I just talked about phosphates, but there’s another substance in our food supply that’s even more insidious, because it’s found in water and soil so is a bit harder to avoid. That substance is nickel, and it’s found in whole grains, legumes, cocoa, and even some vegetables.
And, in a new pilot study, researchers found that avoiding nickel-containing foods resulted in decreased body fat and body-mass index (BMI) in overweight women who are allergic to the metal—particularly those in early menopause.
Those researchers studied 87 patients (mostly women in their early 50s), with an average BMI of 32, which is considered to be obese. They observed nickel allergies in 60 percent of the women and 13 percent of the men (as opposed to around 13 percent of women and 2 percent of men in the general population).
Then, the researchers gave the women who had nickel allergies a balanced diet that restricted or eliminated nickel-containing foods. After six months, 56 percent of these women dropped 4.6 inches from their waistlines and 4.2 points from their BMI.
Yes, this study lacked a control group, and more studying needs to be done. But it’s also been shown that nickel allergies have been linked in the past to an increase in IL-17, an inflammatory protein that’s associated with obesity.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy test for internal nickel allergies. But if you’re allergic to it on your skin (i.e., if you develop a red rash when you wear jewelry that contains nickel), you’re likely allergic internally, and you’ll need to avoid nickel as much as possible. But even if you don’t have a strong reaction on your skin, you still might have some internal sensitivity, in which case you’ll still want to stay away from nickel. The bottom line: nickel isn’t good for you; so, generally, less is better.
It’s impossible to eliminate every single trace of nickel, but purchasing organic produce, meat and dairy, and staying away from carb-laden grains and legumes (not to mention processed, packaged foods), will get you well on your way to avoiding that mischievous metal.