The Effects of Avocados & Red Wine on Meal-Induced Inflammation

The Effects of Avocados & Red Wine on Meal-Induced Inflammation
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Whole plant sources of sugar and fat can ameliorate some of the postprandial (after-meal) inflammation caused by the consumption of refined carbohydrates and meat.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

We saw how adding even steamed skinless chicken breast can exacerbate the insulin spike from white rice, but fish may be worse. Here’s the insulin score of a low-carb plant food like peanuts, compared to common low-carb animal foods: eggs, cheese, and beef. But, fish was even worse, closer to doughnut territory. Here’s the insulin spike if you feed people mashed white potatoes. Then, what would happen if you added some tuna fish? You get twice the insulin spike. Same with white-flour spaghetti, and white-flour spaghetti with meat. The addition of animal protein may make the pancreas work twice as hard.

You can do it with straight sugar water. If you do like a glucose challenge test to test for diabetes, where you drink a certain amount of sugar, this is the kind of spike in insulin you get. But. if you take in the exact same amount of sugar, but with some meat added, you get this. And, the more meat you add, the worse it gets. Just adding a little meat to carbs doesn’t seem to do much, but once you get up to like a third of a chicken’s breast worth, you can elicit a significantly increased surge of insulin.

So, a chicken sandwich may aggravate the metabolic harm of the refined carb white bread it’s on. But, what about a PB&J? Well, we saw that adding nuts to Wonder Bread actually calms the insulin and blood sugar response. What if, instead, you smeared on an all-fruit strawberry jam? Berries have even more antioxidants than nuts, and can, indeed, squelch the oxidation of cholesterol in response to a typical American breakfast, and even reduce the amount of fat in your blood after the meal. And, with less oxidation, there is less inflammation when berries are added to a meal.

So, a whole plant food source of sugar can decrease inflammation in response to an “inflammatory stressor” meal. What about a whole plant food source of fat? If you eat a burger with a half an avocado on top, within hours, the level of an inflammatory biomarker goes up in your blood—but not as high as eating the burger without the avocado. This may be because all whole plant foods contain antioxidants, which decrease inflammation, as well as fiber, which is one reason even high-fat whole plant foods, like nuts, can lower cholesterol. And, the same could be said for avocados. Significant drop in cholesterol levels, especially in those with high cholesterol, with even a drop in triglycerides.

If eating berries with a meal decreases inflammation, what about drinking berries? Sipping wine with your white bread significantly blunts the blood sugar spike from the bread, but the alcohol increases the fat in the blood by about the same amount. If you eat some cheese and crackers, this is the triglycerides bump you get. If you sip some wine with the same snack, they shoot through the roof. Now, we know it was the alcohol, because if you use dealcoholized red wine (nonalcoholic wine—the same wine, but with the alcohol removed), you don’t get the same reaction. This has been shown in about a half-dozen other studies, along with an increase in inflammatory markers. So, it may help in some ways, but not others. 

A similar paradoxical effect was found with exercise. If you have people cycle at high intensity for about an hour a half-day before drinking a milkshake, the triglycerides response is less than without the prior exercise. Yet, the inflammatory response to the meal appeared worse. The bottom line is not to avoid exercise, but to avoid milkshakes.

The healthiest approach is a whole food plant-based diet, but there are “[p]romising pharmacologic approaches to the normalization” of high blood sugars and fat by taking medications. “However, resorting to drug therapy for an epidemic caused by a maladaptive diet is less rational than simply realigning our eating habits with our physiological needs.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Myart, H. Alberto Gongora, Sergey Demushkin, Made in France, Anton Noskov, and Creative Stall from the Noun Project.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

We saw how adding even steamed skinless chicken breast can exacerbate the insulin spike from white rice, but fish may be worse. Here’s the insulin score of a low-carb plant food like peanuts, compared to common low-carb animal foods: eggs, cheese, and beef. But, fish was even worse, closer to doughnut territory. Here’s the insulin spike if you feed people mashed white potatoes. Then, what would happen if you added some tuna fish? You get twice the insulin spike. Same with white-flour spaghetti, and white-flour spaghetti with meat. The addition of animal protein may make the pancreas work twice as hard.

You can do it with straight sugar water. If you do like a glucose challenge test to test for diabetes, where you drink a certain amount of sugar, this is the kind of spike in insulin you get. But. if you take in the exact same amount of sugar, but with some meat added, you get this. And, the more meat you add, the worse it gets. Just adding a little meat to carbs doesn’t seem to do much, but once you get up to like a third of a chicken’s breast worth, you can elicit a significantly increased surge of insulin.

So, a chicken sandwich may aggravate the metabolic harm of the refined carb white bread it’s on. But, what about a PB&J? Well, we saw that adding nuts to Wonder Bread actually calms the insulin and blood sugar response. What if, instead, you smeared on an all-fruit strawberry jam? Berries have even more antioxidants than nuts, and can, indeed, squelch the oxidation of cholesterol in response to a typical American breakfast, and even reduce the amount of fat in your blood after the meal. And, with less oxidation, there is less inflammation when berries are added to a meal.

So, a whole plant food source of sugar can decrease inflammation in response to an “inflammatory stressor” meal. What about a whole plant food source of fat? If you eat a burger with a half an avocado on top, within hours, the level of an inflammatory biomarker goes up in your blood—but not as high as eating the burger without the avocado. This may be because all whole plant foods contain antioxidants, which decrease inflammation, as well as fiber, which is one reason even high-fat whole plant foods, like nuts, can lower cholesterol. And, the same could be said for avocados. Significant drop in cholesterol levels, especially in those with high cholesterol, with even a drop in triglycerides.

If eating berries with a meal decreases inflammation, what about drinking berries? Sipping wine with your white bread significantly blunts the blood sugar spike from the bread, but the alcohol increases the fat in the blood by about the same amount. If you eat some cheese and crackers, this is the triglycerides bump you get. If you sip some wine with the same snack, they shoot through the roof. Now, we know it was the alcohol, because if you use dealcoholized red wine (nonalcoholic wine—the same wine, but with the alcohol removed), you don’t get the same reaction. This has been shown in about a half-dozen other studies, along with an increase in inflammatory markers. So, it may help in some ways, but not others. 

A similar paradoxical effect was found with exercise. If you have people cycle at high intensity for about an hour a half-day before drinking a milkshake, the triglycerides response is less than without the prior exercise. Yet, the inflammatory response to the meal appeared worse. The bottom line is not to avoid exercise, but to avoid milkshakes.

The healthiest approach is a whole food plant-based diet, but there are “[p]romising pharmacologic approaches to the normalization” of high blood sugars and fat by taking medications. “However, resorting to drug therapy for an epidemic caused by a maladaptive diet is less rational than simply realigning our eating habits with our physiological needs.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Myart, H. Alberto Gongora, Sergey Demushkin, Made in France, Anton Noskov, and Creative Stall from the Noun Project.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

Protein from meat can cause more of an insulin spike than pure table sugar. See the comparisons in my video Paleo Diets May Negate Benefits of Exercise.

Interested in more information on the almond butter study I mentioned? I discuss it further in How to Prevent Blood Sugar and Triglyceride Spikes After Meals.

Berries have their own sugar, so how can eating berries lower the blood sugar spike after a meal? Find out in If Fructose Is Bad, What About Fruit?.

After this video came out, I did a few more:

And here are more videos on red wine:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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