• Dan Hansen

The link between SAD and autoimmunity

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

The SAD diet is laden with 'HIDDEN' sugar... pasta, bread, pie crust, cake, etc... These processed grains are simply carbohydrates that turn into simple sugars after they're broken down and absorbed... turning into excess calories; turning into glycogen in the liver; and triglyceride stored in our adipose tissues; making us fat (see note below)*, bloated, inflamed, and feeling horrible. This often sets the stage for chronic inflammation that can lead to a Th1 / Th17 dominant state, leading to autoimmunity (Arroyo Hornero, et al. 2020; Chewning, et al. 2014; Nieman, et al. 1999).

The standard Western or Standard American Dietary (SAD) pattern promotes a pro-inflammatory state of chronic inflammation. Dietary-induced inflammation appears to be a synergy of high intakes of energy-rich, nutrient-poor, inflammatory foods or agents, along with low intakes of nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory foods or agents. (Andersen, et al. 2012; Christ, et al. 2018; Gómez-Vaquero, et al. 2001; Hansen, et al. 2011; Nakamizo, et al. 2017; Sparks, et al. 2019; Totsch, et al. 2018).

Specifically, such a dietary pattern consisting of (a) low consumption of dietary fibers, (b) high intake of refined sugar, (c) high fat, in the form of saturated, trans-fatty, and n-6 from animal protein, and (d) low intake of omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids (from fish, flaxseed, etc.) appear to contribute significantly to chronic inflammation and associated inflammatory disease states and disorders such as T2DM, obesity, CVD, and inflammatory autoimmune conditions (Andersen, et al. 2012; Christ, et al. 2018; Gómez-Vaquero, et al. 2001; Hansen, et al. 2011; Nakamizo, et al. 2017; Sparks, et al. 2019; Totsch, et al. 2018).

In short, high intakes of processed sugar and fatty foods, in conjunction with low intake of whole fiber sourced from fruits and vegetables, becomes an inflammatory milieu that predisposes to chronic inflammation and related disease.

- Dan Hansen​ Mission Healing Engage​ © 2021


This is NOT about "fat shaming". Having been overweight several times in my life; gained and lost weight many times, I do understand the struggles are real. Also, I simply don't care if people are fat, skinny, whatever... This is not about that. This is about the facts. The evidential literature and anecdotal accounts suggesting overweight and obesity exacerbates autoimmune disease and comorbid states of dysfunction . Therefore, trying to get a handle on our weight can only help improve our disease.


Arroyo Hornero, R., Hamad, I., Côrte-Real, B., & Kleinewietfeld, M. (2020). The Impact of Dietary Components on Regulatory T Cells and Disease. Frontiers in immunology, 11, 253. Retrieved from

Andersen, V., Olsen, A., Carbonnel, F., Tjønneland, A., & Vogel, U. (2012). Diet and risk of inflammatory bowel disease. Digestive and Liver Disease, 44(3), 185-194. doi:10.1016/j.dld.2011.10.001. Retrieved from

Chewning, J. H., & Weaver, C. T. (2014). Development and survival of Th17 cells within the intestines: the influence of microbiome- and diet-derived signals. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 193(10), 4769–4777. Retrieved from

Christ, A., Günther, P., Lauterbach, M., Duewell, P., Biswas, D., Pelka, K., Scholz, C. J., Oosting, M., Haendler, K., Baßler, K., Klee, K., Schulte-Schrepping, J., Ulas, T., Moorlag, S., Kumar, V., Park, M. H., Joosten, L., Groh, L. A., Riksen, N. P., Espevik, T., … Latz, E. (2018). Western Diet Triggers NLRP3-Dependent Innate Immune Reprogramming. Cell, 172(1-2), 162–175.e14. Retrieved from

Gómez-Vaquero, C., Nolla, J. M., Fiter, J., Ramon, J. M., Concustell, R., Valverde, J., & Roig-Escofet, D. (2001). Nutritional status in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Joint Bone Spine, 68(5), 403–409. Retrieved from

Hansen, T. S., Jess, T., Vind, I., Elkjaer, M., Nielsen, M. F., Gamborg, M., & Munkholm, P. (2011). Environmental factors in inflammatory bowel disease: A case-control study based on a danish inception cohort. Journal of Crohn's and Colitis, 5(6), 577-584. doi:10.1016/j.crohns.2011.05.010. Retrieved from

Nakamizo, S., Honda, T., Adachi, A., Nagatake, T., Kunisawa, J., Kitoh, A., Kabashima, K. (2017). High fat diet exacerbates murine psoriatic dermatitis by increasing the number of IL-17-producing γδ T cells. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 1-13. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-14292-1. Retrieved from

Nieman, D. C., Henson, D. A., Nehlsen-Cannarella, S. L., Ekkens, M., Utter, A. C., Butterworth, D. E., & Fagoaga, O. R. (1999). Influence of obesity on immune function. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 99(3), 294–299. Retrieved from

Sparks, J. A., Barbhaiya, M., Tedeschi, S. K., Leatherwood, C. L., Tabung, F. K., Speyer, C. B., Malspeis, S., Costenbader, K. H., Karlson, E. W., & Lu, B. (2019). Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women. Clinical rheumatology, 38(1), 243–250. Retrieved from

Totsch, S. K., Meir, R. Y., Quinn, T. L., Lopez, S. A., Gower, B. A., & Sorge, R. E. (2018). Journal of Pain (London, England), 22(7), 1203–1213. Retrieved from

67 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All