The Effects of Dietary Inflammation

Hey everyone, I am very excited to bring you this great expert interview series with Brad Pilon, a nutrition professional with over seven years of experience.

Brad specializes in a common sense approach to weight loss and nutrition.  He is the author of Eat Stop Eat and has travel around the world meeting some of the world’s greatest minds in sports nutrition and exercise sciences.

So lets get right into it….


Craig:  This is Craig Ballantyne from and here with Brad Pilon the author of Eat Stop Eat.

To be honest, Eat Stop Eat is probably THE MOST POPULAR DIET PROGRAM used by winners of the Turbulence Training Transformation Contest.  We just had a new contest wrapped up, and so many of the people submitted their essays and mentioned that they used Brad’s program. So, Brad, welcome!

Brad: Thanks for having me.

Craig: I would also mention that Brad’s articles on nutrition are often contrarian to what most people read in magazines, so he has been a particularly popular guest here on the Turbulence Training interview series.

I put together a bunch of questions for him, questions of my own personal interest, and we’ve gotten some from Facebook and from the membership site, so we’re going to cover a lot of topics.

We’re going to cover the dietary impact on inflammation. We’re going to talk about sugar, dairy,  cheat meals,  minimizing how much work you put into your health fitness program.

Now, make sure you understand why we’re talking about that. It’s not to give people excuses not to train, but to show people how to do programs and to eat efficiently to get the maximum results without completely changing your lifestyle. A lot of people tend to think they have to do. Does that sound about right, Brad?

Brad: Absolutely.

Craig: Very good. One of the things I see come up so often is that a lot of nutritionists are talking about inflammation from grains, whole grains in bread, and from dairy, so I wanted you to give us your opinion on how prevalent that and what it means for fat loss programs.

Brad: Absolutely. I think it’s an awesome question. It might have been back in 2007 when you and I were talking on the phone about our predictions going forward, and I swear to you, we talked about how inflammation was like the next big thing in health and nutrition.

So, it’s kind of cool seeing that this is exactly what has happened, but it’s kind of unfortunate seeing that people’s understanding of what inflammation is and isn’t become really muddled to the point where it’s a very large scare word right now, I think.

When it comes to things like BREAD and GRAINS and SURGAR and just food in general we look at inflammation, and it gets pretty scary, because when you look at the data, yes, there is an inflammation response to various foods. However, there are a lot of things we have to consider. Inflammation in itself when it’s SHORT TERM and acute can actually be a good thing.

If you think of it in that sense that’s part of what happens during exercise, there is sort of a stress response from exercise where the body sees an increased amount of oxidant stress. That used to be the buzz word back in the early 2000’s. There’s increased inflammation, but the body adapts to that and gets stronger.

Now, chronic inflammation where you think of a constant low grade inflammation where all your markers of inflammation are two to three fold increased on a day to day basis. That’s not a good thing. That’s really bad. If you consider diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, those are diseases of inflammation. So, there’s two different kinds of inflammation we have to be worried about, chronic and acute.

So, what’s up with bread and grains? Any eating, especially ANY OVEREATING tends to cause some sort of inflammation response in the body. That’s sort of proven. The more you eat the larger that response is. A massive overeating day you see increases in all kinds of markers on inflammation, innerluken one, tumurcosus factor alpha, left in, alkanines, all these things tend to increase as a response to the massive amount of overeating because of the stress on the body.

Things like grains are interesting, because we don’t know if this is an allergic response, it doesn’t really seem to be. Is it a sort of self taught response where your body just doesn’t handle them anymore, kind of like a food aversion? It doesn’t really seem to be that either. It seems to be in some subpopulation large doses of grains can cause a rather acute, but high, inflammation response.

That’s a fairly low amount of the population that has that problem. For the rest of us, we tend to be able to handle grains just fine and the inflammation response is minimal at best, unless we’re talking about massive overeating. So, when it comes to inflammation and any food we get right back down to the sort of old commonsense data that the poison is in the dose, and the dose is the poison. If you overeat a mass amount of any food, there’s going to be an inflammation response.

What constitutes overeating tends to be slightly different in each person, so it’s just really KNOWING YOUR OWN LIMITS and what foods you’re able to tolerate and which ones you aren’t. That’s basically what it comes down to. I don’t think there’s a blanket answer for everybody there.

OK, that’s it for today’s post. Join us tomorrow where Brad Pilon explains to us all about food aversions and the physiological effects it has. Click here to read part 2.