactive protein levels, and their role in cause/prevention of heart attacks.
    I signed an NDA on the study. So that limits what I can say.

    At any rate, companies and funding agencies are not going to spend this kind of money on something with absolutely no merit. So, I spent some time in the NIH site.

    The idea is that the proverbial "Mediterranean Diet" in fact provides a lot of dietary components that are either "anti-inflammatory" or are neutral inflammation-wise. The Western Diet - red meat, fries, trans-fat, and all their delicious cohorts are just the opposite, they increase hsCRP.
  5. Aug 1, 2013 #4
    Posted by jim McNamara:

    Surprisingly olive oil is one of the top five heart healthy foods. It is in the mediterranean diet you mentioned as related to inflammation.

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