Inflammatory effects of nutritional stimuli: further support for the need for a big picture approach to tackling obesity and chronic disease

Obes Rev. 2010 Feb;11(2):137-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2009.00644.x. Epub 2009 Jul 30.


The discovery of a form of low-grade systemic inflammation (called 'metaflammation'), and the close evolutionary link between the immune and metabolic systems, poses questions about the supposed antigens (inducers) of such an immune reaction. Initially, this was thought to be mediated through obesity. However, we have identified a number of lifestyle or environmentally related inducers that may cause metaflammation, even in the absence of obesity. In this paper, the third of a series linking obesity with broad environmental and evolutionary factors, we identify nutritional stimuli with evidence of an involvement in metaflammation. From this we propose that components of certain foods and beverages with which humans have not evolved, are more often the inducers of an inflammatory effect in the body than those with which humans have become more familiar, and to which a neutral, or anti-inflammatory response may be expected to have developed. The implications of such a finding are considered in relation to broader aspects of the environment, economic growth, policy change and current global financial issues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beverages*
  • Diet
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Social Environment