It is that time of year again. When everyone starts
talking about the new program or diet they plan to
start in January to lose weight. For most people,
the same weight they resolved to lose last year.
One of the most common reasons we hear people
abandon their new weight loss or fitness regimen is
pain or injury. When you hurt you can’t move and
when you are sitting on the couch you want to eat
When you hurt you can’t sleep and lack of sleep
causes your body to crave sugar and carbohydrates.
It seems to be a downward spiral where all
motivation to reach your goals is lost.
A problem many people face when they alter their
diets to lose weight, is that the things they cut out
are things their body really needs to function
properly. The result is pain and inflammation in
your muscles and joints.
Now, I am not saying to keep eating junk food and
forget about those extra pounds that are creeping
up. It is very important to your health and well
being to maintain a healthy weight and body
composition. The impact that losing just a few
pounds can have on protecting your joints (especially
knees, hips, and back) is so profound.
The key is to avoid the mistakes many new dieters
make that result in increased back, muscle, and joint
pain. worsening pain.
So, here are the five most common mistakes.
1. Eating too little fat
Many traditional diets have cut out fat, because high
fat foods are higher in calories. However, fat is needed
to burn fat. It enhances your metabolism, increases
the rate of fat broken down in your body, and curbs
All fat is not created equally. Here we are talking
about good fats like Omega 3 fatty acids. They can be
found in nuts, seeds, and fish, as well as healthy olive
and coconut oils.
In addition, Omega 3s reduce inflammatory proteins
in your body. One study found Omega supplements
as beneficial as medication in relieving arthritis pain.
2. Eating too few calories
Most diets involve cutting calories. Although it may
seem counter intuitive, eating too few calories can put
your body in starvation mode. You actually lose
metabolism-boosting muscle and hold onto fat instead.
This not only sabotages your weight-loss efforts, but
breaks down the supportive structure around your
In addition, when cutting calories too low, you may
be missing out on important nutrients. The vitamins,
minerals, and phyto nutrients your body needs to
maintain healthy joints, cartilage, and bones.
3. Avoiding fruit
I know fruit is high in sugar. . . and too much sugar
can wreck havoc on your hormones, insulin, body
composition. I am just advocating here to keep a
reasonable amount of fruit in your diet daily.
Just two servings a day can provide you with the
antioxidants you need to fight inflammation and joint
pain. Foods high in anti inflammatory compounds
include berries, melon, citrus, cherries, kiwi, and
4. Artificial sweeteners
When people want to cut calories, they often
switch to no calories drinks or candies. All artificial
sweeteners are seen as a “foreign substance” by
The big culprit to avoid here is aspartame. It is
actually a neuro toxin that triggers an inflammatory
response in your body (including your joints).
5. Not getting enough fiber
When we cut calories and carbohydrates, we often
cut our fiber intake. A high fiber diet decreases
c-reactive protein. This protein causes much of the
inflammation and aches in your joints.
The average American eats 14 grams of fiber, while
its recommended we consume 20-35 grams. If you
just can’t get this in your diet, consider a easy to
digest fiber supplement.
So what should you eat while on a diet to prevent
pain and improve the health of your joints?
We will go into that more on a future blog post, so
keep an eye out on Facebook. If you don’t follow our
page you can find us here:
For now, work on replacing packaged foods with
real whole foods. In addition, work on adding more
fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
If you have specific questions or need more guidance
in this area, e-mail our Fitness Nutrition Specialist: