If you’re wondering “does inflammation cause weight gain”, you’re in luck. Scientists have also wondered this and studies have been conducted to elucidate the matter. It turns out that there is a connection between chronic inflammation and obesity, and to make matters worse, each condition can exacerbate the other. Keep reading to gain a greater understanding of the cyclical relationship between inflammation and weight gain, and discover our top tips for battling both conditions.

How Inflammation Might Contribute to Weight Gain

Inflammation, particularly in adipose tissue, is commonly observed in individuals with obesity and is believed to contribute to further metabolic complications (1). This is because inflammation can impede the body’s metabolic responses, including those that regulate weight. For instance, inflammatory cytokines (proteins important in cell signaling) can interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, potentially leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight (2). Additionally, inflammation may influence hunger signals and fat storage, factors that directly impact weight management.

How Obesity Might contribute to inflammation

According to a study in the Archives of Medical Science (3), obesity triggers a chain reaction in the body that leads to inflammation and various health risks. When someone has an excessive amount of fat, their fat tissues release substances such as interleukin 6 that promote inflammation and decrease the production of beneficial compounds like adiponectin (ah-dee-poh-nect-in). This situation sets the body up for a host of health problems.

Increased levels of interleukin 6, for example, prompt the liver to make more C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation in the body. On the other side, lower levels of adiponectin (which usually helps regulate blood sugar and break down fats) are associated with risks like type-2 diabetes, heart-related issues, and stroke. The study emphasizes that managing obesity can significantly reduce these risks by calming these inflammatory responses in the body.

can Reducing Inflammation Aid Weight Management?

Addressing the root causes of inflammation can be an effective strategy in managing weight. Here are several verified approaches to reduce inflammation:

  1. Adopt an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Consuming foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce overall inflammation. These anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Regular Physical Activity: Engaging in regular moderate exercise has been shown to decrease inflammation (4). It’s also a fundamental aspect of weight loss and maintenance.
  3. Adequate Sleep: Poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep can contribute to inflammation (5). Prioritizing 7-9 hours of quality sleep nightly is important for overall health and weight management.
  4. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress is a key driver of inflammation (6). Stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, and deep breathing can help manage stress levels.
  5. Stay Hydrated: Drinking sufficient water aids in flushing out toxins that can contribute to inflammation.

Practical Tips for Weight Loss

Alongside efforts to reduce inflammation, here are practical, evidence-based tips for weight loss:

  1. Mindful Eating: Paying attention to what and when you eat can help control calorie intake.
  2. Portion Control: Being mindful of portion sizes can prevent overeating, even when eating healthier foods.
  3. Consistent Physical Activity: Find an exercise you enjoy and stick to it, as consistency is key for weight loss.
  4. Protein-Rich Diet: Including more protein in your diet can boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and control hunger hormones.
  5. Limiting Processed Foods: Highly processed foods often contain substances that can trigger inflammation and are high in empty calories.
  6. Taking supplements: While the public may be wary of weight loss supplements, there are some that do actually exhibit positive benefits for people trying to lose weight. For example, Garcinia Cambogia contains the compound HCA which is believed to help reduce fat accumulation. Forskolin contains an enzyme that helps release stored triglycerides and fatty acids for the body to use as energy (7).

Conclusion: Inflammation’s Role in Weight Gain and the Path Forward

So, does inflammation cause weight gain? The evidence points to inflammation as a significant player in the body’s weight regulation processes, potentially leading to weight gain and compounding the challenges of weight loss. Understanding this connection underscores the importance of holistic health practices, focusing not just on traditional diet and exercise, but also on strategies like managing stress. By adopting an integrated approach, individuals can make informed, healthful choices to manage inflammation and support their weight loss journeys.


Emily Anderson is a nutrition writer from Scranton, Pennsylvania. As a member of the 5 a.m. club, she does most of her writing before the sun comes up. When not writing, Emily enjoys spending time with her family and scouring the latest self-help books for pearls of wisdom she can share with others.

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