Have you ever been told (or at least heard it said): If you could just drop a few pounds, your low back pain would improve? It’s pretty well accepted that excess weight contributes to low back pain. So, if that’s the case, which dietary approach is “…the best?”
Even though weight loss is very important, it can be very challenging for patients because it takes commitment to achieve long-term success. Sure, we can lose weight with the Adkins Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the South Beach Diet, or through Weight Watchers and a host of other approaches. But, why do we seem to gain it right back once we discontinue the diet plan? There must be a way to take the weight off and then keep it off.
We have a very similar genetic makeup to our Paleolithic (cave man-era) ancestors. Since this is a fact, we can look at the type of food our distant ancestors consumed and logically draw the conclusion that the “Paleodiet” or “caveman diet” would be a great alternative to our current diet. Thankfully, this does not mean that we change our wardrobe and lifestyle to the point that we go back and live in caves and throw spears to hunt and gather!
What it does mean, however, is we consume similar foods: grass fed animal meat (the more lean the better) and food that grows off the land – that is, fruits and vegetables. These foods are easily broken down and assimilated without alerting our body’s defense system (the autoimmune system) that some foreign particle is inside of us resulting in an army of antibodies showing up to ward off these enemy particles. By avoiding this autoimmune response, at the same time, we are reducing or avoiding the inflammatory process all together, which is a common denominator to all illnesses, including musculoskeletal conditions like back pain.
So, what do we eat too much of now that the cave man didn’t eat? The answer is gluten! Most flour-based products (bread, pasta, cookies, cake, etc.) contain gluten and are “pro-inflammatory” or cause systemic inflammation. Over time, this can lead to weight gain, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, stroke, as well as a host of many other conditions. The reason glutens are bad is that our bodies are not genetically able to handle the breakdown of these large “macromolecules.” When glutens are detected, we produce antibodies to attack these particles that are resting on the intestinal wall, which in turn, is damaged in the process, resulting in a “leaky gut” allowing the absorption of these large particles. This results in yet further autoimmune responses as these large (normally not absorbed) macromolecules are detected in our blood stream, thus furthering the inflammatory process. This damage leads to further malabsorption syndromes and a vicious cycle is created. So, what can we do to prevent this from happening and, how can we reduce the inflammation through our diet?
Easy! Just stop eating glutens! Over time, your weight will drop, your energy levels will increase, and when the mental fog lifts, you’ll feel 10 years younger and you’ll be able to enjoy life more completely. Sound too good to be true? Try it – prove us wrong – we dare you! 🙂