This is the big reason so many people can't lose weight or get a six pack 2 years ago

This is the big reason so many people can't lose weight or get a six pack

If you feel like you're struggling to lose weight or just can't shed body fat, you're not alone.

Millions of us struggle to shift weight and get in the kind of shape we want. But it's not always because we're not training hard enough. Very often it comes down to what we're eating.

Even if you think you're pretty healthy, there is still one critical thing that so many people get wrong and it all boils down to one word... inflammation.

So many of us are suffering with chronic inflammation and we don't even know about it.

We're not talking about the 'good' inflammation either - the type that protects a specific area of your body with swelling when you fall on your ankle or get stung by a wasp.

It's the bad kind of inflammation that becomes chronic and systemic. The kind that is constantly simmering away in your system silently for years, making us all fat, sick and tired.

Scientists say that inflammation could be at the core of every major illness from cancer, diabetes and heart disease to Alzheimer's, depression and arthritis - and even many allergies and conditions like asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.

But this chronic inflammation can play a big part in people gaining weight and then not being able to shed it.

Fit young man pinching his stomach

So many things can cause this chronic inflammation - poor sleep, a stressful job, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking alcohol and even bad dental health.

But one massive contributory factor is your diet. The food you eat on a daily basis can literally be keeping your body in a state of inflammation.

There are certain foods that are pro-inflammatory - so they cause you to become inflamed - and unsurprisingly most are modern, processed foods that are high in refined sugar, processed carbs and certain fats.

If we just ate these from time to time, it wouldn't be so bad. But many of us are eating stuff like white bread, fizzy drinks and processed meat for every single meal.

And you don't have to be eating fast food and doughnuts every day either. If you're eating the same chicken, rice and broccoli your body may develop an intolerance to any of these things. Dairy, gluten and even too much chicken can cause inflammation in your digestive system.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that overconsumption of any one macronutrient — protein, carbohydrate or fat — can contribute to inflammation.

Classic signs of gut inflammation can be wind, bloating, heartburn, reflux, constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Close up of muscular man eating salad. Healthy life style, vegetarian bodybuilding concept.

We know that inflammation and weight gain go hand in hand. Inflammation can dent the effectiveness of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for keeping our weight stable, controlling our appetite and metabolism.

When you overeat, you gain weight and your fat cells swell. This extra fat mass causes an inflammatory response in your cells, making the situation worse again.

Inflammation in your cells also causes insulin resistance, where your body struggles to deal with blood sugar levels, also causing further weight gain.

This works as a vicious cycle. But if you want to break it and start losing weight and body fat, it's vital to start getting inflammation under control.

The key to reducing inflammation is to cut down on inflammatory foods in your diet and start adding stuff that has anti-inflammatory effects.

The worst offenders are refined carbs like white bread and pastries, fried food, fizzy and sugar-sweetened drinks, red meat and processed food products like hotdogs and margarine.

Another crucial thing is the need to balance Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids in your diet.

Omega 3 - found in things like oily fish and grass-fed meat - helps reduce inflammation.

Selection of healthy fat sources, copy space

Omega 6 - found in foods cooked with vegetable oils like sunflower and canola - has the opposite effect and can cause inflammation, so that's why getting a 1:1 balance is critical.

A typical diet eaten in the Western world can typically have people eating 18 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3, so it's no wonder so many of us suffer chronic inflammation and can't lose weight.

To combat this, try eating more oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines to reduce inflammation, along with grass-fed meats like steak and pork. These meats aren't fed on grains and so have a better balance of Omega 3 and 6 fats.

Other anti-inflammatory foods you should be eating every day are tomatoes, olive oil, leafy greens like kale and spinach, nuts like walnuts and almonds along with fruit like strawberries, blueberries, oranges and cherries.

The goods news is this seemingly small changes can make a huge difference and very quickly. Dr Mark Hyman says that within a week you can notice yourself losing 'water weight' - which is a sign your body is getting rid of all the fluid that your body retains when it's chronically inflamed.

This is the start of the process. You'll find you can lose weight and burn fat easier, have more energy and less brain fog and often any symptoms of inflammation-related conditions may improve.

This article originally appeared on JOE.co.uk