Unhealthy diet among obese individuals Increases pain sensitivity. This is suggested by a US study which Investigated the associations between diet, body fat and pain. "The Body Mass Index (BMI), dietary habits and pain sensitivity are evidently interrelated. In particular, persons with a higher BMI who mainly consume low-fiber foods appear to be at risk of suffering from pain more frequently," study author Prof Charles Emery (Ohio State University Columbus) Stated at the 9th Congress of the European Federation EFIC Pain "Pain in Europe IX" in Vienna.
For the study, the BMI of approximately 100 adult participants were calculated. It exceeded 30 on average, therefore falling within the obese range. The participants' diet was evaluated: Those who ate anti-inflammatory and therefore healthier foods, foods: such as containing more antioxidants and fewer saturated fatty acids, scored a higher number of points in the "Health Eating Index" (HEI). Finally, the participants rated their pain sensitivity using a questionnaire. The result: pain sensitivity increased with the level of the BMI. It therefore became clear that dietary habits help explain the relationship between the BMI and pain, since the blood parameters of the inflammation triggering cytokines protein depend on diet. It is an already known fact that being overweight can trigger chronic inflammatory reactions in the body, thereby increasing pain sensitivity.
The relationship between diet and pain was not due to the presence of arthritis or joint pain, and was not related to the use of analgesics. "Choosing healthy or unhealthy foods could be a relevant factor in the relationship between understanding body fat and pain", Prof Emery summarised.