The typical Western diet features too many calories, too much salt and saturated fats and too few omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, there are more obese individuals in the United States than ever before, which puts them at increased risk of getting sick. A 2014 research review featured in Nutrition Journal confirms the negative relationship between the Western diet and increased inflammation, decreased immunity, and increased rates of cancer, as well as allergic and inflammatory diseases.
In this review, the author describe the mechanisms and impacts of several dietary factors including:

  • high sugar, salt and fat
  • gluten
  • artificial sweeteners
  • genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

In addition, because the results of poor dietary choices affect the microbiome and are encoded into DNA scaffolding, a look at the impact of the Western diet on offspring is also discussed.
The authors conclude that excesses in detrimental dietary factors such as those listed above “enhance inflammation while muting our immune system’s ability to respond to and ultimately control infections.” This weakening of the immune system is not only seen in individuals who consume the typical Western diet, it’s also seen in the offspring of those individuals.
Many studies have drawn a correlation between the Western diet and increased cardiovascular disease. This review paints a clear picture that a similar conclusion can be made regarding immune health and conditions such as cancer and infections that occur, in part, as the result of increased inflammation and decreased immunity. This provides healthcare professionals with yet more ammunition when trying to help patients transition away from the Western diet to a healthier alternative.
 
Myles IA. Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:61.


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