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Another IF question...but not what you think...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 15, 2011 at 8:50 AM

To get a feel of my total carb intake and carb/fat/protein, I plugged my food into NutritionData.com yesterday. The most surprising result for me was the massively "inflammatory" score on their Inflammation Factor Index (IF rating) that I got. Now I know it's a CW site, but with comments I've seen on inflammation being a serious concern for me, should I be taking their version of IF seriously, and worrying about what it is in my diet that is inflammatory (using their assessment) or is it just quackery and CW that I should completely ignore?

And a follow up, are there any more "reliable" websites where I can track my foods and get a better Paleo-style view of the true inflammatory nature of food?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 15, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Hmmm...I plugged grass fed 80/20 beef into one of those calculators and results were (-1) mildly anti-inflammatory. Might depend on which site you use.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 15, 2011
at 10:06 AM

That is strange... According to their data I always eat quite anti-inflammatory (except for coconut oil, but I just ignore that count).

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 15, 2011
at 09:42 AM

That'll be because of the sugar. But to be fair they do say that you need to look at the net effect of an entire meal. If you ate only blueberries, I can imagine you'd get into trouble. Still, I'm not sure anything could offset a cup of coconut oil.

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3 Answers

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Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 15, 2011
at 09:30 AM

Naturally the required response is to ask for the same list of foods for informal analysis, but assuming it's roughly paleo then I wouldn't worry. NutritionData counts saturated fat as inflammatory, so if you've got any coconut oil in there you're done for.

It's a shame because so much of what medical research (and CW, especially 50 years ago) believes is true. The only real sticking point is the fear of saturated fat, which forces a rationalisation of eating grains. And having determined just how bad grains are (and no-one really believes sugar or white flour is good for you any more) the only solution for them is to think that it was the wrong type of grain, and that's driven almost entirely by the food industry. I suspect the NutritionData conclusions are retrofitted. They know that inflammation is serious and a big factor in heart disease, and they 'know' that saturated fat causes heart disease, so they say that saturated fat causes inflammation. I think there's also studies which confuse this issue. Plus of course, a big indicator for these issues is all that saturated fat which you store, and which some people simply can't detangle from dietary fat intake.

I'd say ignore it. And, as with avoiding overlong ingredients lists, I'd say avoid indexes you don't understand.

On edit:

The IF Rating system tends to favor foods that are low in sugar, rich in vitamins, lower in saturated fat and higher in healthy fats. Lean protein, fruits and vegetables, cold water fish, and whole grains are naturally emphasized, while highly-processed foods, trans fats, and empty calories are minimized.

Sounds convenient huh? Note the distinction between saturated fat and healthy fats. And how whole grains fall into the 'good' list even though the index marks them as inflammatory. They are supposedly the 'good' sort of inflammatory that makes for a balanced meal. Classic confirmation bias.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 15, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Hmmm...I plugged grass fed 80/20 beef into one of those calculators and results were (-1) mildly anti-inflammatory. Might depend on which site you use.

0
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on December 15, 2011
at 09:34 AM

Nutrition Data lost credibility with me when they said blueberries were "mildly inflammatory":

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1851/2

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 15, 2011
at 09:42 AM

That'll be because of the sugar. But to be fair they do say that you need to look at the net effect of an entire meal. If you ate only blueberries, I can imagine you'd get into trouble. Still, I'm not sure anything could offset a cup of coconut oil.

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