2. Artificial Sweeteners
Processed sugars and sweeteners trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.
Find them in: sweets and processed foods.
Look out for corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, maltose, sorghum syrup and sucrose.
Substitute: Skip out the artificial stuff and go for all-natural sweets like dates and honey.
To keep the calorie count low, opt for stevia instead of Splenda.
Vegetable cooking oils are used in many homes and restaurants have very high omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low omega-3 fats. Excess consumption of omega-6s triggers the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals that wreak havoc on your body (8).
Find them in : Polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as grapeseed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils. Plus, they’re present in soy, peanut, and vegetable oils. These oils often appear processed foods, baked goods, fast food, and fried foods.
Substitute: macadamia oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil. When in doubt, the best oil to cook with is coconut oil.
4. Trans Fats
Trans fatty acids are notorious for their double whammy effect: they increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol while lowering levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol. They also increase inflammatory response. In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health warned about the dangers of trans fat in the early 1990s (9).
Saturated fats aren’t much better: “several studies have shown that saturated fats trigger adipose (fat tissue) inflammation, which is not only an indicator for heart disease but it also worsens arthritis inflammation.” (10)
Find them in: Deep fried foods, fast foods, commercially baked goods and those prepared with partially hydrogenated oil, frozen foods, margarine and/or vegetable shortening.
Substitute: Look for alternative products that contain no trans fats, and that do not have partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening in the ingredients list. When in doubt, assume that all commercially prepared foods contain trans fats unless stated otherwise.