4 Foods That Doctors Warn Could Be Causing Your Inflammation And Gut Issues

November 13, 2021 by Olivia Avitt
shefinds | Fitness

Inflammation and gut dysfunction can go hand and hand, and are often at the source of many health issues. While inflammation in short stints is actually a healthy thing, as it’s your body’s way of protecting you from outside invaders like bacteria and other illnesses, when inflammation turns chronic it can wreak havoc on the body, especially your digestive system. If a food doesn’t sit well with your digestive system, it can throw off the balance of your gut health, and also trigger an inflammatory response, as the food is considered a threatening substance by your body. Some foods are more likely to cause these issues than others, so it’s important to be aware of what foods have higher inflammatory markers than others. We asked Dr. Amy Lee, Head of Nutrition for Nucific, about the foods that can make inflammation and gut issues worse. 


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This is a bit broad, but foods with preservatives in them are some of the worst for inflammation and gut issues, specifically things that you may keep on the shelf, like cans of soup, jars of sauces, boxes of crackers, cookies, and bags of chips. “Preservatives in processed foods are oftentimes not recognized by the body and require much more work for the body to metabolize or excrete.” Dr. Lee says. A good rule of thumb is to limit anything with too many ingredients or ingredients you can’t pronounce, as well as dyes and preservatives of any kind. Always read the ingredients closely of the food you buy to make sure it is as whole and natural as possible. 


While gluten is only an irritant for some people, and only needs to be eliminated if you have a sensitivity or if you have celiac disease, gluten that is found in refined products like wheat, rye and barley has been shown to cause digestive issues in some. If you find that you struggle with gut issues and inflammation, it may be worth asking your medical provider for a test to see if you are indeed sensitive to gluten. 

Overly Charred Meats/ BBQ

Some meats, especially red meat, can have an inflammatory effect on the body. “Saturated animal fats can cause the body to be inflamed, as it gets broken down and stored in the human body’s fatty tissue,” Deeply charred meats are especially an irritant, Dr. Lee says, “The black burnt residue has heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which can locally affect the tissues in the gut, and there is evidence that it could relate to colon cancer.” 


Eating or drinking too much sugar is one of the worst things for a body prone to inflammation, especially artificial sweetener. “For some people whose bodies are sensitive to these sugar additives, they can find themselves swollen or bloated because the body draws water into the tissues to attempt to get rid of it.” Avoiding foods and beverages with lots of sugar is a good way to reduce inflammation—sodas are some of the worst offenders, so limiting your consumption of those is a good idea. 



While keeping all of this in mind, it is important to note that every body is different, and that not everyone will have the same triggers. Before you cut out any foods or make any major dietary changes, it is important to get appropriate testing to know for sure if you are sensitive to those foods. If you think that you have gut issues or inflammation, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider to come up with a plan that is uniquely tailored to your specific needs. 

Author: Olivia Avitt

Olivia is a writer+content creator that has written about a wide range of subjects including health, beauty, relationships, culture, and music. When she's not working, you can find her perusing coffee shops, reading predictable romance novels, or catching up on reality TV. You can reach her via email at

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