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Your body thinks junk food is an infection!

Well that is a little scary.  A study has been done by the University of Bonn (and published in the journal “Cell”) showing that a standard western diet (you know – fast food, lots of sugar, salt and fat) actually activates your immune system (NLRP3-dependent innate immune reprogramming – wow, that’s a mouthful!), making it think that it is under attack.

So what?  Well, when the immune system is under attack it mounts an inflammatory response, which is normal – unless it leads to a hyperactive immune system.  Sounds like a good thing (a strong and responsive immune system is what we want to fight infection, isn’t it?).  Well it actually isn’t because the immune system forgets to calm down when the “threat” has passed.  The cells produced (granulocytes and monocytes) are normally only upregulated when exposed to infection…. or so it was thought.

Why is this a problem?  If the immune system response is being stimulated by diet and not an infection that needs fighting off, the resulting and ongoing inflammation can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, autoimmune conditions and weight gain.  Prolonged activation is also linked to diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis.  Boring.

A plate of healthy food and brightly coloured veg is looking like a really good option right about now!  Back away from the regular pizzas, lollies, burgers and chips – they are definitely not your friends 😊

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